Falcon84
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A World War II Debate For You

Tue Jul 01, 2008 8:42 pm

Every time I see my uncle, one of the debates he and I always seem to get into is what had the bigger effect on the Allies ultimate victory in Europe.

He says it was the round-the-clock American/British bombing campaigns against German industry.

I say it was the incredible resistance of the Soviet Union against the Germans on the Eastern Front.

Both have their place in defeating the Thrid Reich, but, in my mind, without the dogged determination of the Soviet Army in the East, against most of the crack units of the German Armed Forces, the Western allies campaign would have been ten times as hard, and we might not have had a landing at Normandy in 1944. If Stalin's forces don't tie up Hitlers in the East, many of them would have been stacked against the U.S, Britian and others in the West.

I can't diminish the bombing campaign for what it did, but I still don't believe the Soviet Union, to this day, gets enough credit for the heroic stands it made in 1941 and 1941 against Germany, and then their inexorable march Westward after that.

What say you members?
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Arniepie
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Tue Jul 01, 2008 9:03 pm

It's probably a combination of many different things.
-An incompetent head of state meddling too much with military affairs (Hitler/mussollini)
-The dumbest decision ever to open up a second front (tha war against the USSR) which was completely nonsense since they both had an agreement to divide up Poland and leave it to that.
-The overall inefficiency of the German production apparatus .
-The mad policy to alienate minorities like the Jewish people, the Roman gypsies, ... which inevitably led to strong resistance and hostile feelings in the US.
-The fact that the UK and much more important the US had no direct front to worry about and therefor could make great use of their vast industrial complex to build up an unprecedented military supply chain.
-their alliance with the Japanese empire who where foolish enough to start a war against the US which in turn made it possible for the US to be fully engaged on both fronts.
-The sheer difference in manpower available (UK+US+USSR+CHINA+BRITTISH COMMONWEALTH vs JAPAN+GERMANY+ITALY)
-..........

Quoting Falcon84 (Thread starter):
I say it was the incredible resistance of the Soviet Union against the Germans on the Eastern Front.

Maybe you're right about that, if the generals (Rommel, von Paulitzen) would have gotten their way there would never have been a second front and victory for the allied forces would have been much more uncertain.

Quoting Falcon84 (Thread starter):
but I still don't believe the Soviet Union, to this day, gets enough credit for the heroic stands it made in 1941 and 1941 against Germany, and then their inexorable march Westward after that.

What say you members?

The former Soviet union is indeed the main reason why Germany was defeated in the end but the US and the UK (and their commonwealth partners) where the only two countries who fought on all fronts simultaniously and therefor need to get credit at least as much as the USSR IMHO.
[edit post]
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Tue Jul 01, 2008 9:08 pm

I would have to dig into my books for references, but AFAIK, the German industry had the highest output in 1944, before the Nazis ran it almost on a peacetime economy with as little disturbance to the civilians as possible (to keep the homefront happy).
Same as the British during the Blitz, the Germans got soon used to the strategic bombing and moved underground.

Serious disturbances by tactical bombing only started after the Normandy invasion, when bases in France were captured, which allowed fighter bombers to raid e.g. railway lines and blow up trains.

IMO, the war in Russia had a much higher influence in as far as the fighting used up a lot of Germany's industrial output and killed a lot of Germany's most experienced soldiers.

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Braybuddy
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Tue Jul 01, 2008 9:44 pm



Quoting Falcon84 (Thread starter):
I still don't believe the Soviet Union, to this day, gets enough credit for the heroic stands it made in 1941 and 1941 against Germany

Not to mention Mikhail Gorbachev standing back as the Berlin Wall collapsed in 1989, followed by the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe. WW2 finally ended in the early 1990s, not 1945.
 
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moo
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Tue Jul 01, 2008 9:47 pm



Quoting Falcon84 (Thread starter):
He says it was the round-the-clock American/British bombing campaigns against German industry.

Totally disagreed with this one, and thats because I've been doing a lot of reading up on the allied bombing campaigns in Europe during WW2 recently - one statistic that sprung up was that it was only in 1945 that bombing became accurate enough to actually ensure a target was destroyed, for the rest of the war only 10% of bombs dropped fell within 5 miles of the intended target. Some raids resulted in utter confusion on the part of the Germans because they couldn't work out where the intended target was.

Another statistic I came across was that more damage was done to the German war machine by roving long range fighters than by bombers - toward the end of the war, the USAAF bombers were starting to be escorted by long range fighter escort, and it got to the point where the fighters actually had significantly more range than the bombers - they were eventually granted 'loiter time' over German territory, and granted permission to engage targets of opportunity, such as railway engines etc.

Attacking railways themselves proved to be fruitless, as the Germans could get a complex rail yard back up and running within hours of it being attacked, but the specific attacks on the engines themselves dealt a much harsher blow.

But this in no way diminishes the losses the bomber crews took - Bomber Command suffered nearly 60% losses throughout the war, with similar figures being reported for the USAAF.

Quoting Falcon84 (Thread starter):
I say it was the incredible resistance of the Soviet Union against the Germans on the Eastern Front.

Agreed with this one - the USSR was in the pretty unique position that it had thousands of miles of country to retreat over, and it took its industry with it. Entire factories were dismantled and shipped eastwards, and continued to be productive throughout the war. If the Germans came within bombing range, they were simply dismantled again and moved a few hundred more miles to the east.

The Germans had no chance at all against the USSR, it was a huge mistake on Hitlers part (thank goodness).
 
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Tue Jul 01, 2008 10:00 pm

Going back further, I think it all stems from the fact that Britain wasn't defeated in the Battle of Britain. I recall reading that it was Hitler's anger at the RAF attacking Berlin during that time that led him to direct the Luftwaffe to focus on civilian targets instead of military, giving the RAF the much needed opportunity to regroup and build up its forces. After that, they had the edge they needed to win.

I can't imagine how different the war would have been had Germany invaded Britain. I often wonder if there would have been a way for the United States and the Commonwealth countries to keep fighting oceans away from Europe.

[Edited 2008-07-01 15:04:23]
 
pelican
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Tue Jul 01, 2008 10:02 pm



Quoting ArniePie (Reply 1):
The dumbest decision ever to open up a second front (tha war against the USSR)

Well, by that time there was no second front until the invasion of Sicily (if you don't count North Africa).

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 2):
I would have to dig into my books for references, but AFAIK, the German industry had the highest output in 1944, before the Nazis ran it almost on a peacetime economy with as little disturbance to the civilians as possible (to keep the homefront happy).

That's correct. I can add that according to the US Strategic Bombing Survey only 17% of West Germany's plant assets were destroyed by the end of the War.

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 2):

IMO, the war in Russia had a much higher influence in as far as the fighting used up a lot of Germany's industrial output and killed a lot of Germany's most experienced soldiers

Indeed. The East Front had a much huger impact on Germany than strategic bombing. But it should be noted that the Soviets got huge amounts of industrial support from the UK and later the US of A to sustain their resitance.

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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Tue Jul 01, 2008 10:10 pm



Quoting Falcon84 (Thread starter):
I still don't believe the Soviet Union, to this day, gets enough credit for the heroic stands it made in 1941 and 1941 against Germany

What they don't get enough "credit" for is their not-so-heroic stand prior to 1941 - not to mention the bittersweet taste of "liberation" by the USSR for the less fortunate half of Europe which ended up served to Stalin in Yalta on silverplate.

Quoting Falcon84 (Thread starter):
what had the bigger effect on the Allies ultimate victory in Europe.

That's a good question. I don't think one would not be possible without the other.
You could have millions of conscripts resisting the top-notch Wehrmacht units but if you can't even feed, dress or arm them properly they become just cannon fodder. Don't forget that modern warfare is 80% about logistics.
At the same time Tunis/Italy/Normandy would be much worse bloodbath had there been no need to fight two fronts by the
Also the credit should be given to an individual Red Army soldier rather than the country/system they fought for, because the treatment the soldiers received from their top brass, political comissars who acted exactly in accordance with Hitler's "one dead is a tragedy, 100,000 dead is a statistics", the incompetence of the commanders and easiness with which the thousands were wasted in ego race between Zhukov and Rokossovsky, strategically pointles soperations such as the Battle of the Dukla Pass, etc. and then the cynicism these millions of losses were used for emotional blackmailing and leverage of the Allies. The disregard for individual human life in Soviet Union is staggering - treatment the Soviet ex-POWs received after the end of the war, who went from German POW camps straight to Soviet Gulags (because Stalin said that "no Soviet soldier will ever surrender") pretty much explains it.

Quoting ArniePie (Reply 1):
overall inefficiency of the German production apparatus

Say again???
I think it was a logistical/organizational miracle how Germany managed to sustain the level of industrial/agricultural production almost until the last days of WW2 it did despite being pressed on two-fronts, having no losing air superiority, being bombed 24/7 and yet still managing to roll out high-tech stuff such as the Me 262 jet, not to mention other more "crude" weaponry.

Quoting Braybuddy (Reply 3):
Not to mention Mikhail Gorbachev standing back as the Berlin Wall collapsed in 1989, followed by the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe.

Too bad he did not stand back when the Evil Empire itself finally started to collapse.
 
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Tue Jul 01, 2008 10:18 pm



Quoting Falcon84 (Thread starter):
I can't diminish the bombing campaign for what it did, but I still don't believe the Soviet Union, to this day, gets enough credit for the heroic stands it made in 1941 and 1941 against Germany, and then their inexorable march Westward after that.

Agreed.

Some years ago when I was in Berlin on holiday I visited a museum telling the Soviet side of the WW2. The museum was in the building were the German capitulation was signed, with the room where it was signed standing as it was on May the 7th 1945. It was really interesting to see and much different from what we are normally told about the war. It's a must for everyone visiting Berlin. On a sidenote, we had to drive through what looked like an abandoned allotmentgarden on gravel roads to get to the museum which were placed nearby some abandoned barracks.
http://www.museum-karlshorst.de/

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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Tue Jul 01, 2008 10:20 pm



Quoting Cytz_pilot (Reply 5):

I can't imagine how different the war would have been had Germany invaded Britain. I often wonder if there would have been a way for the United States and the Commonwealth countries to keep fighting oceans away from Europe.

I read a very plausable report some time ago regarding this - at the time of Operation Sealion, the Germans were concentrating on winning air superiority over the RAF, but they almost completely neglected to attempt the same thing against the Royal Navy.

The German Navy was actually very small during the 1939-1942 period, consisting mainly of U-Boats - which could not operate freely in the shallow waters of the Channel. They also neglected to deal with the threat that the RN Home Fleet posed, which at the time was based in Scapa Flow after the Dunkirk retreat.

The RN also had significant fleets operating in the Atlantic and Med, which could be recalled if necessary for defence of the home lands.

If the Germans had invaded, the invasion would likely have only lasted a few months, until the Home Fleet travelled down the North Sea and engaged the German fleet there - this would give the RN fleets in the Atlantic and Med enough time to return and vastly out number and out gun the invasion force.

If the invasion had been successful, contingencies were already being put into place in America to sustain a long range bombing campaign - the Convair B-36 was intended to strike continental Europe from continental USA, and it was even intended to carry its own fighter escort, the XF-85 Goblin which was to be carried in one of the bomb bays, and redock after intercepting enemy fighters.
 
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Tue Jul 01, 2008 10:37 pm



Quoting ArniePie (Reply 1):
An incompetent head of state meddling too much with military affairs (Hitler/mussollini)

That is what doomed the Nazis. If Hitler would have listened to his commanders, they might forced England to sue for peace. The frustration of not being able to defeat England made him attack the USSR.

Quoting ArniePie (Reply 1):
their alliance with the Japanese empire who where foolish enough to start a war against the US which in turn made it possible for the US to be fully engaged on both fronts.

Quite true. If Japan hadn't attacked the US, we would have sat it out(actively, but still helped our cousins secretly). With the US sitting it out, the USSR would not have had the materials to fight the war as well as they did. And after England had sued for peace, most of the aid to the USSR would have stopped or slowed dramatically(Churchill would have pressured FDR to stop to keep the peace with Germany).

Quoting Moo (Reply 4):
The Germans had no chance at all against the USSR

If Hitler would have listened to his commanders, they would have taken Moscow. His "never retreat" was an impossible order to follow. Tactically, you sometimes must retreat today so you can gain the upper hand tomorrow(just look at the Korean war to see how well an advance to rear will work)

The "real" killer of Germany was Hitler himself. History has shown that leaders don't make great generals and generals don't make great leaders.

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Falcon84
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Tue Jul 01, 2008 11:35 pm



Quoting ArniePie (Reply 1):
-The dumbest decision ever to open up a second front (tha war against the USSR) which was completely nonsense since they both had an agreement to divide up Poland and leave it to that.

Granted. But I'm not talking about the decision to open the front. I'm talking about what happened after. I do agree with you though. Hitler fell into the same trap that Napoleon did.

Quoting ArniePie (Reply 1):
The former Soviet union is indeed the main reason why Germany was defeated in the end but the US and the UK (and their commonwealth partners) where the only two countries who fought on all fronts simultaniously

The fought world-wide, but not "on all fronts". The did not participate on the Eastern Front, which may have been the most brutal fighting in the history of warfare.

Quoting Cytz_pilot (Reply 5):
Going back further, I think it all stems from the fact that Britain wasn't defeated in the Battle of Britain.

Outstanding point. Britian survived the Blitz, and that gave the United States its ultimate "aircraft carrier", as it were, to launch the inevitable invasion of Western Europe. Without Britian withstanding the Blitz, the entire continent of Europe could have ended up a Soviet bastion.

Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 7):
What they don't get enough "credit" for is their not-so-heroic stand prior to 1941 - not to mention the bittersweet taste of "liberation" by the USSR for the less fortunate half of Europe which ended up served to Stalin in Yalta on silverplate.

I understand your sentiments, but it isn't the topic here.

Quoting Sprout5199 (Reply 10):
The frustration of not being able to defeat England made him attack the USSR.

I think he attacks Russia anyway. But he had nowhere else to go to the West, and he didn't like amphibious warfare, so the only place to to for the "living space" for the German folk was eastward. It was bound to happen, I believe, no matter what. Hitler wanted world domination, and he was going to turn on Russia eventually.

I can imagine the look on the face of German troops, on the morning of Dec 6, 1941, when the 40 Divisions of the Siberians were unleashed on them, when their own equipment was frozen solid in the snow. Must have been one of the most humbling moments in human history.
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Wed Jul 02, 2008 12:12 am



Quoting Falcon84 (Reply 11):

I think he attacks Russia anyway. But he had nowhere else to go to the West, and he didn't like amphibious warfare, so the only place to to for the "living space" for the German folk was eastward. It was bound to happen, I believe, no matter what. Hitler wanted world domination, and he was going to turn on Russia eventually.

This is the best argument for his own insanity. How anyone could gather up charts, maps, planning documents, whatever, and completely overlook the distances required for every logitistical measure in the face of a six-month winter and then some is just positively nuts. And then he wondered why some in the SS tried to take him out...nobody likes going over a cliff!
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Wed Jul 02, 2008 12:35 am



Quoting Falcon84 (Reply 11):
I think he attacks Russia anyway.

Correct. That was his intention from the very beginning.

Quoting Falcon84 (Reply 11):
and he didn't like amphibious warfare

At first he thought the United Kingdom and France would never declare war on the German Reich, "just because" Germany invaded Poland.

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 12):
And then he wondered why some in the SS tried to take him out...nobody likes going over a cliff!

Actually that was the SA, not the SS.
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Wed Jul 02, 2008 12:54 am



Quoting Falcon84 (Thread starter):

Overall I agree. I don't think there even room for debate, my experience with those who make this argument is that they really don't have much knowledge of the fighting on the Eastern Front. Just the huge numbers involved, its mind blowing, no doubt both had a role but there is no question which was the primary factor.
 
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:55 am



Quoting Falcon84 (Reply 11):
The did not participate on the Eastern Front, which may have been the most brutal fighting in the history of warfare.

I think the US Marines may question that-- Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, Okinawa and so on. Still it was much worse than the western front.

Quoting Moo (Reply 9):
I read a very plausable report some time ago regarding this - at the time of Operation Sealion, the Germans were concentrating on winning air superiority over the RAF, but they almost completely neglected to attempt the same thing against the Royal Navy.

But as was shown (Bismark comes to mind, Midway, Pearl Harbor) air power came into its own in WW2, and with air superiority the Germans would have starved England.

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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:59 am

How about Hitler sucked at war?  eyepopping 
 
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Wed Jul 02, 2008 2:06 am



Quoting ArniePie (Reply 1):
if the generals (Rommel, von Paulitzen) would have gotten their way there would never have been a second front and victory for the allied forces would have been much more uncertain.

Well, not to sound simplistic or anything, but even if Germany's control of Europe remained ironclad, the allies still would have won the war in the fall of 1945. Of course some German cities would have ended up glowing in the dark ...
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KevinL1011
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Wed Jul 02, 2008 2:18 am

Naw!
None of that shit cast the deciding blow.

It was Lee Marvin and the "Dirty Dozen" that brought the Third Reich to their knees.



 biggrin 

BTW..."Kelly's Hero's" were pussies.
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Falcon84
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Wed Jul 02, 2008 3:05 am



Quoting Bravo45 (Reply 14):
Overall I agree. I don't think there even room for debate, my experience with those who make this argument is that they really don't have much knowledge of the fighting on the Eastern Front. Just the huge numbers involved, its mind blowing, no doubt both had a role but there is no question which was the primary factor.

Want a number that sums up the Eastern Front?: In one campaign in the Ukraine, the Germans encircled and capture-CAPTURED-750,000 Soviet soldiers.

That's just mind-boggling.
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Wed Jul 02, 2008 3:40 am



Quoting PROSA (Reply 17):
Well, not to sound simplistic or anything, but even if Germany's control of Europe remained ironclad, the allies still would have won the war in the fall of 1945.

Nevertheless, there could have been a possibility that the Wehrmacht would have still been stronger if he and Rommel weren't restricted by Hitler's bad orders, and let's face it, Hitler was a madman, not just for the genocide he's commited but also for not listening to military commanders, who do know what they're talking about. I still agree that by 1945, even with a stronger Wehrmacht, the Nazis would have been defeated by the allies, especially if they would have had to drop a nuke over Germany for it.

On the other hand, to respond to the What if scenario of the Nazis winning the war and keeping Stalin in check, there's a novel on it named "Fatherland", by Robert Harris. They also made an adaptation of the novel in an HBO production which I liked.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatherland_%28novel%29
 
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Wed Jul 02, 2008 3:55 am



Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 2):
I would have to dig into my books for references, but AFAIK, the German industry had the highest output in 1944, before the Nazis ran it almost on a peacetime economy with as little disturbance to the civilians as possible (to keep the homefront happy).

No, don't bother looking 1944 had by far the highest outputs of tanks and fighters. However, the stats hide a couple of important things. The items being produced were standardized for the most part on older models and in the case of the jet fighters and the Arado bomber, the quality of the engines was hurt by a lack of some critical metals - especially Ni, Cr and Mn - Hitler ran a whole campaign to try to keep a manganese mine in Russia.

And none of that production ensured that the engines had fuel to run them.

Quoting Moo (Reply 4):
Some raids resulted in utter confusion on the part of the Germans because they couldn't work out where the intended target was.

Including a large one on the Big City - Berlin - where the Germans were bewildered as to what the RAF was trying to attack.

The strategic bombing survey concluded that the effect of the damage was marginal to the outcome of the war. I think one place where they might have erred is the effort the Germans had to put into the AA defences. Those tens of thousands of 88s would have been most unwelcome that the front. Especially by the drivers and crew of Ronsons.

Some western troops who were fighting in 42-43 (which basically means the Middle East where Alamein also made a difference) have commented that the German esprit was never the same after Stalingrad.

Curiously the battle of Kursk seems to get less attention in the west. After Kursk, the fate of Germany was sealed. It was at Kursk where the defence in depth with anti tank guns was used to effect by the Russians. They had learned a lot by then!

On the bombing of the synthetic fuels, it is difficult to know if Harris was just bloody minded or realistic. As Moo says, at nights the RAF sometimes had difficulty hitting a city never mind a factory. However, the small bombs of the USAAF were much less of a problem for repairs compared with being hit by a 4000 lb cookie.

After Sept 1944, the Germans lost their forward radar and the RAF could mount daylight raids and some raids with Tallboys (6 ton) and Grand Slams (10 ton) bombs were devastating. But that was an indication of what could have been done and not of what WAS done.
 
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Wed Jul 02, 2008 4:36 am

Russia undoubtedly suffered terribly in WW2, and played its full part in wearing down the German forces.

But it's important to remember that it was Stalin who made WW2 possible, by signing the Non-Aggression Pact with Hitler on August 23rd.,1939 - a squalid deal which let him swallow up half of Poland and all the Baltic States. Then he sat back and supplied raw materials to Germany while leaving Britain to fight on alone for the best part of two years.

Even after Russia was attacked, Russian forces played virtually no 'strategic role' - their sole priority was defending Russia itself. They didn't even provide escorts and air cover for the Arctic convoys from Britain that kept them supplied. Even after the United States was attacked by the Japanese, Stalin steadfastly stayed right out of that conflict. He only declared war on Japan in the last few days, after the atomic bombs were dropped, in the hope of 'sharing in the spoils.'

It was left to the United States, Britain, and the Commonwealth to combat the Japanese; eventually driving them out of Burma and Malaya and carrying out the long bloody 'island-hopping' campaign all the way from Australia to Okinawa, to secure bases from which, at long last, Japan could be directly threatened with bombing and invasion.

I seldom see the point mentioned; but a glance at the map will show that, if Russia had joined in against Japan - and above all, allowed the Allies to use their eastern naval bases and airfields around Vladivostok - the mainland of Japan could have been directly threatened from the start.

Fair to say that the war in the Pacific would have taken a very different course if they had. For a start, the whole costly 'island-hopping' campaign, from Guadalcanal all the way to Iwo Jima, would have been largely unnecessary. The attack on the Japanese home islands could have started in 1942, and largely been carried out from Russia, China, and the Aleutians.

[Edited 2008-07-01 21:49:19]
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Wed Jul 02, 2008 4:52 am

Quoting FXramper (Reply 16):
How about Hitler sucked at war?

Well, he had his initial successes...really, what happened is that he (in his mind) took credit for the successes of Rommel, Guderian, von Manstein, etc., and he had "victory disease" after that. It was very hard to argue against him because he believed he was a military genius. Those who continued to argue against him (Guderian) were sacked.

Quoting ArniePie (Reply 1):
The dumbest decision ever to open up a second front (tha war against the USSR) which was completely nonsense since they both had an agreement to divide up Poland and leave it to that.

There's no way this would have held. Look at the players. It's like two street thugs teaming up to divvy up a neighborhood between themselves. Eventually one of them is going to get ambitious and attack the other. Stalin was just biding his time until he could make his move. And as it actually played out, if he had lived past 1953, we surely would have surely seen an invasion of Western Europe.

[Edited 2008-07-01 22:00:20]
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baroque
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Wed Jul 02, 2008 8:29 am

One thing that should be mentioned if Hitler's skill at war (or lack of it) should be mentioned and that is the demand for unconditional surrender. How long did that put back the end of the war in Europe. Arguably Stauffenberg would have had more support had that noose not been hanging over Germany's head. Same for Japan, and the irony was, when push came to shove, the surrender of Japan was NOT unconditional. Churchill was not at all happy at the sudden announcement of the policy, apparently without any consultation.

Was that an early version of "you are with me or against me"?
 
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Wed Jul 02, 2008 9:05 am

Def the Russian Winter & the Battle for Stalingrad.
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moo
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Wed Jul 02, 2008 9:22 am



Quoting Sprout5199 (Reply 15):
But as was shown (Bismark comes to mind, Midway, Pearl Harbor) air power came into its own in WW2, and with air superiority the Germans would have starved England.

Problem is, Germany did not have that type of air force - they had no proper aircraft carriers, and as such had no ability to truly interdict allied shipping from the northern parts of the British Isles to America, they had to rely on the U-Boat fleet to attempt that.

The British fleets could have roamed in the North Sea and out in the Atlantic without much, if any, bother from the Germans.

With the fleets carrying out hit and run attacks against the pitiful German invasion fleet in the Channel during which significant proportions of the invasion fleet would be destroyed, the invasion would have quickly faltered.
 
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Wed Jul 02, 2008 10:32 am



Quoting Moo (Reply 26):
Problem is, Germany did not have that type of air force

Thankfully, that's exactly right. Even the Messerschmitt 109 didn't have the range, the visibility, the turning ability, or the firepower to perform close escort duties.

The thing I like about this film clip (from 'The Battle of Britain') is that it's exactly true. Except that the officer who asked Goering for a squadron of Spitfires was actually Adolf Galland:-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjz8pAGRvsg
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Wed Jul 02, 2008 11:14 am



Quoting Falcon84 (Thread starter):
Every time I see my uncle, one of the debates he and I always seem to get into is what had the bigger effect on the Allies ultimate victory in Europe.

He says it was the round-the-clock American/British bombing campaigns against German industry.

I say it was the incredible resistance of the Soviet Union against the Germans on the Eastern Front.

Both have their place in defeating the Thrid Reich, but, in my mind, without the dogged determination of the Soviet Army in the East, against most of the crack units of the German Armed Forces, the Western allies campaign would have been ten times as hard, and we might not have had a landing at Normandy in 1944. If Stalin's forces don't tie up Hitlers in the East, many of them would have been stacked against the U.S, Britian and others in the West.

I can't diminish the bombing campaign for what it did, but I still don't believe the Soviet Union, to this day, gets enough credit for the heroic stands it made in 1941 and 1941 against Germany, and then their inexorable march Westward after that.

What say you members?

Well one thing you may be forgetting is that Germany lost the Battle of Britain in that it tried to take Britain by air prior to launching an invasion but never succeded and as a result it turned its attention East and attacked Russia. If America hadn't entered the war then yes eventually Germany would have worn Britain down and would have eventually invaded and won there. But with Germany having a relatively weak Navy (unable to stop much of the sea replentishments to Britain) and with the RAF being reinforced with American built aircraft, the Allies would have eventually won in any case. Especially with America developing nukes. A single nuke to Berlin would have been game over for Germany as I don't believe that Germans were as passionate/loyal/dedicated to the cause compared to the Japanese and their devotion to their Emporer.
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Wed Jul 02, 2008 11:49 am



Quoting Falcon84 (Thread starter):
I say it was the incredible resistance of the Soviet Union against the Germans on the Eastern Front

I agree, but I'm not so sure I'd call it "incredible resistance". Not to diminish what the Soviets did, but we have to also aknowledge that they were "lucky" (hard to use that word really when talking about so much death and destruction) that german forces got to the outskirts of Moscow a bit too late. Had they managed to take control of Moscow the war would have had a different course. That said, it would have been hard for Hitler to control all the conquered territory, so eventually possibly the war would have ended with allied victory after all, but it would have taken much more.

Quoting FXramper (Reply 16):
How about Hitler sucked at war?

I don't think he sucked at war at all. He screwed up at the end, probably blinded by the fact that he was not winning as he was at first, but until 1943 he conquered anything he aimed at. Also part of war was gather the troops and make your citizens support a war campaign, and he mastered that.

Quoting Zkpilot (Reply 28):
Especially with America developing nukes.

Wasn´t Germany developing it too?


regards  Smile


(great thread by the way  Smile )
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Wed Jul 02, 2008 12:07 pm



Quoting EZEIZA (Reply 29):
I agree, but I'm not so sure I'd call it "incredible resistance".

I would. The Russians lost probably 30 million people in the war, soldier and civilian. Not only did they have virtually whole armies captured in the first fortnight of Barbarossa, but the Germans, in that time, swallowed up a landmass twice the size of Germany. And yet the Soviet Union percevered.

Despite their massive land size, and their ability to move whole factories east of the Urals, they were on the verge of losing. And the only good thing that old murderer Stalin ever did was to stay in Moscow when the Germans were at the doorstep, and tell the people to fight for Mother Russia-not to fight for him; not to fight for the Communist party, but for Mother Russia. That steeled the resolve of the people and the soldiers, and it was a key to the Russians repelling the invasion.

Quoting EZEIZA (Reply 29):
Not to diminish what the Soviets did, but we have to also aknowledge that they were "lucky" (hard to use that word really when talking about so much death and destruction) that german forces got to the outskirts of Moscow a bit too late.

Another bluder by Hitler. That's because he let his emotion get the better of him after Yugoslavia threw out the Nazi's that had taken control there, and put in a Soviet-backed government. Hitler, instead of keeping his eye on the real prize, the USSR, delayed Barbarossa 6 weeks to start Operation Retribution against Yugoslavia-a move that could have waited.

Instead of putting the Germans at Moscow's doorstep in late October, it put them there in early December. A big difference.
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Wed Jul 02, 2008 12:39 pm

Quoting Falcon84 (Reply 30):
Another bluder by Hitler. That's because he let his emotion get the better of him after Yugoslavia threw out the Nazi's that had taken control there, and put in a Soviet-backed government. Hitler, instead of keeping his eye on the real prize, the USSR, delayed Barbarossa 6 weeks to start Operation Retribution against Yugoslavia-a move that could have waited.

Instead of putting the Germans at Moscow's doorstep in late October, it put them there in early December. A big difference.

Agree 90%, Falcon84. But another factor was the British sending troops from Egypt to try and hold Greece and Crete in May 1941. This was largely held at the time (and has been since) as a blunder on Churchill's part - and indeed, by most standards, it was. But the Germans lost a lot of their best and most experienced people there - in particular, the 2nd. New Zealand Division was technically 'defeated' but took most of the brand-new, highly-trained, and capable German parachute division with them. And those diversions and losses also delayed 'Barbarossa.'

With hindsight, It became a repetitive pattern, really. Hitler biting off more than he could chew.......

[Edited 2008-07-02 05:44:46]
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Wed Jul 02, 2008 12:41 pm



Quoting EZEIZA (Reply 29):
He screwed up at the end, probably blinded by the fact that he was not winning as he was at first, but until 1943 he conquered anything he aimed at.

Ahem, the Battle of Britain was in the summer of 1940...
 
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Wed Jul 02, 2008 12:50 pm



Quoting Moo (Reply 32):
Ahem, the Battle of Britain was in the summer of 1940...

And the Battle of El Alamein was in October 1942. Add the victories at Guadalcanal and Stalingrad, both in February 1943, and in my view you have the true turning-points of WW2.
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:00 pm



Quoting Falcon84 (Reply 30):
Instead of putting the Germans at Moscow's doorstep in late October, it put them there in early December. A big difference.

One of the turning points of the war, no doubt.

Quoting Falcon84 (Reply 30):
Not only did they have virtually whole armies captured in the first fortnight of Barbarossa, but the Germans, in that time, swallowed up a landmass twice the size of Germany

Precisely why i think it was not an incredible resistance. As we agreed, the USSR was not forced to surrender in the end because of the delay in reaching Moscow.

Quoting Moo (Reply 32):
Ahem, the Battle of Britain was in the summer of 1940

yup, sorry. I should have said that, he didn't manage to get Britain, but that did not mean he was losing the war, rather it was delaying victory. However, when the Germans failed to conquer Moscow, that was a different story. First of all because of the manpower involved (compared to the battle of Britain), and the fact that the Soviets fought back meant for the first time he was pushed back.

regards  Smile
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:18 pm

Let's not forget an important thing...everyone focuses on the Russian contribution, and some have mentioned the US/Canadian logistical support, but let's move forward to mid-1944. Operation OVERLORD began in June, and was immediately followed by Operations BAGRATION, COBRA, and DRAGOON. Those gave a 1-2-3-4 punch that left the Germans shuffling resources from one front to another to combat a changing "primary" threat (schwerpunkt). The fact of the matter is that without either of the two major sets of partners throughout the entirety of World War II, it would have been a lot tougher because Germany would have been able to face a single set of enemies in a focused manner. Hitler exacerbated this situation on December 9, 1941 by declaring war against the US, when all of our furor had been focused on Japan for two days.

Quoting Baroque (Reply 24):
One thing that should be mentioned if Hitler's skill at war (or lack of it) should be mentioned and that is the demand for unconditional surrender. How long did that put back the end of the war in Europe.

If conditional surrender had been accepted, Germany would have maintained many of the same structures and culture that had led to disaster three times in 70 years. It was time to clean house.

Quoting Baroque (Reply 24):
Same for Japan, and the irony was, when push came to shove, the surrender of Japan was NOT unconditional.

Well, the main issue with Japan that you are referring to, undoubtedly, was that they left Hirohito around. However, he was reduced to a figurehead. I don't think this was of any long-term consequence. The bigger thing is that Japan does not seem to have the same sense of guilt over World War II that was instilled in Germany. Also, Japanese war crimes were not as thoroughly prosecuted as they were in Germany, something that IMHO allowed some of that lack of guilt to remain.
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:21 pm



Quoting NAV20 (Reply 22):
I seldom see the point mentioned; but a glance at the map will show that, if Russia had joined in against Japan - and above all, allowed the Allies to use their eastern naval bases and airfields around Vladivostok - the mainland of Japan could have been directly threatened from the start.

I think that if the USSR had declared war against Japan, they would have LOST the war against the axis. for the USSR to have two fronts separated by so much distance would have been a disaster. Japan would have attacked into the USSR, and Stalin would have had to send troops to repel them, which would have reduced the amount on the "middle front"(the eastern front would have been against Japan). And if you think the eastern front was bloody can you imagine the Soviets against the Japanese.

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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:24 pm



Quoting Sprout5199 (Reply 36):
I think that if the USSR had declared war against Japan, they would have LOST the war against the axis. for the USSR to have two fronts separated by so much distance would have been a disaster.

Not only that but the Soviet surprise in some of the 1943 campaigns was due in large part to the redeployment of assets that had been arrayed against Japan. This was done in secret once the Russians realized that they did not have to worry about that flank. The Germans were caught thoroughly off-guard as they did not think the assets were available for use.
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:44 pm



Quoting Sprout5199 (Reply 10):
That is what doomed the Nazis. If Hitler would have listened to his commanders, they might forced England to sue for peace.

This is the main thread connecting most of the posts here.

According to most accounts, by 1941, Hitler really considered himself a military genius, despite the fact that up until that point, most of the fighting decisions had been made by his generals - he only gave the orders to take such and such country.

He didn't have to make much else in the way of strategic decisions - the Luftwaffe/Wehrmacht/SS/et. al had pretty much locked up Poland/Czech/France/etc... without the difficult scenarios most generals have to deal with at some point in a war (supply chain problems, tactical retreats, bad weather, and the like).

This made the Eastern Front ripe for the befuddled Fuhrer to show off his ineptitude.

I know more about Stalingrad than the entire war-long Eastern Front itself, so I'll stick to the conclusions you can take from that mid-war battle.

Despite the fact that the Russians eventually won out, I think much more can be written and extrapolated from the way the Soviet Union fought the battle - especially in terms of Russian strategy altogether. It would basically tell the story of Soviet tactics for the next 40 years - have a bigger army, with more men and machines, to throw at your attackers and hope the numbers advantage lets you win the war of attrition. Most Soviet troops were very inexperienced, and the majority were marched headlong into machine gun fire and their subsequent deaths (or face death at the hands of their own commanders if they retreated - generals could also count on death for losing a battle).

Anywho, even though the Russians were poorly trained (for the most part - one can't discount the snipers that played such a heavy tactical and propaganda role at the time), and had to send all their supplies across the very vulnerable and very bombed Volga River, they did manage to hold off the Nazis in time for the well-known Russian winter to provide much needed reinforcements. The mushy, building by building battle turned even mushier, and by November, the stalemate was in full effect.

Somehow, despite their own commander-in-chief's problem with letting others make decisions and lead, the Russian commanders were able to take advantage of the ill-prepared-for-the-weather German troops. The Stavka launched many offensive movements in November 1942, with the Russian soldiers effectively subverting the German initiative and taking it on themselves.

The main takeaway from this point of the war that the Germans were so ill-prepared, ineffectual and complacent that they had no "Plan B" for what they would do if the Soviets battled through four months of 1942 into the Russian winter. Supply lines were cut off, troops were starving, tanks were out of fuel, and the Russians won.

It is an oft-noted saying that "amateurs discuss tactics - Generals discuss Logistics," but in the case of Stalingrad, it holds truer than any other battle, in my opinion. This showed the Germans, while tactically superior in some ways, lacked the oversight, supervision and leadership to effectively fight an entire war like a real army should.

Instead of learning from Stalingrad, Hitler merely blamed his Generals (mainly General Paulus, the leader of German forces on the Eastern front, who voluntarily surrendered to the Soviets the day after being promoted to "Generalfeldmarschall" by Hitler in hopes Paulus would commit suicide rather than be captured) for the defeat, rather than seeing his own weaknesses as commander. He surrounded himself with more Hitler-thinkers and less free-thinkers, and it was at this point, in my opinion, that Germany set its own course for defeat.

But - that's an amateur historians view. Take it or leave it  Smile
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:55 pm

Quoting Planespotting (Reply 38):
According to most accounts, by 1941, Hitler really considered himself a military genius, despite the fact that up until that point, most of the fighting decisions had been made by his generals - he only gave the orders to take such and such country.

Well, the one incident that really emboldened Hitler was (per Guderian's biography), the invasion of France through the Ardennes. Though this plan was formulated by von Manstein and Guderian, those two generals did not have buy-in from OKW, who were not believers in mobile armored assaults. Hitler backed von Manstein and Guderian and, though it was not his idea, took credit for the victory that ensued.

Quoting Planespotting (Reply 38):
supply chain problems

Guderian cited this as a particular reason why the Germans did not seal off northern France more quickly.

Quoting Planespotting (Reply 38):
It is an oft-noted saying that "amateurs discuss tactics - Generals discuss Logistics," but in the case of Stalingrad, it holds truer than any other battle, in my opinion. This showed the Germans, while tactically superior in some ways, lacked the oversight, supervision and leadership to effectively fight an entire war like a real army should.

I don't think you can blame the Germans in general. Many of the German generals had good heads about them but were overridden, to be replaced by lackeys or become that way themselves.

[Edited 2008-07-02 07:21:59]
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Wed Jul 02, 2008 2:15 pm



Quoting N328KF (Reply 39):
I don't think you can blame the Germans in general. Many of the German generals had good heads about them but were overridden, to be replaced by lackeys or become that way themselves.

I wasn't blaming the Generals - Hitler was the main reason the upper-echelons of the German army didn't have contingency plans. Preparations for alternatives was basically like planning to fail (in the eyes of der Fuhrer) and wasn't allowed at that point in the war, and it sure as hell wasn't allowed after.
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Wed Jul 02, 2008 3:56 pm



Quoting EZEIZA (Reply 34):
Quoting Falcon84 (Reply 30):
Not only did they have virtually whole armies captured in the first fortnight of Barbarossa, but the Germans, in that time, swallowed up a landmass twice the size of Germany

Precisely why i think it was not an incredible resistance. As we agreed, the USSR was not forced to surrender in the end because of the delay in reaching Moscow.

I think it shows precisely why what the USSR did was so incredible. They were losing whole armies, and large amounts of land, yet still won. They had the resources to secretly move 40 divisions from Siberia to Moscow, without Japan or Germany being aware of it.

If anyone hasn't seen the Thames TV series "The World At War", which was made back in the 1970's, it's a great set. And on this subject, watch the segemnt "Barbarossa", which is fascinating.
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Wed Jul 02, 2008 4:43 pm



Quoting Sprout5199 (Reply 10):
That is what doomed the Nazis. If Hitler would have listened to his commanders, they might forced England to sue for peace. The frustration of not being able to defeat England made him attack the USSR.

Please get the name of the country right, it was Britain / United Kingdom, not england. Hundreds of thousands of Welsh, Irish and Scottish soldiers faught and died in that war too, a little appreciation of them would be nice.

Your post is an insult to all those who died.
 
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Wed Jul 02, 2008 4:50 pm



Quoting Falcon84 (Thread starter):
can't diminish the bombing campaign for what it did, but I still don't believe the Soviet Union, to this day, gets enough credit for the heroic stands it made in 1941 and 1941 against Germany, and then their inexorable march Westward after that.

Falcon you are right on with this. It was a giant allied combined strategy and the Russian Infantrymen and armor divisions bore the brunt of the brutal fighting. Its a tough thing to say as a American who admires our military , but the Russians broke the back of the Germans. The Bombing campaign was hugely important in the overall strategic victory , but the massive defeats by German divisions on the eastern front were devastating to the German effort.

Not to dismiss what the western Allied infantry men had to endure with the invasion and fight though western Europe. But just in the shear number of casualties it becomes apparent that we were fighting downhill by 44. On the Eastern front the battle would swallow entire divisions at the rate we would lose a company or a platoon. It is amazing to look at some battles in Russia where they would lose 200-300,000 men in a single battle ! Chilling.

The battle of Kursk alone was a much much larger event than the Normandy invasion. Over 2 million men and 200,000 tanks faced each other on open ground. I once heard that the Russians lost more tanks at Kursk than the Americans did in the whole invasion and drive though France! . Incredible battles to say the least , the horror those infantrymen lived though can not be described.
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Wed Jul 02, 2008 5:17 pm



Quoting Falcon84 (Reply 41):
They had the resources to secretly move 40 divisions from Siberia to Moscow, without Japan or Germany being aware of it.

To be sure, they were given those resources. Most locomotives and medium trucks in Soviet service during World War II were of US manufacture.
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Wed Jul 02, 2008 5:31 pm



Quoting AGM100 (Reply 43):
Incredible battles to say the least , the horror those infantrymen lived though can not be described.

Indeed - it's no wonder then that the Russians were so paranoid during the subsequent Cold War of a foreign invasion - an example being the tremendous air defense network they set up throughout all parts of the country (called the PVO, I believe)
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Wed Jul 02, 2008 5:38 pm



Quoting Nighthawk (Reply 42):
Please get the name of the country right, it was Britain / United Kingdom, not england. Hundreds of thousands of Welsh, Irish and Scottish soldiers faught and died in that war too, a little appreciation of them would be nice.

Your post is an insult to all those who died.

As a son of a mother who was born in Scotland and a paternal grandmother who was born in Scotland, a descendant of the clan Sutherland, and an all around nice guy, I take offense at the idea that I don't appreciate all the people who fought and died for the allies in WW2. If you take offense at semitics (England,Scotland, UK etc...) forgive my error. From now on it will be "The country that oppressed the colonies so much that they declared Independence on July 4th 1776".

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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Wed Jul 02, 2008 6:33 pm

Well, it is hard to argue with the USSR's land contribution, with some 80% of WW2 German land forces casualties being on the Eastern Front.

With the less direct bombing, it's all not as clear cut.
For a start, the initial heavy RAF effort after 'Bomber' Harris took over RAF Bomber Command, was as much about the exploiting the only direct method Nazi Germany could be attacked then.
Giving the heavily bombed UK populace some revenge, was important for morale too.
It was very necessary for this alone.

As the war progressed, with the reverses in the Western Desert and Russian Front, the effective winning of the Battle Of The Atlantic allowing the mass of the men and material for the second front to actually get across the pond, the by now combined RAF/USAAF campaign seems at face value, harder to justify.

But only if you look at it narrowly.
Speer may have performed miracles (helped by mass slave labour) in production, but without the bombing, as he later admitted, production could have increased very much further still.
Considering the situation in Russia and the US entry into the war, this was significant.
Then all those flak guns, a massive force by 1944, all those 88mm shooting at aircraft, not tanks.
The manpower, ammo, all that Luftwaffe production needed for defending fighters, day and night.
The specialised night fighters being even more of a diversion from the more tactical types the Luftwaffe sorely needed.
Concrete poured in Germany for all these defences, not being poured on the French coast.

The more controversial aspects can perhaps be answered by an encounter some years ago, at the very belated (due to being seen as controversial), unveiling of a statue of 'Bomber Harris' in London.
A British journalist expressed his distaste for this, his German countered repiled, 'don't you see, this made us learn to behave ourselves'.
 
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Wed Jul 02, 2008 7:03 pm



Quoting NAV20 (Reply 22):
it's important to remember that it was Stalin who made WW2 possible, by signing the Non-Aggression Pact with Hitler on August 23rd.,1939 - a squalid deal which let him swallow up half of Poland and all the Baltic States. Then he sat back and supplied raw materials to Germany while leaving Britain to fight on alone for the best part of two years.

 checkmark 

This is also something one must remember: Stalin thought with a non-aggression pact, he could keep Hitler in check. And he was so dead wrong when he realised that the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union. Stalin got fooled by Hitler. He should have known that Hitler is someone who despises the bolsheviks and who was itching to conquer some land in the east for the expansion of the so-called Aryan race. Had Stalin made his homework early, he could have spared his country a long war that cost millions of lives, at least on his front.

Quoting Baroque (Reply 24):
One thing that should be mentioned if Hitler's skill at war (or lack of it) should be mentioned and that is the demand for unconditional surrender. How long did that put back the end of the war in Europe. Arguably Stauffenberg would have had more support had that noose not been hanging over Germany's head.

Hitler repeatedly said that "there shall be no November 1918 anymore", to which he referred to Imperial Germany's surrender during the Great War. Hitler lived by this, he constantly reminded his generals that Germany will never surrender at all. Even with his top brass generals suggesting it or even demanding it, Hitler (and after his death, Goebbels before commiting suicide) rejected even the slightest thought of surrender.

Stauffenberg was a patriot, who eventually rejected Hitler as his commander in chief because he thought that the Führer would lead the country into chaos through his incompetence in war. While he did sympathise with some conservative and revisionist aspects of the NSDAP, he did not agree with the actions of the Nazis against the Jews (most notably during the Reichskristallnacht 1938) and because of the way they lead the war. He would have likely called for a surrender if he had succeded with the assassination of Hitler during Operation Walküre. Stauffenberg cared for the country, unlike Hitler who rejected his Austrian heritage to build an empire based on military conquest, false promisses to the German people, and genocide, just to satisfy his inferiority complex.
 
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RE: A World War II Debate For You

Wed Jul 02, 2008 7:15 pm



Quoting LTU932 (Reply 48):
Had Stalin made his homework early, he could have spared his country a long war that cost millions of lives, at least on his front.

Stalin would have attacked Germany if it hadn't already attacked him. Look at what he did keeping himself busy while the Germans were occupied in the West...he delt with Finland and the Baltic nations in short order, and then split Poland. I'm sure it wouldn't have stopped there had he been given the chance.
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