February 21st, 2012
| | From a purely German point of view, I think you're right. Hitler lost the war for Germany and without his bungling, disasters such as the demise of the 6th army at Stalingrad, and failure to take Leningrad and Moscow would have been properly planned and carried out. Military geniuses such as Manstein, Hoth, Gunderian, and Rommel would not have been dismissed or forced to commit suicide because of Hitler's whim. However, I must say the General Staff was not perfect. The Battle of Kursk was an entirely OKH planned offensive, and was a complete failure. But ultimately we should not only look to such factors in assessing Hitler or any other German role-player’s judgment in WW2 - in many ways this was in any case completely overshadowed by ULTRA, the real hidden hand of Allied success against Germany. As always, superior intelligence provides the critical advantage in any strategic process, and WWII was no exception.
Originally Posted by Der Alte
The more I study the German war effort, the more convinced I become that Dunkirk laid the foundations for the German defeat.
For Germany´s military leadership Dunkirk was the first great turning-point in the Second World War. Hitler was confident that with this battle he had demonstrated his “military invincibility” to the world. Had not the victory been won, to some extent at least, in accordance with his own ideas?
The campaign also confirmed his belief in his own military genius, while National Socialist propaganda went to reckless lengths to develop a single instance into a myth of invincibility. This was the original source of Hitler’s military hubris; the psychological factor which as time went on was to exercise a more and more deleterious effect on Germany’s conduct of the war. Further, it was during the Dunkirk campaign that Hitler first forced OKH to accept his own military views, by short-circuiting it at a critical juncture of the fighting and transferring a decision of far-reaching importance to a subordinate command whose views happened to coincide with his own.
In the last resort this was an important step towards the confusion which later so confounded Germany’s military leadership. What now developed was a gradual inner dissolution of the chain of command; the actual military instrument of leadership, the OKH, was undermined, overruled, and finally abolished altogether – with terrible consequences for the German people.
The course was laid and just like the Titanic Germany was on the way to her destiny.