About Why was WWII different than WWI? Page 3
|August 20th, 2004||#21|
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|August 20th, 2004||#22|
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You'll get no argument from me that Hitler's meddling was a big reason why Germany lost WW2. He was evil, pscyhopathic and an egoistic megalomaniac. But a moron?
|August 21st, 2004||#23|
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What I was saying is that Hitler was "crazy enough" meaning that's what military traditionalists thought of Guderian's ideas. I'm sure they thought Hitler was nuts to promote such ideas. That's what I was meaning.
You are right, Hitler was a brilliant man who saw the benefit of rethinking all things in the military. His greatest gift is for politics and knowing how to win friends and manipulate people. His influence on the military was very positive for the most part, allowing the military geniuses to develop and use their ideas. He was not, however, a brilliant military leader and this fact leads to problems. (We can leave be all that ought to be said of his beliefs and morals.) So, as commander and chief of the German military, he did some pretty damn stupid things. That makes him a moron in that category.
So yeah, basically we're trying to say exactly the same things.
|August 21st, 2004||#24|
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There are a number of differences in WWII than from WWI. They include technology and tactics. Technology has inproved since WWI in tanks, and and infantry weapons. Tanks were not equipt during WWI and were only used to ram certain barricades. Tanks were new technology in WWI. By WWII however, they were more advanced and easier to maneuver. They were also WAY more armed with 70mm cannon and machine guns. Airplanes were another technology advance in WWII with more guns and easier ways to drop bombs. Infantry weapons included thompson sub-machine guns, M1 Garands, BAR machine guns and rocket propelled explosives. Instead of the old, more costly trench warfare, there were more tactical and smarter ways of fighting. Although both WWI and WWII lasted only 4 years, there were MANY more technological and tactical advances in WWII.
|August 23rd, 2004||#25|
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Ok guys, heres an essey of mine dealing with this subject for my AP Euro History Class. Comments are appreciated...
|August 23rd, 2004||#26|
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I believe you can safely drop all mention of Sir Hart. He was a champion of the general concepts that constituted the German Blitzkrieg, but there were many others in many other countries. Interestingly, Guderian's autobiography throws a lot of credit to Hart in the English translation, but never even mentions him in any other language translation. This had a lot to do with Guderian owing Hart for keeping him out of being tried as a war criminal. Now I don't think that the victorious allies had anything on him, but when one loses a war you expect to get screwed regardless of having done anything wrong. I don't have all the details on this little transaction, but suffice it to say that Hart was less influential on Guderian than you would think at face value. Guderian just owed him one. Hart was unable to make any headway in changing British thinking on the uses for tanks, so he is like Patton; a failed innovator until he was proven right by German success. The same could be said of De Gaulle I believe.
One of the MOST important things that you completely missed is communications. Because he was a radio operator in WW1, Guderian had a very good idea how useful communications was. One advantage that Germany was never surpassed in was wireless radio communications between tanks, etc. With that good communication, the Panzer groups could be rapidly redirected and coordinated. Whitman's success is largely thanks to the huge advantage in communications. His death, though regrettable, did not overwhelmingly influence the outcome of the war. I'd definitely mention him as an example of how much better the Germans knew their tank warfare than any other power. To the very end, Germans always outdid the other side in tank vs tank kill ratios.
The failed concept of victory by air alone deserves mention. It has the same driving force as the German Blitzkrieg: ending trench warfare. Even the Germans believed in the idea to a degree. Much effort was wasted on pursuing a theory that proved to be wrong. Even today, you have to win on the ground, or you win NOTHING. But it is extrememly interesting that military theorists were so driven to not repeat the horrors of WW1 and this forced even the most conservative of military leaders to support new ideas.
Propaganda was nothing new, except that it was done better than ever because there were more ways to do it available.
Across the board, WW2 increased the involvement of innocent civilians. Germany tried bombing civilian targets to punish the British and the British and Americans did it right back. Germany had its death camps and tried to exterminate all that did not coincide with its ideal vision, but this was not a new idea. "I have given the orders to my Death Units to exterminate without mercy or pity men, women and children belonging to the Polish-speaking race. It is only in this manner that we can acquire the vital territory which we need. After all, who remembers today the extermination of the Armenians [by the Ottoman Turkish Empire during WW1]?" Not only does the idea of mass extermination not originate with Nazi Germany, but Turkey's mass extermination of Armenians is, even to this day, barely remembered by anyone. Germany also worked 6 million Russian POW's to death in forced labor camps, something completely unheard of in WW1.
Japan's concepts of how to conquer China are nothing new. Mass murder and extreme brutality were used by the Mongols and others to accomplish the same conquest. Their treatment of US and UK POW's is best understood by the clash in counterculture. A Japanese warrior sees anyone who would allow himself to be taken prisoner as a coward and an utter disgrace. So the Batan Death March and the rest of what happened to those prisoners, wrong though it certainly was, is at least culturally understandable.
On the other Allies side, we see the intentional targetting of civilians in Dresden, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and many others. The Allies were no angels, but their attrocities are consistently done on a much smaller scale than the Axis, with the giant exception of the Soviet Union. Some of the most horrible of German attrocities are directly inspired by the Soviets.
|August 24th, 2004||#27|
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Thanks for the notes, I definetly will add Guderians communications upgrades, but since the essey Is a compare and Contrast form of Warfare In Europe, I cant afford to mention anything on Japan, etc...