The Eastern Front decided WWII?




 
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January 20th, 2012  
Marcelo Jenisch
 

Topic: The Eastern Front decided WWII?


Hello,

Folks, I was reading a very interesting article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwa...es_won_01.shtm

In my view, it ilustrates clearly that despite the very relevant Soviet effort in the ground war, every major Allied country did it's crucial part. What the Soviets call "decisive victories", were certainly interconnected with what happened in the West e.g the naval blockade of Germany, U-boat construction instead of armor, the bombing and others.

I know if Stalin was defeated, things would change radically for the Western Allies. But, if Britain was defeated or signed peace, the situation could not become favourable to Stalin either. If the Americans didn't provided Lend-Lease for the British, they would not be able to continue the war. So, I cannot digest this "decisive front" popular meaning of the war in the East.

In the end, the West needed of the East and vice versa. This is my analysis to have a neutral perspective of the war in Europe.

What are your opinions?
January 20th, 2012  
samneanderthal
 
Hi Marcelo,
Germany simply could not fight a long war on 2 fronts. Therefore, both fronts benefitted greatly from each other.
Had Germany fought only the USSR it would not have lost air superiority, so regardless of the exagerated tank production, Stalin would have lost the tanks and the trucks that supplied them.
Despite a much smaller front, the west destroyed most of the German planes (including the best planes, while the most primitive survived much longer in the USSR). The west destroyed the transportation systems, industry, synthetic and natural oil production capacity. Fuel, transportation and planes decided WW II.

Given the steel, coal, hydrocarbons, truck, shipping, railroad engine and airplane production of the west (not to mention the atomic bomb), the west would have defeated Germany eventually without the USSR (like it did eventually in WW I without Russia), but the USSR could not have defeated Germany without all the help from the west.
January 20th, 2012  
Marcelo Jenisch
 
Hello samneanderthal,

I also hold the view that Germany without a war in the USSR or without it's supplies, maybe would be more easily defeated by the West than the Soviets would be capable of defeat it if they were alone.

My point with this topic is a critic to from what I perceive is an exaggeration of the Soviet contribution in the West today. While I certainly recognize the brutal scale of the war in the East and the ultimate sacrifice the Soviets had in terms of lifes lost, I don't agree they turned the tide of the war alone, or, like usually told, "decided" the war. It was an all out joint effort in my view. Hence it was a global conflict.

I perfectly understand the Cold War diminuished considerably the Soviet contribution, which is certainly wrong (and this is also appliable to the Soviet side about the West). However, this is not an excuse to do the same mistake again, just putting the Soviets in place of the Western Allies as the saviors against the Nazy tyranny, which they certainly played a big part, but only with the joint Allied cooperation.
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January 20th, 2012  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcelo Jenisch
Hello,

Folks, I was reading a very interesting article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwa...es_won_01.shtm

In my view, it ilustrates clearly that despite the very relevant Soviet effort in the ground war, every major Allied country did it's crucial part. What the Soviets call "decisive victories", were certainly interconnected with what happened in the West e.g the naval blockade of Germany, U-boat construction instead of armor, the bombing and others.

I know if Stalin was defeated, things would change radically for the Western Allies. But, if Britain was defeated or signed peace, the situation could not become favourable to Stalin either. If the Americans didn't provided Lend-Lease for the British, they would not be able to continue the war. So, I cannot digest this "decisive front" popular meaning of the war in the East.

In the end, the West needed of the East and vice versa. This is my analysis to have a neutral perspective of the war in Europe.

What are your opinions?
I think no matter how we try and paint it the war was effectively decided in the East the Russian Front consumed roughly two thirds of the German armed forces with the rest scattered all over Europe.

There is no doubt that the Western Allies played a major role as well but on no where near the scale of the Eastern Front.
January 20th, 2012  
George
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
I think no matter how we try and paint it the war was effectively decided in the East the Russian Front consumed roughly two thirds of the German armed forces with the rest scattered all over Europe.

There is no doubt that the Western Allies played a major role as well but on no where near the scale of the Eastern Front.
The Germans stuck their finger into a machine that sucked them in & ground them up.
January 20th, 2012  
Marcelo Jenisch
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
I think no matter how we try and paint it the war was effectively decided in the East the Russian Front consumed roughly two thirds of the German armed forces with the rest scattered all over Europe.
2/3 of the Army specifically. And as I already told, those 2/3 were interconnected with the West, talking about the German casualities there. It was the naval blockade of Germany, the U-boat being built to the West, the plane, the factory destroyed, the Lend-lease cargo arriving in the USSR, all those Western Allied factors were very important reasons to 7 from each 10 Army casualities the Germans suffered being in the East.

Some historians today criticize former German officers when they supposedly don't want to admit they were defeated in the East by the "sub-human Slavs", which I don't think it's fair. The opinion of such officers is usually based in my argumention line: The Germans could deal with the Russians alone, even if not to achive total victory, but not with the Russians and their alies.

Here's an example of it:

As for the death blow to the Luftwaffe, according to Galland it was struck not in 1943 but in the winter of 1944-45, when Germany exhausted its fighter capability in the Ardennes campaign.8 Moreover, the Germans, who were subjected to and could assess both Soviet and Western applications of air power, not only regretted their inability to cope with the Anglo-American strategic bombardment but saw their lack of such a capability as a decisive factor in their defeat in Russia.

http://www.airpower.au.af.mil/airchr...n/collins.html

Richard Overy criticizes the argument of the two front war defeating Germany in his book Why the Allies won, citing the American example. Particularly, I don't think this has much sense, because it pit the Allied contributions against each other.
January 20th, 2012  
LeEnfield
 
 
Nearly all the countries in WW2 made major contributions to war regardless of size and all help towards the final victory. Now on on here the biggest word is IF and that can be used to prove any argument regardless of how ever daft it is
January 21st, 2012  
Marcelo Jenisch
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeEnfield
Nearly all the countries in WW2 made major contributions to war regardless of size and all help towards the final victory. Now on on here the biggest word is IF and that can be used to prove any argument regardless of how ever daft it is
An IF about the Soviet Union defeating Germany alone is relative in my view. If Hitler managed to surprise Stalin like historically in such a scenario, I belive it would be at least a hell lot more difficult to Stalin set a foot in Germany, if not impractical. Having said that, if the Soviets managed to avoid the surprise strike, perhaps counter-attacking and keeping the war as far away from the USSR as possible, then the things could become equally hard for the Germans.

Another consideration is with the Japanese. Since Britain and the US would not be involved in the European war, would the Japanese try to attack their much better defended colonies? The Italians also should be considerated.
January 21st, 2012  
samneanderthal
 
The USSR destroyed 2/3 of the German Army only because the west destroyed 3/4 of the LW, KM, almost all the fuel production and transportation capability, etc,
It is incredible that Germany could inflict so much damage to the Soviet colossus with so few men, planes and tanks. Hitler started Barbarossa with many fewer planes than he had when he invaded France, with ridiculously small numbers of cannon, tanks, trucks, etc, and 625,000 horses, yet the Soviets lost a huge area in record time. Had the west not destroyed most of the huge numbers of planes produced by Speer and provided Stalin with fuel, hundreds of thousands of trucks, etc, German air superiority would have devastated the red army.
It is noteworthy that while Britain provided America with several important inventions and designs (radar, the Merlin engine, etc,) and some equipment, the USSR, despite its huge resources and population gobbled up western materiel and supplies and demanded a second front but did not provide a single tank, cannon, etc, from its ridiculously huge production of these items (it actually received thousands of British and American tanks) and fought always on a single front.
January 21st, 2012  
Marcelo Jenisch
 
The Soviets also destroyed much more of the German Army due to an obvious reason: they were engaging most of the German Army!

The war in the desert also needs consideration, even if Hitler himself and the Americans didn't cared much about it. That front was much smaller, and even so the Axis had almost a milion casualities there, 8,000 aircraft, 6,000 guns, 2500 tanks, and 70,000 trucks. And above all, they lost the oportunity of secure the vast oil fields of the Middle East. It's truth that most of the Italian equipment was obsolete, but if the Italians could take the place of the 300,000 Germans in Norway, fight partisans in Russia, as well as help in overall military operations such as in Leningrad to free even more German manpower, which would be possible in a scenario were a naval blockade didn't existed, certainly the Soviet situation would be even worst. If Italy remained in the war, by 1943 it's industry would help the Axis effort much more. For example, thousands of the excellent Fiat Centauro fighter would be fighting the Soviets. Ah, and to finish: Germany would have a much better chance to develop the atomic bomb.

I also would like to say that I have all the respect for the USSR and their sacrifices in the war. Just want to put the things in the proper WORLD WAR context they deserve.
 


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