Germany lost the war in 1940 - Page 4




 
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February 27th, 2012  
lljadw
 
The British decision (at the end of june 1940) not to give up,resulted in a strategic crisis for Germany :it had to eliminate Britain,before the US would (directly or indirectly) intervene,and before the SU could (directly or indirectly ) intervene.
But,how to eliminate Britain ? Sealion was out of the question,the Battle of Britain was lost,the Blitz was lost,the Battle of the Atlantic was lost,sending Rommel in NA with a few divisions to chase the mirage of the mythical oil fields ?
For Hitler,the only option was to eliminate the SU in a short Blitzkrieg (Germany could not afford a long campaign),hoping that this would force Britain to give up .But,at the end of the summer of 1941,this also failed,and,IMHO,this was the end.(or the beginning of the end)
February 28th, 2012  
BritinBritain
 
 
I don't see why Britain would give up if Hitler had defeated the Soviets. While its true that more troops could have been posted to Western Europe, don't forget once territory had been gained, it needs holding.
February 28th, 2012  
MontyB
 
 
I doubt they would have given up as the balance would not have changed from that of 1940, the British could not have crossed the channel to retake Europe and Germany could not have invaded Britain although I do think a negotiated peace would have been the final outcome.
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February 28th, 2012  
42RM
 
It is very hard to know if it would have been better for Great Britain to make a peace with Germany in 1940, but my personal opinion would be no. It would have been a wholesale sell out of all of Europe. The Munich Appeasement proved he was never satisfied and by backing off and becoming isolationist, Britain would just be helping him on his way. Making peace with a tyrant is never much of a solution. Once he's dealt with his other enemies, it's a sure bet that he'll be back for another go at you.
February 29th, 2012  
Trooper1854
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
You know what?
I think there is far too great a tendency to blame Germany's defeat on Hitler, there is no doubt he was a poor strategist but there were multiple reasons for Germany's defeat.
.
I was re-reading this thread, and this comment made me stop and think.
There is alot written pointing the finger at "Hitler, the NAZIs, the SS the Gestapo" as the cause of the war and what happened in Germany and occupied countries.
Yes, these people and organisations were evil, but there is, in my opinion a lot of finger pointing by people just as guilty, within the Greater German nation.
Now I know the SS by mid war was a "Foriegn Legion" of sorts, recruiting from all nations, but the vast majority were still German, and I think there has a lot of "It was the NAZIs/SS" in the whole appology thing.
I have seen film footage and photographs of HEER, Luftwaffe, and Police units involved in the round up and mistreatment of people deemed undesireable by the regime.
When I watch documentaries, and entertainment films, the word NAZI seems to replace "German".
The main antagonist in Europe was Germany, a Germany under control of the NAZIs, a mainly German political movement. but, to me there seems to be a movement to de-Germanise the war.
Any thoughts?
February 29th, 2012  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trooper1854
I was re-reading this thread, and this comment made me stop and think.
There is alot written pointing the finger at "Hitler, the NAZIs, the SS the Gestapo" as the cause of the war and what happened in Germany and occupied countries.
Yes, these people and organisations were evil, but there is, in my opinion a lot of finger pointing by people just as guilty, within the Greater German nation.
Now I know the SS by mid war was a "Foriegn Legion" of sorts, recruiting from all nations, but the vast majority were still German, and I think there has a lot of "It was the NAZIs/SS" in the whole appology thing.
I have seen film footage and photographs of HEER, Luftwaffe, and Police units involved in the round up and mistreatment of people deemed undesireable by the regime.
When I watch documentaries, and entertainment films, the word NAZI seems to replace "German".
The main antagonist in Europe was Germany, a Germany under control of the NAZIs, a mainly German political movement. but, to me there seems to be a movement to de-Germanise the war.
Any thoughts?
I am not so sure it is an "apologists" thing as much as it is a method of separating good from bad, it allows people to assign and at the same time avoid blame for barbaric acts while still being able to put forward an honourable face in the modern world.

Bad acts = Nazi's, Hitler etc.
Good acts = Wehrmacht, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine etc.

As Der Alte said in another post it says a lot about the way we think and I find it a very interesting dichotomy.

What I find just as interesting is that the Allies adopted a forgive and forget attitude very early on toward the Germans, so much so that my father came home from Europe (1945) with nothing but praise for the German army yet you do not find the same attitude towards the Japanese who fought just as hard and committed the same atrocities, it has only been in recent years there has been recognition of the Japanese doggedness in the Pacific.
February 29th, 2012  
BritinBritain
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
What I find just as interesting is that the Allies adopted a forgive and forget attitude very early on toward the Germans, so much so that my father came home from Europe (1945) with nothing but praise for the German army yet you do not find the same attitude towards the Japanese who fought just as hard and committed the same atrocities, it has only been in recent years there has been recognition of the Japanese doggedness in the Pacific.
My view on this. The vast majority of Japanese troops were savage bastards, while the vast majority of German troops were not. One only needs to read accounts of Nanking as to the savagery of the Japanese. Yes there were horrendous acts carried out by certain units of the German Army, including murder, the vast majority of German troops were in my opinion honourable men who fought with honour and treated POW's properly. Yes there are exceptions such as the Gestapo interrogation and murder of Allied POW's and treatment of Soviets taken prisoner, but then again Soviet treatment of German POW's wasn't exactly proper either.

There are stories of American aircrew shot down and rescued by the Japanese, only to be thrown overboard with weights tied to their ankles and thousands of stories of Japanese mistreatment of POW's.

There are many stories of chivalry between Allies and Germans, very few if any between the Allies and the Japanese.

I lost two family members during WW2, one on the Sandekan Death March and the other was a rear gunner on Lancs who died when his aeroplane was shot down. I hold a deep hatred for the Japanese, but none for the Germans, for the simple reason the one who died on the Sandekan death march was murdered in cold blood and subject to horrendous cruelty before he died, while the one who was a rear gunner died while fighting, he stood some chance of coming home alive. He and his crew were buried with full military honours, while my uncle on the Sandekan march was thrown in a hole somewhere along the route of the march.

The German nation has apologised for their part in WW2, the Japanese haven't, they still to this day deny they did any wrong doing.
You will never convince me that the Japanese deserve the same respect as the Germans. It was a pity that Allied POW's weren't removed from Japan and then bombed Japan until it sank.

My 2 cents worth
February 29th, 2012  
Der Alte
 
The idea of collective responsibility and collective superiority served the Germans well during the initial victorious stages of the war. German soldiers killed many hostages in reprisal for attacks against the Wehrmacht, they committed many atrocities. At the end of the war, when the war fortunes changed, the German changed the rules, the collective responsibility was substituted with individual irresponsibility. Individually the Germans did not know about the atrocities or could prevent them. The Germans were not responsible for the atrocities they did not commit, the individual murderers were not responsible for all the murders committed on orders from above. An order cannot be refused. Suddenly each SS-man saved some inmates, each German had a Jewish friend.

One other thing must be added to complete the picture: in spite of the varied possibilities for information, most Germans did not know because they didn't want to know. Because, indeed, they wanted not to know. It is certainly true that State terrorism is a very strong weapon, very difficult to resist. But it is also true that the German people, as a whole, did not even try to resist. In Hitler's Germany a particular code was widespread: those who knew did not talk; those who did not know did not asked questions; those who did not asked questions received no answers. In this way the typical German citizen won and defended his ignorance, which seemed to him sufficient justification of his adherence to Nazism. Shutting his mouth, his eyes and hears, an accomplice too the things taking place in front of his very door. Knowledge itself was not a crime but the silence and acceptance of the crimes is a crime, at least in the moral sense.

It is true that the majority of Germans supported Hitler and accepted or tolerated his insanity and enjoyed his successes. It is also true that the Germans that opposed Hitler were helpless in an environment of a Totalitarian regime. The guilt of the German people lies in the fact that they placed submission to authority above civilized behavior, and did very little to sabotage the insane orders. Sabotaging the orders and simple behaving in a human way could have saved thousands of victims. The lack of response from the German public gave Hitler the green light in proceeding with his policies of terror, brutality and bloody conquests. The enthusiasm of the people, the wild cheering of the masses during the numerous parades, gave Hitler the consensus needed.

The tragedy lies in the fact that the German people participated actively or passively in the crimes, and kept silent, giving Hitler a green light to escalate the atrocities. In the film "The World at War" an interesting scene is shown: Two old women return home and viewing the total destruction of their homes, express anger at Hitler: "He promised us to conquer half of the world and this is what we got". They did not feel the responsibility for the mass destruction inflicted on Europe, by the German Luftwaffe. In another scene a German woman expresses outrage at the unnecessary, spurious bombing and destruction of Dresden. What about the destruction of Warsaw, Leningrad, London, this was not spurious, this was the outcome of war!

The rise of Hitler both crushed and coopted radical resistance movements in Germany. There was a remarkable and even dogged solidarity of Germany people behind the war effort. One telling story: the waterfront of Hamburg had for decades been a center of revolutionary politics in Germany — it was a base area of the Communist Party of Germany and in the early 20s, it has been a staging ground for a revolutionary uprising. But in World War II, when the British firebombing of Hamburg leveled this strategic military port, the dockworkers jumped into action and restored the operations with an energy that the Nazis proclaimed as heroic.

Every German born before the war’s end has now reached retirement age. In other words, the entire war-era generation – even those who were infants on V-E Day – is now in retirement. It means all those running Germany now had, as documented by their birth certificates, nothing what so ever to do with World War Two. Their parents, grandparents or great grandparents who might have voted for Adolf Hitler in the last free elections in 1933 could still be held accountable, even indirectly, for the war, the Holocaust and Nazi crimes. But can Germans born after the war still be blamed for it? Should those born decades or even a half century later still be made to feel the burden of guilt? I think not. At the same time, they do carry the burden of them to some degree, simply by virute of the ‘bad luck’ of being born in Germany. I guess they have paid for the mistakes of their forefathers for more than 60 years by being outcast (mentally and emotionally) and embarrassed with questions like their opinion about WWII and (of course their apologies) whenever they go anywhere in the world.

Apart from remembering for the sake of the future, as long as there still are people who were victimized by the Germans, Germany as a country has a moral responsibility to do what we can to make amends to these individuals and I believe we have done this, and are continuing to do this with some digity. So much on guilt and responsibility, but how about shame?

Perhaps, one could argue, the Germans should feel ashamed rather than guilty. We choose not to identify with our country and its history. For any normal patriotic person outside Germany, this must seem very odd but for Germans it is quite normal. Many of us see our history as a list of facts rather than something to personally connect with. We choose not to identify with our country and its history. For any normal patriotic person outside Germany, this must seem very odd but for Germans it is quite normal. Many of us see our history as a list of facts rather than something to personally connect with. For me it is not just a question of should Germans feel guilty about what was done under the Nazi banner but all of us as human beings should be aware of how easily humans can forget their own humanity. Genocide makes us all base - both those who commit it and those of us who do nothing active to prevent it.

I think there are aspects of guilt (or should I say shame?) which can have a useful role. It shows that you feel some sort of remorse for what has happened. It also indicates a level of acknowledgement. If you then do something constructive with it - you are moving on from paralysis.

As result of the acknowledgement that much that the Germans did was deeply wrong, over the last 60 years Germany has completely turned around. It is now unquestionably a solidly democratic state and has been a huge motor for European integration which arguably makes a future war at the heart of Europe impossible. The German state is based on fundamental respect for a common code of human rights. For me this shows that good can come out of guilt and an awareness of our history.
February 29th, 2012  
Trooper1854
 
 
Der Alte, Thank you.
Your post has given me a greater insight into the matter.
February 29th, 2012  
42RM
 
I agree with Trooper.
Great post, very informative.
 


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