Germany lost the war in 1940




 
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February 20th, 2012  
Der Alte
 

Topic: Germany lost the war in 1940


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.
February 20th, 2012  
Trooper1854
 
 
That is an interesting view.
I always believed it was when Germany started fighting on various other fronts, instead of concentrating on knocking Britain out of the war.
By getting involved in North Africa and the Balkans and Greece, to help out Italy, and then launching the attack on the Soviet Union, without obtaining a definate, outright victory, I always believed Germany over stretched themselves.
Another thing I always thought was a key, was the armed forces of Germany were not designed for a long drawn out war, especially the Luftwaffe which was seen as airborne artillery for the army and possesing no long range strategic bombers at the outset of the war.
February 20th, 2012  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
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.
While I can see merit in the argument and I do not disagree with your points I am going to disagree with your conclusion.

Just for fun lets take Russia out of the picture all together make it Sweden, it is still supplying Germany with raw materials and oil but it isn't going to attack Germany and vice versa, with the full weight of the German Army, Navy and Air Force focused on defending the gains of 1939-1940 could Britain and the Commonwealth have ever regained a foothold in Europe personally I don't think so, sure the RAF would have done there thing but eventually the losses there would have eventually become crippling.

The only outcome in this scenario in my opinion is a stalemate, the RAF and RN preventing Germany from crossing the Channel to attack Britain and the Luftwaffe and a very powerful army (not bogged down in Russia) preventing Britain from landing in France.

So yes mistakes were made at Dunkirk and yes it gave Hitler an aura of invincibility but no it wasn't a turning point in the war as the result in the West had been achieved with or without Britain being conquered as Britain could not successfully roll back Germany gains without US resources and the Russians tying down 2/3 of the German armed forces.
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February 21st, 2012  
BritinBritain
 
 
In my opinion (for what it's worth), Germany began to lose after the Battle of Britain. The RAF was badly mauled but undefeated and with the strength of the Royal Navy at that time an invasion of Britain would have proven impossible. With the invasion of Russia and Hitler declaring was on the USA, it was all over bar the shouting.
February 21st, 2012  
42RM
 
Quote:
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.
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.
February 21st, 2012  
Trooper1854
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 42RM
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.
Once Hitler took over from the high command, he became too involved as a supreme commander.
The modern term is "Micro manage"
He wouldn't just give the orders for an offensive, but he would give orders down to a tactical level, such as the placement of machine gun position, troop tactics etc, reducing his field commanders to nothing more than messengers.
The only way for commanders to exploit situations in combat was to disobey direct orders, and hope his gamble worked.
The role of Ultra was vital, most historians agree it took two years off the war.
If you ever get a chance to visit Bletchley Park, its well worth it. Such a fascinatining place, and sadly very run down, needing as much financial input as possible.
February 21st, 2012  
42RM
 
@Troop
Been there a few years ago. It is interesting place indeed.

My aunt was in the Political Warfare Executive during the war. She was involved in black radio broadcasts. She never told what she did during her service. As she said, it was secret and she could never reveal anything. That promise she kept.
February 21st, 2012  
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.

For example people refer to the Lotzen decision as the one that cost Germany the war in the East yet I personally can not find fault in Hitlers decision to send Guderian South rather than on to Moscow as the capture of Moscow would have left Army Group Centre in a huge salient with AG-North back at Leningrad and AG-South outside Kiev, if any mistake was made here is was Guderians insistence that he take all his forces South when they were not needed so there is a possibility that both objectives could have been reached.

The demise of the 6th Army at Stalingrad is another area Hitler takes the rap for, yet had the 6th Army withdrawn from Stalingrad while it could a sizable portion of Army Group A and B would have been trapped in the Caucasus and that would have been a far greater loss than that of the 6th Army, as it was they only just got back in time even with the sacrifice.
Once again in my opinion while harsh Hitler's decision was the right one with respect to the over all situation.

Overall while I do not consider Hitler a great soldier but the decisions people seem to attack him over are possibly some of the few he actually got right and had the likes of Goering been more realistic in their abilities, Paulus not stopped for a 2 week rest outside Stalingrad allowing the city to be defended and von Richthofen not thought it was a great idea to bomb Stalingrad to rubble prior to the assault on the city thus turning it into a defenders paradise things may well have turned out differently for the 6th Army.
February 21st, 2012  
Der Alte
 
The analysis of Adolf Hitler as a military leader has revealed a very complicated man who placed his own self-interests above his country, its people, and the rest of the world. Millions of people would die from his quest for lebensraum and the world would again go to war. Hitler was convinced that he, and he alone, was capable of restoring Germany to her rightful place among other nations throughout the world. Hitler’s early success in the war, against the advice of his generals, served only to verify his belief that he was indeed a true military genius. As the war lingered on, however, his leadership began to falter.

Hitler could have been stopped in his tracks if Britain, France, and the rest of the world had not stood idly by and allowed him to gain the confidence he needed to continue his expansion to the west. The world’s tolerance of Hitler’s actions, therefore, reinforced his self-esteem as a military leader and allowed him to implement his opportunistic strategy one step at a time. Hitler’s repeated violations of the Treaty of Versailles should have indicated that he had more in mind than just protecting Germany’s sovereignty.

Hitler’s strengths as a military leader and the contributions he made to Germany’s war effort cannot be overlooked. His phenomenal memory and keen eye for detail enhanced his ability to comprehend technical matters and problems with armaments. His extraordinary ability to assess the advantages and flaws of military weaponry resulted in major improvements in German tank and warship designs. Hitler’s technical insight was even more remarkable due to the fact that he did not have a technological or industrial background. Hitler was not only an avid reader of military history, he also kept himself well-informed of his enemy’s capabilities such as current weapon systems development and war production figures—admirable characteristics of good military leadership.

Hitler’s weaknesses, however, far outweighed his strengths. His mistrust of his military leaders made him suspect their recommendations and only served to strengthen his conviction that he, and he alone, knew what was best for Germany. This lead to his intricate involvement in military matters down to the minute detail. He failed to allow his commanders in the field the freedom to make decisions based on their experience and knowledge of the battlefield. Hitler’s military leadership was hampered by his lack of experience in commanding troops in the field which impaired his ability to assess and analyze a military situation from the viewpoint of a seasoned military officer.

Hitler’s decision making process was marred by procrastination and failure to involve his military leaders in matters of strategic importance. He was often secluded and did not approach problems in a logical manner—in fact just the opposite. Once he reached a decision on an issue, he would search for facts to support his decision. His greatest flaw in this area was his determination that his decision was final, therefore making it was almost impossible to change his mind even if the facts supported a different solution.
February 21st, 2012  
Trooper1854
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 42RM
@Troop
Been there a few years ago. It is interesting place indeed.

My aunt was in the Political Warfare Executive during the war. She was involved in black radio broadcasts. She never told what she did during her service. As she said, it was secret and she could never reveal anything. That promise she kept.
Where I live is where the BBC moved to during the war.
They set up a radio station to broadcast black propaganda to Germany at a place called Chicksands.
Today Chicksands is an Army Intelligence, Green Slime, base.
There is a book called:The Bedford Triangle: U.S. Undercover Operations from England in World War 2.
Its a very interseting book about the whole of the secret war, but also about how the Allies set up a radio station that seemed like a legitimate station to the Germans, but was a way of feeding them the Allied version of events.
 


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