Why did WWII happen ? - Page 11




 
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April 12th, 2006  
Doppleganger
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ollie Garchy
Hey Doppleganger,

A couple of thoughts:

(1) I personally would not call any British policy "dark". More like realistic. Maybe I am just too "dark" or jaded by human history. I read an article recently that "uncovered" a "dark truth": the British military used Gestapo-style torture chambers in WWII to force confessions. My initial reaction was: "so what". I guess that I simply do not like the "fairytale" line of interpretation that lists German atrocities without putting anything in perspective. Older Germans (the guys who went through the war) generally have a much different perspective than the post-1945 generations. In a recent television depiction of Dresden, an old dude commented on the fire-bombing of German cities in 1945. He shrugged his shoulders and stated "it was war". That was all he had to say. The younger generations here in Germany actually argue that it was the moral thing to do. Killing German civilians, that is. I personally have a tough time with moral justifications, etc. It was war. Period. I do despise the "we had no choice" or "they started it" type of arguments, however. [Now comes the hard part..."War is the continuation of politics by other means"....oh oh. Maybe we should get rid of the conditions that lead to war or at least think about them.]

(2) Do you think that Europe could ever fight another major regional conflict like WWI or WWII? Has this issue been discussed in another thread? Some French friends of mine think that Germany will once again attempt to dominate Europe militarily. I tried to explain to them that their own bias concerning the origins of WWI and WWII was the primary factor behind their question. I just dryly told them: "Only if France wants one". They of course got mad and held closely to their bias and national myths.

What is Germany? Who in Germany wants war? Is Germany even capable of fighting a war? These French people were content with the kind of argumentation that helped destroy Europe in the first place: Germany reunified. Germany has industrial power (now that's a laugh). This power will lead to war. The traditional French perspective, and I am shocked by this, seems to reduce everything to a theoretical geopolitical calculation. It makes the mere possession of "power" the prime variable for an aggressive foreign policy. Ie. country "x" is dangerous because it seems to have "power". Now, that is crude and dangerous.

[On that note, I think it is high time for a British-German quasi-alliance. A better Europe should be led by the guys who pay for the damn thing, anyway. A British-Dutch-German axis around which Europe revolves. I say: "No more highways to nowhere in Portugal". I say: "No more French agricultural subsidies". I say: "A better energy policy that is not built on French nuclear technology". I say...well, you get the point...A better Europe is one with less French involvement. Does any of this have anything to do with WWII origins. No. I even (sort of) like France and some of the people who live there].
Hello Ollie.

Perhaps 'dark' was a little melodramatic when concerning British WW2 foreign (and other) policy. I suppose a better word would be selfish. It might have a little to do with the animosity that still exists between England and France, 2 ancient enemies. Until the rise of Prussia and Germany afterwards it was France, and not Germany, that was the principal enemy of England and later Britain. But France was left to fend for itself in June 1940 when it was clear that high loss of British life would result in any attempt to reinforce the French Army in the field. Indeed there were only 2 'British' divisions in France during May to June 1940 (the 52nd Infantry Division and the 1st Canadian Division), with only 1 more division slated to arrive (on June 20th). Sounds like a pretty half-hearted attempt to me.

Coming back to your question as to whether Europe will see another regional conflict on the lines of WW1/WWII it's a good question and one that deserves a thread of its own. I'm unsure whether this question has already been tackled but certainly it won't hurt to have another thread on the subject.

To Boris:

It wasn't just the Romanian 3rd and 4th Armies that faced the Kiev and Odessa Military Districts on June 22nd 1941. The Germans also had the 11th and 17th Armies and 1st Panzergruppe (later 1st Panzerarmee) deployed in that area, although it's true that 11th Army was delayed in deploying, which allowed local Soviet forces to go on a limited offensive in Galicia. However, this smacks of local Soviet commanders (for once) taking the initiative rather than them having actual offensive orders. Another thing to mention is that this was the one area of the front where the Soviet forces actually outnumbered the Axis forces invading them. Gerd von Rundstedt, commander of Army Group South, had 54 divisions whilst there were 68 Soviet divisions defending the area. Hitler's designs on the Ukraine were well known to Stalin.

The Romanian Armies themselves were, in truth, decently trained and led. The main problem with them was their general lack of armour and AT guns rather than any shortcomings of the actual men themselves. They were well motivated as well, but the delay of 11th Army allowed the Soviet forces in the area to do well for a time.
April 13th, 2006  
boris116
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doppleganger
.

To Boris:

It wasn't just the Romanian 3rd and 4th Armies that faced the Kiev and Odessa Military Districts on June 22nd 1941. The Germans also had the 11th and 17th Armies and 1st Panzergruppe (later 1st Panzerarmee) deployed in that area, although it's true that 11th Army was delayed in deploying, which allowed local Soviet forces to go on a limited offensive in Galicia. However, this smacks of local Soviet commanders (for once) taking the initiative rather than them having actual offensive orders.
Local initiative? Yeah, right!
There is a saying in the Russian Army: "Initiative is punishable"
Sure, the official doctrine is saying just an opposite...
However, it is very difficult to imagine that some local commander(who has known dozens of his comrads have disappeared in the previous few years) would do something he was not ordered to do.
Just one example - Nikolaj Kuznetzov - the CIC of the Soviet Navy. He had taken the initiative - he had ordered the high alert before June 22th. due to this, the Navy has not suffered during the initial bombing raides by the Germans and was able to attack Konstanca ...


In his memoirs he had described what kind of doubts he have had...
April 13th, 2006  
Doppleganger
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by boris116
Local initiative? Yeah, right!
There is a saying in the Russian Army: "Initiative is punishable"
Sure, the official doctrine is saying just an opposite...
However, it is very difficult to imagine that some local commander(who has known dozens of his comrads have disappeared in the previous few years) would do something he was not ordered to do.
Just one example - Nikolaj Kuznetzov - the CIC of the Soviet Navy. He had taken the initiative - he had ordered the high alert before June 22th. due to this, the Navy has not suffered during the initial bombing raides by the Germans and was able to attack Konstanca ...


In his memoirs he had described what kind of doubts he have had...
Unlikely as it was, it was more likely than the Soviet commanders having offensive orders, unless they had orders in an event of a German invasion to go on the offensive. The latter is far different from an actual Soviet first-strike policy.

I'm a pretty open guy Boris. Convince me by way of reasoned argument and supporting proof/documentation and I'm prepared to change my opinion. So far, you haven't come close to doing that.
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April 14th, 2006  
Ollie Garchy
 
 
Here is a link that leads to a recent review about a topic of interest. I disagree with the theory that Russia "defeated" Germany in 1941/ early 1942. This theory warps the realities of WWII (realities that are important in understanding origins):

1. The war became one of total war.
2. Industry operated as a major element of attrition.
3. The Allies ultimately used "brute force" in defeating Germany.

The theory is, however, interesting to a certain degree:

1. It underlines the lack of nazi military production and longterm planning.
2. It shows the importance of France 1940 in creating a "victory myth".

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main...09/bomain.html

What do you guys think?
April 15th, 2006  
boris116
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ollie Garchy
Here is a link that leads to a recent review about a topic of interest. I disagree with the theory that Russia "defeated" Germany in 1941/ early 1945. This theory warps the realities of WWII (realities that are important in understanding origins):

1. The war became one of total war.
2. Industry operated as a major element of attrition.
3. The Allies ultimately used "brute force" in defeating Germany.

The theory is, however, interesting to a certain degree:

1. It underlines the lack of nazi military production and longterm planning.
2. It shows the importance of France 1940 in creating a "victory myth".

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main...09/bomain.html

What do you guys think?
Did you mean 1941/early 1942?

I have, probably, missed your point, Ollie...

This article, IMO, has two points:
1. The West underestimates the Soviet contribution to the common effort(these is a favorite theme of my Russian friends. Some of them even preach that they have won the war alone. Last year, I have translated some excerpts from the famous work by S. E. Morison "U. S. Naval operations in the WWII" into Russian and posted them in the Russian-speaking forum. Some of the responses were like this: "These bastards have been vacationing in the nice Pacific islands when our fathers were saving the world!")
2. The Battle of Moscow is even more important then Stalingrad.

I couldn't find anything else there(I mean, any theory)
April 15th, 2006  
boris116
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doppleganger
Unlikely as it was, it was more likely than the Soviet commanders having offensive orders, unless they had orders in an event of a German invasion to go on the offensive. The latter is far different from an actual Soviet first-strike policy.

I'm a pretty open guy Boris. Convince me by way of reasoned argument and supporting proof/documentation and I'm prepared to change my opinion. So far, you haven't come close to doing that.
I have, probably, was not clear enough(well, English wasn't my first language, or even the second
What I was trying to say that there was a distinct possibility of such scenario.
So far, all the worst tales about the Stalin's regime(or almost all) have been proved correct.
Why this one should be an exception?
Why so many archives in Russia are still closed for the open research and war plans of the 30-s and 40-s are still classified?

The deception and lies were so common that it is impossible to tell outright which is what. If some documents are released, how to prove that they are not fakes?
April 18th, 2006  
Ollie Garchy
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by boris116
Did you mean 1941/early 1942?

I have, probably, missed your point, Ollie...

This article, IMO, has two points:
1. The West underestimates the Soviet contribution to the common effort(these is a favorite theme of my Russian friends. Some of them even preach that they have won the war alone. Last year, I have translated some excerpts from the famous work by S. E. Morison "U. S. Naval operations in the WWII" into Russian and posted them in the Russian-speaking forum. Some of the responses were like this: "These bastards have been vacationing in the nice Pacific islands when our fathers were saving the world!")
2. The Battle of Moscow is even more important then Stalingrad.

I couldn't find anything else there(I mean, any theory)
1. Sorry...1942...early 1945 was pretty much the end of German fighting cohesion. I personally tend towards the Kursk argument even though Moscow fits more solidly with my "Poor German 1930s Rearmament Theory". This is an issue of interest. If the argument is made that Germany was essentially defeated in 1941, and historians seem to come back to this one, then it is REALLY hard to argue that Germany developed a massive military-industrial infrastructure during the 1930s.

It is more logical to argue the following: Hitler armed in depth and not in breadth during the 1930s. (a reverse of the traditional view) Halder and the boys at OKW argued after the war that Germany was not prepared for a major war in 1939 or 1941. If you look at the production statistics, the levels of output correspond with OKW forecasts. That is, the German generals set 1944-45 as the completion date for rearmament.

Anyway, I hate the "breadth argument". How can you produce a large number of weapons systems without the industrial infrastructure to back it up? It is impossible. The point is simple: There is no massive German military organization in 1939 or 1941...massive in per capita terms or based on German productive capacities. Massive relative to Holland. Sure. But less than massive relative to France, Poland and especially the Soviet Union.

2. Soviet-Russia did take on the bulk of German ground forces. It is really hard to make the case that western actions in Afrika or later in Italy or even Normandy broke the back of the Wehrmacht.
April 18th, 2006  
Reiben
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doppleganger
Indeed there were only 2 'British' divisions in France during May to June 1940 (the 52nd Infantry Division and the 1st Canadian Division), with only 1 more division slated to arrive (on June 20)
That is incorrect.

I assume you are referring to British forces following Dunkirk.

The British order of battle following Dunkirk is two divsions:
1st Armoured
51st (Highland)

followed later in June by:
52nd (Lowland)
1st Canadian

By the beginnig of 1940 Britain had 10 divisions in France. At the time of the attack on France there was 10 divisions in 3 corps, but I understand that 5 were being formed, I think classed as GHQ reserve giving a total of 237,319 men.

What I dont know is how many divisions had any readiness in Britain during the battle of France, I suspect very few. I would be interested to know the answer. It takes time to train men into an effective fighting force. There were only 2 Canadian divisions in Britain.

British strategy, which was flawed enviaged a WW1 western front, which would allow sufficient time to build a strong army. Britain did not have a large army. Only in Feb 1940 did Britain decided to build a 55 division army.

Following Dunkirk it was simply not possible to requip and send those forces back to France. After all it takes time to equip a division with all its weapons,not sure how quickly division artillery can be made and delivered. A total of 198,315 British tropps were evacuated from Dunkirk when Dynamo officially ended on 4 June.

However it is important to remember Britains committments elsewhere in the world, which required British troops. At least 100,000 troops were based abroad at the start of WW2.

Having said all of that would have sending every British soldier made the difference? Perhaps the greatest difference between both sides is how they used their soldiers. When was an allied victory still possible once the Germans launched their attack in May 1940? I think it was probably not possible once the Germans cut France in two, when they reached the coast.

Overall your evaluation of Britains willingness in 1940 is harsh (from my view of the evidence). Britains major strength was in its navy and a blockade which had been successful in WW1 was thought at the start of the war that it would play a major role in WW2.
April 19th, 2006  
Doppleganger
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reiben
That is incorrect.

I assume you are referring to British forces following Dunkirk.

The British order of battle following Dunkirk is two divsions:
1st Armoured
51st (Highland)

followed later in June by:
52nd (Lowland)
1st Canadian

By the beginnig of 1940 Britain had 10 divisions in France. At the time of the attack on France there was 10 divisions in 3 corps, but I understand that 5 were being formed, I think classed as GHQ reserve giving a total of 237,319 men.

What I dont know is how many divisions had any readiness in Britain during the battle of France, I suspect very few. I would be interested to know the answer. It takes time to train men into an effective fighting force. There were only 2 Canadian divisions in Britain.

British strategy, which was flawed enviaged a WW1 western front, which would allow sufficient time to build a strong army. Britain did not have a large army. Only in Feb 1940 did Britain decided to build a 55 division army.

Following Dunkirk it was simply not possible to requip and send those forces back to France. After all it takes time to equip a division with all its weapons,not sure how quickly division artillery can be made and delivered. A total of 198,315 British tropps were evacuated from Dunkirk when Dynamo officially ended on 4 June.

However it is important to remember Britains committments elsewhere in the world, which required British troops. At least 100,000 troops were based abroad at the start of WW2.

Having said all of that would have sending every British soldier made the difference? Perhaps the greatest difference between both sides is how they used their soldiers. When was an allied victory still possible once the Germans launched their attack in May 1940? I think it was probably not possible once the Germans cut France in two, when they reached the coast.

Overall your evaluation of Britains willingness in 1940 is harsh (from my view of the evidence). Britains major strength was in its navy and a blockade which had been successful in WW1 was thought at the start of the war that it would play a major role in WW2.
Hi Reiben. Yes my bad, I did mean post Dunkirk.

I think the key thing you said was how each side used their forces. The French Army and BEF had more and better tanks but used them piecemeal rather than as a 'panzerfaust' as the Germans did. The heavy fuel requirements of the French Char B1 didn't help. Perhaps I am a little harsh as I think the Western Allied forces were simply shocked into defeat by the speed of the German panzers. Even though there seemed some opportunities for counter-attack (for example as a result of the speedy German dash to the Atlantic there was a huge gap between the leading panzer elements and their supporting infantry) the Allied forces were clearly not able to execute those, the Germans being much superior in terms of initiative, tactics and leadership. Also, the initial plan by Gamelin was a sound one by conventional military standards. No-one expected the Germans to burst from the Ardennes as they did, although Gamelin did leave a sizeable armoured reserve there just in case. It didn't work.

I stand by what I said regarding the British (and French for that matter) only being interested in an alliance because of a common enemy. Events after WW2 have tended to support that theory.
April 23rd, 2006  
Mohmar Deathstrike
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ollie Garchy
The point is simple: Why declare Hitler evil when you act the same way!

I am not pro-Hitler, I am an anarchist!
Me too
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rabs
Oh sweet jesus, I'd have more respect for you if you were pro-hitler hell pro-holocaust for that manner.
Haha. Would you rather live in a system were thousands of people are killed because of their ethnic or religious heritage rather than in one where noone really tells you what to do?