Why was WWII different than WWI?

You can thank Hitler for being "crazy enough" to encourage such an "irresponsible" tactic, flying in the face of the military leaders that thought the ideas of Blitzkrieg were foolish. You can also thank him for ruining its potential by being a moron.
godofthunder9010 said:
You can thank Hitler for being "crazy enough" to encourage such an "irresponsible" tactic, flying in the face of the military leaders that thought the ideas of Blitzkrieg were foolish. You can also thank him for ruining its potential by being a moron.

Well y'see. Hitler wasn't crazy in the beginning and he was clever and insightful enough to recognize Guderian's theories for what they were. He had the vision to see what Blitzkrieg and combined arms could do when many seasoned generals like Gerd Von Rundstedt couldn't. He only began to lose his grip on reality when the situation on the Ostfront began to turn against him. Hitler was a very intelligent man and Guderian himself said so in his memoirs. Do you really think Hitler would have gotten away with leading the most efficient nation in Europe with perhaps the best led army in centuries if he was a moron?

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?

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.
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.
Ok guys, heres an essey of mine dealing with this subject for my AP Euro History Class. Comments are appreciated...

Although only separated by not even thirty years, the warfare of World War I and World War II were radically different. The innovation of the tank and the onset of the Blitzkrieg allowed WWII armies to win amazing campaigns without reverting to trench warfare, while the arrival of the airplane as a proven weapon of war would change the face of combat forever. However, despite these changes in tactics, the brutal simplicity of total warfare was echoed in World War II, just like it had been thirty years earlier.
The biggest difference between the First and Second World Wars came from the evolution of battlefield maneuverability and the onset of the Blitzkrieg. During the First World War maneuver inability plagued both Germany and France in the opening stages, and a system of trench warfare developed out of the draw they created. In trench warfare both sides created trenches in the ground in which they based their infantry, waiting for each other to make a move. This style of warfare was highlighted by suicidal charges through “No Man’s Land” (the area between the opposing trenches) and frequent gas and artillery attacks. Millions of lives were lost, and in the end neither side had a clear strategic advantage. Because of this situation, interwar thinkers like Sir Bassil Liddel-Heart and Heinze Guderian, capititilized on the idea of armored and mechanized warfare. They based their theories off the new innovation of the tank. Guderian reasoned that tanks, followed by infantry on trucks, could enter the enemy’s rear before a counter maneuver could be undertaken. Simultaneous blasts from artillery and airpower would then hit the enemy’s front and rear, while armor encircled the enemy. This new type of warfare, dubbed by the Germans as Blitzkrieg, or lighting war, was to become the basis for World War II combat. In Poland, Russia, France, and the Low Countries, whole armies were encircled and destroyed by the German Whermacht, which utilized its speed and firepower to avert the stalemate that lead to the trench systems in the First World War.
The emergence of fighter and bomber aircraft also helped to mold the image of the trenches of World War I into a new, bold type of conflict. At the start of the First World War, using an aircraft for anything other then reconnaissance was considered a war crime. By the end of the war, planes were dueling in the skies, but overall aircraft affected little on the ground. Interwar developments however allowed planes to become bigger and travel farther, and more and more took on the role as Bombers. During World War II, bombing was used to destroy German manufacturing capabilities in the Ruhr, allowing the British to stay ahead of the Germans in the material war. Bombing was also a very powerful tactical, as well as psychological, weapon. Before the Normandy invasions, General Field Marshal Gerd von Rudstedt convinced Hitler to position half his armored forces away from the beaches, to be used to attack the allies after they had established landings. However, most of these tanks were destroyed by overwhelming allied air superiority. Among the tanks knocked out, German Tiger #007, commanded by Iron Cross with Oak Clusters recipient Michael Wittmann, Germany’s “Red Baron” of Tank combat. For the remainder of the war, Germany was weary of moving its tanks in the open because of the allied air cover, severely limiting the Reich’s ability to counter the allied army’s thrust into Germany.
Although it is often highlighted that these wars differ, one element did not change at all, and perhaps even highlighted both wars. It is the concept of total war. First brought to Europe in the First World War, total war saw entire populations mobilizing for the good of the war effort. In both World Wars we saw that those who weren’t fighting were required to work in factories producing the weapons to wage such wars, and children in the streets collecting war materials. Rationing was also instated in both wars, and of course, propaganda played a huge role. During the First World War, nations used propaganda to portray the enemy as the “bad guy”, while their own cause and soldiers were portrayed as good. This propaganda machine was also very visible in the Second World War under Third Reich Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels. Goebbals championed the Third Reich as the savior of humanity, and reinforced the untersmensch vs. Aryan race philosophy, declaring that all non-Aryan people were to be eradicated. This horrible truth is that total war was an invention of the First World War, but was the creed of the second.

I know some spelling is wrong and I need a conclusion.
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.
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...