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.
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.