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Old September 17th, 2010, 01:18 PM   #1
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Stalin's second option, after Stalingrad

A Polish-American friend sent me a message (in Polish) containing an interesting speculation (see my summary below). Is there any evidence that Stalin was indeed considering the described option?



Reply in private, if you prefer. My email address is kowalskiL@mail.montclair.edu



But replying on this forum is likely to be more productive; I am a nuclear physicist, not a historian.



Thank you in advance.



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It was clear to Stalin, after the battles of Stalingrad and Kursk, that Hitler would probably welcome a ceasefire at his Eastern front. That would be beneficial to both countries. Hitler would move all the resources to the West and Stalin would gain time to prepare for future confrontations (developing new technological weapons, such radar, jet engine and atom bomb). Nazis would defeat England but would not be ready to attack the USSR immediately. If they did they would be defeated.



Churchill was well aware of this possibility. He and Roosevelt did everything to prevent this option. Concessions they made to Stalin in Tehran (1943) can be explained in this way.

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Is there any evidence of “bargaining about this” in Tehran, or elsewhere? Do available Soviet archives provide indications that the option was actually discussed by Soviet leaders?



Stalin’s 1939 pact with Nazis was designed to allow capitalists to weaken each other, and be ready to confront them later. Stalingrad, and other victories, provided the second chance to implement this strategy. Stalin certainly thought about this. But he probably decided that gaining control over Eastern Europe was more desirable.



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Old September 18th, 2010, 06:16 AM   #2
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Old September 18th, 2010, 08:49 AM   #3
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Old July 18th, 2011, 01:10 PM   #4
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It was clear to Stalin, after the battles of Stalingrad and Kursk, that Hitler would probably welcome a ceasefire at his Eastern front. That would be beneficial to both countries. Hitler would move all the resources to the West and Stalin would gain time to prepare for future confrontations (developing new technological weapons, such radar, jet engine and atom bomb). Nazis would defeat England but would not be ready to attack the USSR immediately. If they did they would be defeated.



Churchill was well aware of this possibility. He and Roosevelt did everything to prevent this option. Concessions they made to Stalin in Tehran (1943) can be explained in this way.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =



Is there any evidence of “bargaining about this” in Tehran, or elsewhere? Do available Soviet archives provide indications that the option was actually discussed by Soviet leaders?



Stalin’s 1939 pact with Nazis was designed to allow capitalists to weaken each other, and be ready to confront them later. Stalingrad, and other victories, provided the second chance to implement this strategy. Stalin certainly thought about this. But he probably decided that gaining control over Eastern Europe was more desirable.



Ludwik Kowalski (Ph.D.)

Professor Emeritus

[/quote]



After their victory at Stalingrad, and defeating, with the help of the Russian winter and massive American Lend Lease supplies, the German central offensive against Moscow, and relieving the siege on Leningrad, the Red Army was on-the-move against Germany. No such option would even have crossed Stalin's mind, IMO.



Although the USSR pulled out of World War I during the Bolshevist Revolution, by late 1943, they had the measure of the Nazi's and were rolling West. Hitler's 1939 pact with Stalin was a delaying tactic, giving the USSR half of Poland, a corrupt, bigoted nation at that time, whose government and military was quickly kicked in. There was no capitalist countries involved or fighting when the Nazi machine moved East and the USSR moved West against Poland in 1939. In fact, the starting point for the 1941 invasion of the USSR by Germany would have jumped off 250 miles closer to Moscow had there been no pact. The Red Army wasn't capable of defeating Hitler at that time. Their tactic was to fall back into the vast reaches of Russia, retool, retrain and supply their armies, and allow the German's territory they later proved they couldn't keep. Had Germany set off against Russia those 250 miles closer, Army Group Central would have overrun Moscow, and the USSR probably would have quit with the fall of their capital in 1941-1942. The pact came back to haunt Hitler.



What was discussed at Tehran, (Persia at the time) and later at Potsdam, was the evolution of the post war world, with particular attention paid to keeping the Soviet's out of Greece and Turkey, and by Turkish proxy, Persia. Their armies were already standing in strength on much of the territory of Eastern Europe, when, after the end of Germany, they tried to move on Greece and Turkey, Truman threatened them with war (and we had the atomic bomb, the Russian's hadn't completely developed theirs at the time). The USSR backed off, and Greece and Turkey remained in the Western NATO alliance. Tehran sacrificed most of Eastern Europe to the USSR, mainly because their armies already were standing on those lands. Only an American declaration of war against Russia, something nobody would ever have supported, might have moved the Soviets in 1945.



According to most military experts, at no time were the German's capable, even after the evacuation of the BEF troops at Dunkirk, of mounting a successful offensive on England, across the English Channel. The Royal Navy would have pulverized them, however, Hitler had thrown the dice in the past, his last minute approval of the armored blitz through the forest campaign defeated France and cut the British off at Dunkirk in 1940. The German General Staff, had they had a plan ready for defeating the British (something Hitler's heart really wasn't into, he always expected them to come to peace terms), in 1940, might have blockaded the channel and sent an invasion force across. Even German military historians are critical of this mistake, arriving at the channel in full victory, only to be stopped by a 40-mile long water ditch, and no plan to cross. Defeat of England would have allowed the Nazi's a full force attack against Russia, and America wouldn't have pitched in with Lend Lease to save just the Soviets with England out of the war.



The Royal Navy and the RAF would have made it a massive bloody affair, but using the U-Boats in the narrow English Channel possibly could have got a Nazi army onto English soil. The Brits had men, but had left all their weapons at Dunkirk, it was possible, but the German General Staff didn't have a plan and Hitler listened to Goering that his Luftwaffe air attack for terrorizing London and the British into submission and peace, would work. The British RAF was up to the challenge.



History rarely gives a conqueror a second chance. The Nazi's chance for defeating England was in 1940. After America came in, and the Lend Lease convoys started sailing, building up munitions and men in England than the USSR, no German effort would have succeeded against England. That is one of the reason's, Hitler moved against the USSR, he thought the British were finished. Churchill and Roosevelt had other ideas. Hitler's hatred of the Russian's and his "stand-or-die" order cost him his entire Army, three corps, when retreat from Moscow and Stalingrad would have saved almost a million soldiers to face the Red Army. He didn't want any negotiated settlement with the USSR, he wanted to destroy them, and Stalin totally. Stalin, of course, never would have gone for a peace settlement with Hitler while his Army was cutting the German's apart and winning the war........Stan
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Old July 18th, 2011, 07:55 PM   #5
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All sorts of fortunate events favored the Allies. Had Hitler listened to his scientists, the outcome of WWII would definitely been different. Had he waited, Germany would have been the first to develop jets, nuclear bombs, and the missile technology necessary to deliver them. A handful of nuclear-armed missiles lobbed at Britain quickly would have brought Britain to her knees. Ditto for the USSR.



Hitler defeated Germany.



And, since marrying a former Soviet citizen, the Lend-Lease program wasn't all it's cracked up to be in this country. Keep in mind, the average Soviet citizen had two enemies: Hitler and Stalin. The success of the Soviet military came on the backs of Soviet citizens. Millions upon millions starved. Millions upon millions were conscripted forcibly, and were thrown into battle mostly with the clothes on their backs and a Soviet gun in their hands. Yes, the unusually harsh winter of 1941 affected the Nazi armies. But, it affected the average Soviet citizen soldier too. Millions upon millions died.



The Lend-Lease program played a minimal role in stopping the German advance on Moscow, if any role. The same is true for Leningrad (St. Petersburg). The blood and determination of the average Soviet soldier was the deciding factor. However, all Soviet success was founded upon Soviet civilians suffering, and suffering greatly for several years.
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Old July 19th, 2011, 05:07 AM   #6
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All sorts of fortunate events favored the Allies. Had Hitler listened to his scientists, the outcome of WWII would definitely been different. Had he waited, Germany would have been the first to develop jets, nuclear bombs, and the missile technology necessary to deliver them. A handful of nuclear-armed missiles lobbed at Britain quickly would have brought Britain to her knees. Ditto for the USSR.



Hitler defeated Germany.



And, since marrying a former Soviet citizen, the Lend-Lease program wasn't all it's cracked up to be in this country. Keep in mind, the average Soviet citizen had two enemies: Hitler and Stalin. The success of the Soviet military came on the backs of Soviet citizens. Millions upon millions starved. Millions upon millions were conscripted forcibly, and were thrown into battle mostly with the clothes on their backs and a Soviet gun in their hands. Yes, the unusually harsh winter of 1941 affected the Nazi armies. But, it affected the average Soviet citizen soldier too. Millions upon millions died.



The Lend-Lease program played a minimal role in stopping the German advance on Moscow, if any role. The same is true for Leningrad (St. Petersburg). The blood and determination of the average Soviet soldier was the deciding factor. However, all Soviet success was founded upon Soviet civilians suffering, and suffering greatly for several years.


American Lend Lease supplies put the Soviet Union and the Red Army on wheels, tanks, trucks, aluminum to build aircraft, ammunition, rifles, food and medical supplies, and made it capable of fighting the German military which hit the Soviets with a three pronged hammer blow in the North (Leningrad), Center (Moscow), and South (Stalingrad), and a surge at the oil fields. A Russian General once told Eisenhower that the way he cleared a minefield was to walk a troop of soldiers through it. The courage of the Russian Army, in such harsh conditions and leadership, cut the heart out of the Nazi's on the Eastern Front.



America fights differently, expending material before manpower. The Soviets had the manpower advantage, and used it ruthlessly against Germany, much to their own individual soldiers and civilians discomfort and terror, but the "Mother Russia" slogan kept them fighting when things were darkest.



In his reign through 1953, it is estimated that Stalin killed as many as 20-million of his own countrymen, about 10 million lost in World War II. The citizens had no choice, it was fight or die, as Hitler's plan for the Slavic population of Russia was slave labor and death camps for all. The American aid might not have helped in ending Leningrad and the Moscow campaigns, where Hitler made his army "stand and die" or froze in the Russian winter, but overall, it made the Red Army a modern fighting machine.



Thousands of American Merchant Seamen and Marines died on the convoy routes to the Soviet Union. My uncle, in the Marines, made a surprisingly lucky eight trips aboard Lend Lease convoys with war material to Russia. Those convoy's were in German U-boat waters and under German air force sky for 900 miles at sea. The function of the Marine contingent aboard the convoy ships was to be sure that the crew didn't stop the ship to attempt to rescue survivors of torpedoed ships in the water. Doing so would automatically result in their ship being sunk also. The Marines kept the ships plowing through drowning soldiers from torpedoed ships to get those supplies to the Soviets and keep them fighting. Without Lend Lease supply from America and England, the Red Army wouldn't have been able to face the Germans as a modern fighting force. That they used the supplies well and fought the Nazi's as ruthlessly, and without quarter, for such a dictator as Stalin, is a tribute to their courage, and a rather surprising political story.



Hitler didn't defeat Germany, he had the Nazi war machine on the brink of winning the war, and late in the war used the German technological minds to build rockets, which were the forerunner of later nuclear ICBM's, the first jet fighter aircraft, which, had he produced them en masse, would have stopped the bombing of his cities and industry, and they came close to constructing an atomic bomb. America beat them to it, thankfully. The German U-Boat campaign almost cut the sea lanes between America and England, their boats were so superior to ours. What the Nazi's didn't have, and cost them the Battle of Britain in the air, was radar, until much later in the war. Their enigma machine, which deployed their U-Boats, the forerunner of modern computers, allowed for the "wolf packs" of submarines to almost close the Atlantic. Hitler was an Army man, and didn't really decide the U-Boat campaign could win the war for him. It was another of his mistakes.



Hitler was a military amateur, who guessed right on many occasions, and wrong too many times, interfering with his General Staff. Had he left it up to them, they might have won the war, it was a very close call. Churchill also was a military amateur, who convinced Eisenhower and Roosevelt of the "soft underbelly" campaign up through the Balkans and Italy, into Germany, would defeat the Nazi's quickly. General Marshal, Chief of Staff of the American Army, knew better, but got outvoted. American troops moved through Italy, but when they got into the mountains, they faced a determined German army which exercised a tactically superior fighting retreat from mountain to mountain, piling up American GI's and blood in some of the hardest fighting of the war. Fortunately for America, Roosevelt left the running of the war to "long heads" like General's Marshal, Eisenhower, Bradley, and Admiral King, while Hitler interfered with his military leaders, costing Germany many chances to win the war when England and Russia were very vulnerable, and America was screaming for retribution against Japan, whose war aim never was conquest of American soil, just supremacy in the Far East. Such is the history. Sea and Air power, coupled with a massive two-prong war against the Nazi's from the East (Russia), and the West (America and England), brought Germany to her knees and surrender, but it was desperate and deadly and very close. What the modern world owes those who fought in Russia and France is immeasurable, bringing down the Nazi's and their philosophy.....Stan
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Old July 19th, 2011, 07:36 AM   #7
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I think you made a good case for Hitler defeating Germany, Stan.
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Old July 19th, 2011, 07:49 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by imaginethat' timestamp='1311047733' post='342576

All sorts of fortunate events favored the Allies. Had Hitler listened to his scientists, the outcome of WWII would definitely been different. Had he waited, Germany would have been the first to develop jets, nuclear bombs, and the missile technology necessary to deliver them. A handful of nuclear-armed missiles lobbed at Britain quickly would have brought Britain to her knees. Ditto for the USSR.



Hitler defeated Germany.



And, since marrying a former Soviet citizen, the Lend-Lease program wasn't all it's cracked up to be in this country. Keep in mind, the average Soviet citizen had two enemies: Hitler and Stalin. The success of the Soviet military came on the backs of Soviet citizens. Millions upon millions starved. Millions upon millions were conscripted forcibly, and were thrown into battle mostly with the clothes on their backs and a Soviet gun in their hands. Yes, the unusually harsh winter of 1941 affected the Nazi armies. But, it affected the average Soviet citizen soldier too. Millions upon millions died.



The Lend-Lease program played a minimal role in stopping the German advance on Moscow, if any role. The same is true for Leningrad (St. Petersburg). The blood and determination of the average Soviet soldier was the deciding factor. However, all Soviet success was founded upon Soviet civilians suffering, and suffering greatly for several years.


American Lend Lease supplies put the Soviet Union and the Red Army on wheels, tanks, trucks, aluminum to build aircraft, ammunition, rifles, food and medical supplies, and made it capable of fighting the German military which hit the Soviets with a three pronged hammer blow in the North (Leningrad), Center (Moscow), and South (Stalingrad), and a surge at the oil fields. A Russian General once told Eisenhower that the way he cleared a minefield was to walk a troop of soldiers through it. The courage of the Russian Army, in such harsh conditions and leadership, cut the heart out of the Nazi's on the Eastern Front.



America fights differently, expending material before manpower. The Soviets had the manpower advantage, and used it ruthlessly against Germany, much to their own individual soldiers and civilians discomfort and terror, but the "Mother Russia" slogan kept them fighting when things were darkest.



In his reign through 1953, it is estimated that Stalin killed as many as 20-million of his own countrymen, about 10 million lost in World War II. The citizens had no choice, it was fight or die, as Hitler's plan for the Slavic population of Russia was slave labor and death camps for all. The American aid might not have helped in ending Leningrad and the Moscow campaigns, where Hitler made his army "stand and die" or froze in the Russian winter, but overall, it made the Red Army a modern fighting machine.



Thousands of American Merchant Seamen and Marines died on the convoy routes to the Soviet Union. My uncle, in the Marines, made a surprisingly lucky eight trips aboard Lend Lease convoys with war material to Russia. Those convoy's were in German U-boat waters and under German air force sky for 900 miles at sea. The function of the Marine contingent aboard the convoy ships was to be sure that the crew didn't stop the ship to attempt to rescue survivors of torpedoed ships in the water. Doing so would automatically result in their ship being sunk also. The Marines kept the ships plowing through drowning soldiers from torpedoed ships to get those supplies to the Soviets and keep them fighting. Without Lend Lease supply from America and England, the Red Army wouldn't have been able to face the Germans as a modern fighting force. That they used the supplies well and fought the Nazi's as ruthlessly, and without quarter, for such a dictator as Stalin, is a tribute to their courage, and a rather surprising political story.



Hitler didn't defeat Germany, he had the Nazi war machine on the brink of winning the war, and late in the war used the German technological minds to build rockets, which were the forerunner of later nuclear ICBM's, the first jet fighter aircraft, which, had he produced them en masse, would have stopped the bombing of his cities and industry, and they came close to constructing an atomic bomb. America beat them to it, thankfully. The German U-Boat campaign almost cut the sea lanes between America and England, their boats were so superior to ours. What the Nazi's didn't have, and cost them the Battle of Britain in the air, was radar, until much later in the war. Their enigma machine, which deployed their U-Boats, the forerunner of modern computers, allowed for the "wolf packs" of submarines to almost close the Atlantic. Hitler was an Army man, and didn't really decide the U-Boat campaign could win the war for him. It was another of his mistakes.



Hitler was a military amateur, who guessed right on many occasions, and wrong too many times, interfering with his General Staff. Had he left it up to them, they might have won the war, it was a very close call. Churchill also was a military amateur, who convinced Eisenhower and Roosevelt of the "soft underbelly" campaign up through the Balkans and Italy, into Germany, would defeat the Nazi's quickly. General Marshal, Chief of Staff of the American Army, knew better, but got outvoted. American troops moved through Italy, but when they got into the mountains, they faced a determined German army which exercised a tactically superior fighting retreat from mountain to mountain, piling up American GI's and blood in some of the hardest fighting of the war. Fortunately for America, Roosevelt left the running of the war to "long heads" like General's Marshal, Eisenhower, Bradley, and Admiral King, while Hitler interfered with his military leaders, costing Germany many chances to win the war when England and Russia were very vulnerable, and America was screaming for retribution against Japan, whose war aim never was conquest of American soil, just supremacy in the Far East. Such is the history. Sea and Air power, coupled with a massive two-prong war against the Nazi's from the East (Russia), and the West (America and England), brought Germany to her knees and surrender, but it was desperate and deadly and very close. What the modern world owes those who fought in Russia and France is immeasurable, bringing down the Nazi's and their philosophy.....Stan


General Norman Schwarzkopf would have agreed with you, Stan. Hitler (and Stalin) were just amateurs. He sort of lampooned Saddam Hussein in saying that he was a "great military man", when in fact, Hussein was not.
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Old July 19th, 2011, 08:42 PM   #9
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I think you made a good case for Hitler defeating Germany, Stan.


No, Hitler's mistakes didn't cost Germany the war, however, he interfered enough with the German General Staff, which had been running military operations for the country for 100-years, to make their job so difficult that it gave England a breather and his turn against the USSR, leaving a weakened, but not yet defeated foe, England, in his rear, is considered by most military strategists as his greatest mistake. Another two prong war - but the Nazi's came close.



Meanwhile, the German General Staff made war plans for invading Poland, The Netherlands, Belgium, France and the USSR. It never really had a plan to invade England. Sea Lion didn't account for the transfer of heavy ammunition at sea, and they didn't have any landing craft, the lack of them being the one item which kept the Allies from invading France for almost three years. Germany arrived flush in victory on the coast of France at the English channel, with the British Army stuck on the Dunkirk beach head, with no plans to get across to England.



Meanwhile, England threw together every floating vessel they had to evacuate their troops to fight another day, having no such plan to do so at hand. Had the German General Staff had one ready, Hitler probably would have authorized it, but the General Staff had a tendency not to look too far in advance, they really didn't think they could accomplish Hitler's orders so quickly and with such little resistance from the British and French. They were very surprised at their own success.



Mussolini in Italy was supposed to maintain the order along the Med coastline, however, jealous of the Nazi conquests, the Italians ruthlessly attacked and defeated Ethiopia, setting off the North African campaign's against the British, who easily defeated them there and in Greece. Hitler had to divert valuable armies and his best general, Rommel, with his Africa Corp. to fight the British along the North African coast, for useless territory. It brought the American's in also - with our invasion of North Africa, which General Marshal opposed, saying it would delay the attack against France by two years, and it did. The North African campaign pushed the Americans into Sicily, and eventually the American Army crossed into Italy, liberating Rome a day before the D-Day invasion of France. That army in Italy got bogged down at Anzio and in the Italian mountains against the fierce fighting retreat of the German's.



Hitler's "wonder weapons" didn't come into play until very late in the war. Although he didn't seem to know it, his best weapon, after his army, was the U-Boats. The German Air Force, with the Stuka dive bomber, modeled after the U.S. Navy Dauntless dive bomber off of carriers, was used for infantry support and to terrorize civilian populations. The excellent German fighter aircraft was used later in France and over England, but not the slow Stuka.



When Germany invaded Poland in 1939, the General Staff knew that France could send a million man army crashing through the Western border, and end Hitler's reign. Of all his enemies, however, Hitler understood the French military philosophy well. They had lost an entire generation in World War I to the German's and were stagnant and of a defensive mindset. The German panzer army rolled around their Maginot Line through Belgium and The Netherlands, cutting the French off from the British, and allowing Germany to conquer France in 1940. Much to the surprise and relief of the German General Staff. Hitler understood the French, and took the chance they wouldn't come out from the protection of the Maginot Line to attack a basically undefended border with their army. He guessed right, the General Staff was worried sick, they even kept postponing the attack on Poland, than France repeatedly, while Hitler wanted action. History tends to focus on Hitler's mistakes and ignore his success, and the General Staff didn't trust his ideas, which had a tendency to succeed quite frequently, particularly at the start of the war. As a politician, Hitler clearly understood Central European politics and was much smarter than his staff on political affairs, with a gift for military flair.



When Germany marched into Poland, it was only a thin line panzer attack that struck like lightning, leaping ahead of the troops. The heavy artillery of the army, which would batter down Warsaw and the Poles, was hauled into Poland - by horses. That is how unprepared the General Staff was for the war they had been planning for years. They didn't trust Hitler's judgment, but didn't question it. Sometimes he guessed correctly, sometimes incorrectly, but he didn't lose the war by those decisions, just made it very difficult for his army to operate like his "expert" General Staff wanted to, fortunately................Stan
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Old July 23rd, 2011, 04:04 PM   #10
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Boy,Stan. You and I could probably spend days on end discussing WW2. I agree with everything you said. I would just like to add that Operation SeaLion was never seriously contemplated by Hitler; who viewed the English as "necessary to world civilization". He ordered preliminary preparations for SeaLion, although he really expected the British to sue for peace.

Hitler wasn't totally stupid. He had lost much confidence in Hermann Goering's claim of air supremacy over the English Channel; and knew that even if he could land troops on English soil; they would be very hard to keep supplied- the reason for the defeat of so many armies before and since.

Poland was different. Hitler didn't have to think all that much about defeating Poland; who still had the "horse cavalry" mentality of 100 years prior and were woefully unable to withstand their rude introduction to blitzkrieg warfare. Poland's defeat was obvious after the first three days. Hitler pretty much kept out of the way of his General Staff; and let them carry out what they were trained to do- and they showed just how good they really were; and just how behind the times Poland really was.

It was in Barbarossa that Hitler started to step on his weenie. He tried to control every thing and would not listen to any reason from his generals. IMO, his very first mistake was trying to invade Russia on such a broad axis of three fronts. Germany didn't have the manpower or supplies to support this approach. He would have been better off to confine himself to one large thrust in the central sector (under Fedor von Bock) and be supported by the bulk of his panzer groups on the flanks. Germany did employ a similair offensive strategy that achieved great results early on.

I do agree that Hitler wasted too much time in lauching his attack against Russia. The one-month campaign "Operation Punishment" against Yugoslavia was really not needed. That delay would cost Germany dearly. IMO; Germany would have reached and attacked Moscow directly; instead of coming just short of it. I just doubt that Germany could have held Moscow; though.

Another huge miscalculation of Hitler's was that of the Soviet people. Germany was originally viewed as liberators by many Russians; and could have exploited that to a better outcome if they hadn't decided to adopt Hitler's view of the Slavic inferiority and the atrocities starting to percolate about the SS death squads.
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Old July 25th, 2011, 06:42 PM   #11
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Excellent post, and everything you wrote is true, particularly about the Russian Slavic population viewing the German's as liberators from the Stalin terror. They quickly found out what the Nazi's really had prepared for them, slave labor and death, to support the German war aims, and establish "breathing space" for the crowded population of Germany. Had Hitler won Russia, England would probably have had to sue for peace, he would have controlled the entire land mass of Europe, and only the British Navy would be able to stand against him. The U-Boats were a good match for the British Royal Navy. Churchill also made a huge blunder right after Pearl Harbor, by sending the huge British battleship's "Prince Of Wales" and "Repulse" to Fortress Singapore as a show of force against a move by the Japanese in Burma. The British sent these two magnificent battleships out to sea, without air cover, and the Japanese bombers sunk them both, leaving, with the destruction of most of the American Navy at Pearl Harbor, the American Air Force fighter's in the Phillipines at Clark Field, a clear path for a six month run in the Pacific. That only came to a halt with the surprising American naval victory at Midway.



Goring's air attack against Britain, particularly over London, didn't succeed for several reasons. Churchill kept the British in a fighting spirit; the Brits had radar to direct them right at the incoming fighters and slow German bombers, and London itself was at the far end of a teathered German Air Force, for fighters and bombers. They couldn't spend much time at all over the target before heading back over the channel or crashing for lack of aviation gasoline. Every German aircraft shot down over England or in the channel was lost with its crew and didn't fight again, while Britain's fighter's who bailed from flaming aircraft, were over home territory, rescued, and could go up and fight again. The British won the attrition fight in pilots and aircraft. The German's couldn't figure out the British radar defenses, known as Chain Home Command, and it kept England fighting long enough for America's Lend Lease supplies to reach and rearm her.



Once the American's got to England and started building up the supplies, England and the U.S. Army Air Force (8th), began bombing German cities, day and night without stopping, destroying industry, the German heavy water center for the development of nuclear weapons, and the civilian population as well to break their fighting spirit. Dresden was such an inferno that thousands died, not from the massive bombing raid the Allies executed, but from the huge fire which sucked all the oxygen into the flames, causing thousands to die by asphyxiation. One child who survived in the underground tunnels of Dresden was Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., author of the famous novel "Slaughterhouse Five," and a life long anti-war activist who participated in Anti-Vietnam war demonstrations against the bombing of North Vietnam, and particularly the use of napalm.



Stalin's invasion and surprisingly difficult fight early in the war to control Finland, probably saved Leningrad later in the war, keeping the supplies moving over Lake Lagoda, which the German's couldn't cut off. A huge hammer blow against the Soviets at the center, whille Leningrad was under seige for over 900-days, probably would have over run Moscow, but the Russian executed a "scorched earth" policy, leaving nothing for the Germans to use. They would have taken Moscow, but the government would have retreated farther into the huge Russian land mass and regrouped, particularly after American Lend Lease supplies began to arrive, and counter attacked.



That 500,000 man Southern Army that Zhukov surrounded at Stalingrad, which also was aiming for the Ploesti oil fields in Southern Russia, was ordered to "stand or die" and were all captured or destroyed. With a hammer blow at Moscow in the center, and using the northern and southern prongs of his army, instead of letting them be destroyed, Hitler had over a million men to place on the Eastern front to oppose the Soviets, and that didn't include those already engaged in the center thrust at Moscow. Might have changed the war. But, that's in the past. The three pronged German assault against the Soviets was succeeding, Hitler expected England to sue for peace at anytime, he never could understand why the kept fighting, and the Nazi's were winning. Telling the north and south armies to retreat and regroup wasn't in the German General staff's makeup, or Hitler's.



Meanwhile, the Germans, throughout the war, tied down hundreds of thousands of soldiers in the Final Solution to the Jews, dispatching them to their deaths, controlling the camps, running the railroads, etc. Had the Germans' not been such an anti-Semantic country, and used the brains and talents of their Jewish scientists, they would have developed the atomic bomb, and also released massive armies to fight in Normandy and the Eastern Front, thus winning the war, IMHO. Again, this idea wasn't in German's makeup, treating the Jewish population as citizens, and it cost them the war.........Stan
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Old July 25th, 2011, 10:08 PM   #12
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One thing history often overlooks is the fact that Germany had already developed nerve gas just before the outbreak of war. This could have been a decisive weapon had Hitler decided to use it. He was fearful of the ability of the Americans to also develop their own version of nerve gas and then use it on a vulnerable German population.
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Old July 26th, 2011, 04:56 AM   #13
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Boy,Stan. You and I could probably spend days on end discussing WW2. I agree with everything you said. I would just like to add that Operation SeaLion was never seriously contemplated by Hitler; who viewed the English as "necessary to world civilization". He ordered preliminary preparations for SeaLion, although he really expected the British to sue for peace.

Hitler wasn't totally stupid. He had lost much confidence in Hermann Goering's claim of air supremacy over the English Channel; and knew that even if he could land troops on English soil; they would be very hard to keep supplied- the reason for the defeat of so many armies before and since.

Poland was different. Hitler didn't have to think all that much about defeating Poland; who still had the "horse cavalry" mentality of 100 years prior and were woefully unable to withstand their rude introduction to blitzkrieg warfare. Poland's defeat was obvious after the first three days. Hitler pretty much kept out of the way of his General Staff; and let them carry out what they were trained to do- and they showed just how good they really were; and just how behind the times Poland really was.

It was in Barbarossa that Hitler started to step on his weenie. He tried to control every thing and would not listen to any reason from his generals. IMO, his very first mistake was trying to invade Russia on such a broad axis of three fronts. Germany didn't have the manpower or supplies to support this approach. He would have been better off to confine himself to one large thrust in the central sector (under Fedor von Bock) and be supported by the bulk of his panzer groups on the flanks. Germany did employ a similair offensive strategy that achieved great results early on.

I do agree that Hitler wasted too much time in lauching his attack against Russia. The one-month campaign "Operation Punishment" against Yugoslavia was really not needed. That delay would cost Germany dearly. IMO; Germany would have reached and attacked Moscow directly; instead of coming just short of it. I just doubt that Germany could have held Moscow; though.

Another huge miscalculation of Hitler's was that of the Soviet people. Germany was originally viewed as liberators by many Russians; and could have exploited that to a better outcome if they hadn't decided to adopt Hitler's view of the Slavic inferiority and the atrocities starting to percolate about the SS death squads.




Yes, I agree with this post. If Hitler would of remained allied with Russia, things would have definitely turned-out differently. I have never been clear on what happened between Russia and Germany that they eventually became enemies.
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Old July 26th, 2011, 11:14 AM   #14
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One thing history often overlooks is the fact that Germany had already developed nerve gas just before the outbreak of war. This could have been a decisive weapon had Hitler decided to use it. He was fearful of the ability of the Americans to also develop their own version of nerve gas and then use it on a vulnerable German population.


All the participants in World War II, except Japan, already had nerve gas left over from World War I, where it was used to devastating effect on the soldiers. It wasn't developed just before World War II. My great grandfather was gassed in World War I, but fortunately survived, otherwise, I wouldn't be posting........Stan
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Old July 26th, 2011, 11:32 AM   #15
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Yes, I agree with this post. If Hitler would of remained allied with Russia, things would have definitely turned-out differently. I have never been clear on what happened between Russia and Germany that they eventually became enemies.

[/quote]



Read "Mein Kamph" Hitler's book where he outlines, in his opinion, the two greatest evils facing the world, Judaism and Communism, and writes that it is necessary for Germany to obtain "breathing space" in the East in Poland and particularly against Russia. It was written while Hitler was in jail, in 1923, for his Munich Beer Hall conspiracy against the government. He outlines everything Germany needs to do to return to a world power. Eliminating the conditions of the Versailles Treaty, rebuilding the German Army, the Final Solution for the Jews, and attacking Russian in the East, for "breathing space" for the German population, after neutralizing Germany's natural enemy, France, in the West. The Polish and Russian population were to be exterminated to make room for German settlers in those two countries. He wrote it all down, everything he intended to do, and did, almost a decade before he came to power, and published it for all to read.......Stan
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Old July 26th, 2011, 01:15 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by nuttyjoe' timestamp='1311660482' post='343814

One thing history often overlooks is the fact that Germany had already developed nerve gas just before the outbreak of war. This could have been a decisive weapon had Hitler decided to use it. He was fearful of the ability of the Americans to also develop their own version of nerve gas and then use it on a vulnerable German population.


All the participants in World War II, except Japan, already had nerve gas left over from World War I, where it was used to devastating effect on the soldiers. It wasn't developed just before World War II. My great grandfather was gassed in World War I, but fortunately survived, otherwise, I wouldn't be posting........Stan
Are you sure that he was gassed with nerve gas, Stan? As I understand it; the old mustard gas- phosgene oxime- was what was in every participants weapons inventory. I'll get back to you with the exact timeline on the developement of nerve gas; but I'm sure that I'm correct.
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Old July 26th, 2011, 01:23 PM   #17
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Excellent post, and everything you wrote is true, particularly about the Russian Slavic population viewing the German's as liberators from the Stalin terror. They quickly found out what the Nazi's really had prepared for them, slave labor and death, to support the German war aims, and establish "breathing space" for the crowded population of Germany. Had Hitler won Russia, England would probably have had to sue for peace, he would have controlled the entire land mass of Europe, and only the British Navy would be able to stand against him. The U-Boats were a good match for the British Royal Navy. Churchill also made a huge blunder right after Pearl Harbor, by sending the huge British battleship's "Prince Of Wales" and "Repulse" to Fortress Singapore as a show of force against a move by the Japanese in Burma. The British sent these two magnificent battleships out to sea, without air cover, and the Japanese bombers sunk them both, leaving, with the destruction of most of the American Navy at Pearl Harbor, the American Air Force fighter's in the Phillipines at Clark Field, a clear path for a six month run in the Pacific. That only came to a halt with the surprising American naval victory at Midway.



Goring's air attack against Britain, particularly over London, didn't succeed for several reasons. Churchill kept the British in a fighting spirit; the Brits had radar to direct them right at the incoming fighters and slow German bombers, and London itself was at the far end of a teathered German Air Force, for fighters and bombers. They couldn't spend much time at all over the target before heading back over the channel or crashing for lack of aviation gasoline. Every German aircraft shot down over England or in the channel was lost with its crew and didn't fight again, while Britain's fighter's who bailed from flaming aircraft, were over home territory, rescued, and could go up and fight again. The British won the attrition fight in pilots and aircraft. The German's couldn't figure out the British radar defenses, known as Chain Home Command, and it kept England fighting long enough for America's Lend Lease supplies to reach and rearm her.



Once the American's got to England and started building up the supplies, England and the U.S. Army Air Force (8th), began bombing German cities, day and night without stopping, destroying industry, the German heavy water center for the development of nuclear weapons, and the civilian population as well to break their fighting spirit. Dresden was such an inferno that thousands died, not from the massive bombing raid the Allies executed, but from the huge fire which sucked all the oxygen into the flames, causing thousands to die by asphyxiation. One child who survived in the underground tunnels of Dresden was Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., author of the famous novel "Slaughterhouse Five," and a life long anti-war activist who participated in Anti-Vietnam war demonstrations against the bombing of North Vietnam, and particularly the use of napalm.



Stalin's invasion and surprisingly difficult fight early in the war to control Finland, probably saved Leningrad later in the war, keeping the supplies moving over Lake Lagoda, which the German's couldn't cut off. A huge hammer blow against the Soviets at the center, whille Leningrad was under seige for over 900-days, probably would have over run Moscow, but the Russian executed a "scorched earth" policy, leaving nothing for the Germans to use. They would have taken Moscow, but the government would have retreated farther into the huge Russian land mass and regrouped, particularly after American Lend Lease supplies began to arrive, and counter attacked.



That 500,000 man Southern Army that Zhukov surrounded at Stalingrad, which also was aiming for the Ploesti oil fields in Southern Russia, was ordered to "stand or die" and were all captured or destroyed. With a hammer blow at Moscow in the center, and using the northern and southern prongs of his army, instead of letting them be destroyed, Hitler had over a million men to place on the Eastern front to oppose the Soviets, and that didn't include those already engaged in the center thrust at Moscow. Might have changed the war. But, that's in the past. The three pronged German assault against the Soviets was succeeding, Hitler expected England to sue for peace at anytime, he never could understand why the kept fighting, and the Nazi's were winning. Telling the north and south armies to retreat and regroup wasn't in the German General staff's makeup, or Hitler's.



Meanwhile, the Germans, throughout the war, tied down hundreds of thousands of soldiers in the Final Solution to the Jews, dispatching them to their deaths, controlling the camps, running the railroads, etc. Had the Germans' not been such an anti-Semantic country, and used the brains and talents of their Jewish scientists, they would have developed the atomic bomb, and also released massive armies to fight in Normandy and the Eastern Front, thus winning the war, IMHO. Again, this idea wasn't in German's makeup, treating the Jewish population as citizens, and it cost them the war.........Stan
I agree with all this; but you got your oilfields mixed up. The Ploesti oil fields were (still are) in Romania; not Russia. They were already under German control; since Romanian strongman Ion Anonescu decided to join the Axis. I believe the oilfields you were referring to, Stan; were the Maikop and Baku fields which are both in southern Russia near the gateway to the Caucasus region.

You also got your translation a bit off also. What Hitler clearly laid out in "Mein Kampf" was the need for "living space" (not breathing space). He used the phrase lebensraum. But you are entirely correct that Hitler practicaly gave the world a blueprint of what was in store in his book Mein Kampf.(Translation- "My Struggle").
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Old July 26th, 2011, 01:46 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Stan Fan' timestamp='1311707698' post='343908

[quote name='nuttyjoe' timestamp='1311660482' post='343814']

One thing history often overlooks is the fact that Germany had already developed nerve gas just before the outbreak of war. This could have been a decisive weapon had Hitler decided to use it. He was fearful of the ability of the Americans to also develop their own version of nerve gas and then use it on a vulnerable German population.


All the participants in World War II, except Japan, already had nerve gas left over from World War I, where it was used to devastating effect on the soldiers. It wasn't developed just before World War II. My great grandfather was gassed in World War I, but fortunately survived, otherwise, I wouldn't be posting........Stan
Are you sure that he was gassed with nerve gas, Stan? As I understand it; the old mustard gas- phosgene oxime- was what was in every participants weapons inventory. I'll get back to you with the exact timeline on the developement of nerve gas; but I'm sure that I'm correct.

[/quote]The very first nerve agent was called Tabun. It was developed by Gerhard Schrader of IG Farber Industries in 1936; long after World War 1. It came out of research on insecticides done by the company.
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Old July 26th, 2011, 06:19 PM   #19
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I agree with all this; but you got your oilfields mixed up. The Ploesti oil fields were (still are) in Romania; not Russia. They were already under German control; since Romanian strongman Ion Anonescu decided to join the Axis. I believe the oilfields you were referring to, Stan; were the Maikop and Baku fields which are both in southern Russia near the gateway to the Caucasus region.

You also got your translation a bit off also. What Hitler clearly laid out in "Mein Kampf" was the need for "living space" (not breathing space). He used the phrase lebensraum. But you are entirely correct that Hitler practicaly gave the world a blueprint of what was in store in his book Mein Kampf.(Translation- "My Struggle").

[/quote]



You are correct on both counts. The gas used in World War I was mustard gas, cloride gas and tear gas, and those who were hit with the mustard gas suffered horrible burns, but defensive measures like the gas mask, were relatively easy to carry and standard once the German's started using the stuff. Out in the open, it wasn't that effective a weapon against troops. I doubt, however, that the Nazi's were worried about American technology developing the type of gas you describe. If it could kill, the German's would have used it. Is that the type that Hussein used against the Kurdish population, and is perhaps responsible for the - still denied by the U.S. Government as non-existent - Gulf War syndrome? If so, it would be considered a Weapon of Mass Destruction, and there was a major explosion at one of Iraq's refining locations during that war, with thousands of American's later reporting severe nervous symptom's and cancer's?



The Ploesti oil fields were the target of several 8th Army Air Force bombing raids during World War II, with devastating results to the airmen. They ran into an entire German fighter squadron that intelligence reported wasn't supposed to be in the area, but was, and shot the bombers to pieces. Hitler's southern move in Russia included an attempt to gain control of the Baku oil fields and the Caucasus region. That attempt ended with the defeat of his army at Stalingrad. I have been posting on memory, haven't read or taught modern European History in awhile, sorry for mixing up the oil fields.



As for "Mein Kampf" have to disagree with you there, but it is probably just a semantic disagreement. "Lebensraum" means "living space," and it is clear that Hitler is writing about the destruction and domination of Poland and Russia to gain "living space" for the German population. His points in "Mein Kampf" are very direct:



1. A massive re-armament of the German military.



2. Throwing off the conditions of the Treaty of Versailles, only possible with a re-armament of the German military.



3. Forming an alliance with the British Empire and Italy. That is why Hitler was always surprised the British never came to peace terms with their natural cousins, the German's, and why he didn't really have a plan, or the enthusiasm to defeat the English. In fact, the Poland that the German's invaded in 1939, was a corrupt, bigoted nation, Hitler and his General Staff were very surprised when the British and French declarations of war came in over the attack on Poland. Hitler always knew that England and France would march against him at some point, but he never expected it to be over Poland.



Another surprise came when the Russian army, under the authority of the secret pact between Stalin and Hitler, giving Russia half of Poland, without a fight, moved West against Poland. When informed that the Russian army was on the move, a senior member of the German General staff asked "Against Who?" Hitler kept that pact secret from his staff. The German Army had their "chop" lines, and they stopped halfway across Poland. Another of Hitler's mistakes.



4. War to crush Germany's natural enemy on the European continent, France, and her allies in Eastern Europe. One of the reasons he made quick military strikes against Czechoslovakia, which jutted into Germany's heartland, and Poland.



5. A hammer blow against the Bolshevik regime controlling the Soviet Union, to give the German population "living space" or "breathing space" either term means the same thing, which was the reason for the destruction of the Polish and Russian populations in the areas the German's conquered. He openly wrote that Germany's future had to lie in the acquisition of land in the East at the specific expense of Russia.



Hitler was afraid of an imagined Jewish Conspiracy which was attempting to control the world, with Germany being one of the most anti-Semitic countries in Europe, his job was easy. Conquering France, destroying European Jewry and the Soviet Union would bring world leadership to Hitler and Nazi Germany. Once that was accomplished, England would sue for peace because she would be left to stand alone in Europe, and America could be dealt with alone, without allies.



If England fell, doubtful if America would have become involved in Europe. Our enemy was Japan, one of Hitler's major mistakes was declaring war against America right after Pearl Harbor, and refusing to insist on quid-pro-quo of Japan declaring war against Russia. One of the strangest stories out of World War II, was American Lend Lease convoys sailing through Japanese waters unscathed, taking supplies to Russia. A Japanese invasion of the Soviet Union, right at the same time the German's were charging the gates of Moscow (remember the Japanese had conquered most of East Asia and China), might have brought the Soviets to their knees.



However one looks at the situation, the German's were a determined, dangerous, disgusting fighting machine under Hitler, and almost won the war. That Hitler outlined the entire program almost a decade before he came to power - amazing......Stan
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Old July 28th, 2011, 02:34 AM   #20
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I definitely agree with your whole assessment of Germany. They were a fanatical and determined fighting force. When they lost a battle; they usually gave better than they got.

One thing Hitler was totally ignorant of was America as a whole. Hitler (who had never before travelled outside of Europe) really couldn't understand America's industrial capacity or the power of her open media. Germany most definitely demonstrated her ability at war; but was ultimitely defeated by the industrial capacity of America as well as the harsh rules of Stalin towards the Russian commanders. In the latter stages of the war; Hitler often praised Stalin, and tried to copy some of the things Stalin had introduced- vicious as some of these ideas were.

One such tactic copied was the use of forces bringing up the rear of fighting units in battle to brutally enforce the orders of the High Command.. Any soldier found to be going in the wrong direction could- and would- be shot immediately. Germany used ss troops for this; Russia used her NKVD forces (predecessors to the infamous KGB. Another idea was the punishmentof a commander's family- by arrest or even death- for failure in battle. Barbaric to be sure; but fear was and still is a powerful motivator. Russia still does this.
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