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Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Joris

What was the worst mistake made by Germany in WWII?

What was the worst mistake made by Germany in WWII?  

148 members have voted

  1. 1. What was the worst mistake made by Germany in WWII?

    • Launching Operation Barbarossa
      82
    • Not pulling out of Stalingrad
      12
    • Launching the battle for Kursk
      2
    • North African Campaign
      5
    • Invading the Balkans in the spring of 1941
      5
    • Let Dunkirk happen
      17
    • Other... (add below)
      25


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Was it operation Barbarossa, a distraction in North Africa or the Balkans? Give us your views!

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Posted (edited)

I'm going to say one of the worst mistakes Germany made was The Blitz, causing Britain to intervene with them in the war which caused the Battle of Britain yet already being in a war with the US & Poland, the Germans lost the battle and lost a good chunk of their superior aircraft especially the BF-109's.

Edited by Shaheen

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For me it is invading the Balkans and thereby delaying the invasion of the Soviet Union. Now Nazi Germany didn't have enough time to complete their operations before the winter set in.

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12 hours ago, Shaheen said:

I'm going to say one of the worst mistakes Germany made was The Blitz, causing Britain to intervene with them in the war which caused the Battle of Britain yet already being in a war with the US & Poland, the Germans lost the battle and lost a good chunk of their superior aircraft especially the BF-109's.

Not winning the Battle of Britain was a big mistake for the Germans, but was it ever theirs to win?

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10 hours ago, Pieter said:

Not winning the Battle of Britain was a big mistake for the Germans, but was it ever theirs to win?

True, I had no idea what Hitler was thinking then, Can't underestimate the British!

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Hitler still hoped he could sign a peace treaty with them but that wasn't in the cards with Churchill in power.

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I voted for not abandoning the effort to take Stalingrad, as that refusal cost the Germans too much of what they could not afford to loose, and not just men and equipment on the ground, but also in the air.  That was the battle that broke the German back on the Eastern Front.

With respect to the Blitz, the Germans never focused on one objective.  Where they trying to soften up Southern England for an attempted invasion, where they trying to terrify the English into surrendering, where they trying to destroy the RAF, or where they just attacking for the sake of attacking.  One major problem for them was that in daylight raids, they could only attack southeastern England, as the Bf109 was too short of range for anything else.  While the night raids did a lot of damage, they could not really damage England's industrial base enough to make a difference.

With respect to the Balkans, it boils down to protecting the Rumanian oil fields and refineries.  Rumania produced about 25 to 33 per cent of Germany's oil, official sources give that sort of range, and with British Bombers in Greece, they were highly vulnerable once the USSR was attacked with Rumanian help.  Taking the Balkans and Crete kept the British Bombers out of range of the refineries.  Once the U.S. was in the war and had the long-range B-24 bomber available, that equation changed, as the refineries could be attacked from North Africa.

Starting the war in the first place was obviously the biggest mistake, but remember, Britain and France had already signed away Czechoslovakia, so for Hitler to actually believe that they would support Poland was a reasonable doubt.  Chamberlain's behavior over the Sudetenland and Czechoslovakia was such that Hitler could view a guarantee to Poland as a meaningless piece of paper.

As for Barbarossa. the Russian performance in the Winter War on Finland provided quite a bit of encouragement to the Germans to attack.  Against that, the German supply people did not think that they could supply the advances.  Reading the postwar staff studies done by the Germans at our request, as well as captured German staff studies and reports shows that the German High Command was not really paying attention to supply for the first two years.

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Maybe not the worst mistake but calling off the Kursk offensive would have made it a lot harder for the Soviets to reach Berlin. This could have given the western allies more time to reach Berlin. 

What if... :)

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    2 Things, One was Hitler's decision to split Army Group center on the way to Stalingrad. The other was to declare war on the United States of America,

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2 hours ago, Rangeme said:

    2 Things, One was Hitler's decision to split Army Group center on the way to Stalingrad. The other was to declare war on the United States of America,

You do have a very good point on the mistake of declaring war on the United States.  For Roosevelt to get a declaration of war against both Germany and Italy would have been a lot harder than the declaration of war against Japan.

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Agreed, declaring war on the USA really played into the Allies' hands. Now it is difficult to imagine how WWII would have played out had the USA only been at war with Japan for a while. 

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I think before that with the BEF and 400,000 men on the beaches of Dunkirk. Hitler halted the tanks etc as Herman Goring said that the Luftwaffe would destroy them on the beaches.

If the British army had been wiped out then he may have been able to force Britain to a truce or at worst a minor irritation then he wouldn't have needed so many troops on the atlantic side and concentrated on Russia, so not fighting effectively a two front war.

Also during battle of Britain when he stopped bombing the RAF airfields and started bombing the cities etc...The RAF were close to breaking point, the respite gave RAF time to reorganise and eventually win the Battle of Britain

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With 400.000 less British troops to worry about it would not have been necessary to invade Greece or North Africa because where would the Brittish get the manpower from to launch those operations?

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On ‎8‎/‎1‎/‎2017 at 2:25 PM, Timerover51 said:

You do have a very good point on the mistake of declaring war on the United States.  For Roosevelt to get a declaration of war against both Germany and Italy would have been a lot harder than the declaration of war against Japan.

although The Japanese were fighting the British as well with Britain being in Hong Kong and Singapore etc so the US would have been fighting on same side as Britain in that theatre so not a big leap to siding with Britain against Nazi Germany as well due to treaties etc

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2 hours ago, Robert Mortensen said:

although The Japanese were fighting the British as well with Britain being in Hong Kong and Singapore etc so the US would have been fighting on same side as Britain in that theatre so not a big leap to siding with Britain against Nazi Germany as well due to treaties etc

Fighting the Japanese with the British is far different than fighting the Germans and Italians with the British.  Considering that the destroyer USS Kearny had been torpedoed by a German submarine in the fall of 1941 and the USS Reuben James sunk by a German submarine on October 31, 1941, there was still very strong sentiment in the US not to get involved in another European War.  That did include a far number of Senators who were strongly isolationist.  FDR might have gotten a declaration of war through, but not without massive debate, and a clearly divided country.  There were no treaties that requires us to support the United Kingdom anywhere in the world prior to December 7, 1941.  Both General Marshall and Admiral Stark were horrified when FDR froze Japanese assets and ended all trade with Japan following Japan's taking over of Indo-China.  They wanted to avoid a clash with Japan at close to all costs, and felt that the US needed at least another year before we would be ready go fight anyone.

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allowing the Brits to escape the debacle that could have been Dunkirk was a losing proposition to say the least.  not only would the lost equipment been bad, but the lost manpower would have led to a truce at the least, and a win on the invasion.  this would have cleared the way for a later invasion of Russia, the battle in North Africa would have been won and the soft underbelly of Russia would have been fatally exposed. 

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The biggest mistake made by the Nazi's was commencing Operation Barbarossa before destroying or invading England. Had they successfully taken England, they could have invaded Russia fighting only on one front with their western flank secure from invasion.

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On 23/07/2017 at 8:41 AM, Joris said:

Was it operation Barbarossa, a distraction in North Africa or the Balkans? Give us your views!

Declaring war on the U.S. after Pearl Harbour.

Would have been great pressure on Roosevelt to stay out of Europe otherwise, but Hitler played right into Roosevelt and Churchill's hands.

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Rather simple; electing Hitler in 1932 was Germany's biggest mistake. All that followed, the fighting that is, is a result of his megalomania, dumb luck (initially) and almost complete incompetence as a "military" commander. Oh yes, torturing and killing those of Jewish descent along with anyone else in opposition didn't help the "cause" either. 

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Hitler had to approve all military actions.  He saw himself as a master militarist and made decisions that were fatal.  If he had left the military generals run the war, the allies would had a more difficult time winning.  He had some the most brilliant generals in the war that were many times handicapped by Hitler's own fatal strategies.  

Edited by J Regan Walters
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If Hitler had just left Russia alone, purchased what they needed from the oil fields, and finished one front at a time, he would have succeeded.  He made many strategic mistakes, but beginning another front with Russia spread his armies and supplies too thin to ever succeed.

"One dead man to a box" should have been his creed.

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