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Wednesday, July 12, 2017
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What was the worst mistake made by Germany in WWII?

What was the worst mistake made by Germany in WWII?  

184 members have voted

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

    • Launching Operation Barbarossa
      106
    • Not pulling out of Stalingrad
      12
    • Launching the battle for Kursk
      2
    • North African Campaign
      5
    • Invading the Balkans in the spring of 1941
      9
    • Let Dunkirk happen
      20
    • Other... (add below)
      31


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39 minutes ago, Ron Walker said:

Luftwaffe's only previous experience of the RAF was gained during the Battle of France.

Those were radically different types of operations. Luftwaffe was by and large designed as a tactical support air-force, and so it was relatively effective on the continent. The Blitz was a strategic bombing campaign, which Luftwaffe was simply not suited for. 

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In my mind it was definitely the launching of Operation Barbarossa.  It was a glaring example of blatant disregard for other nation's resources and capabilities by Hitler, who expected the entire thing to be over with in months.  Instead, he sent millions of troops into the East to attack one of his allies, causing conflict within the Axis powers and leaving Germany with the problem of facing war on two major fronts, which became a serious problem later on in the war.  The attack was also based partly on Hitler's views of the Slavs at the time, seeing them, like just about any other race, as inferior and needing correction.

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The two worst mistakes were:

1. Not making peace with Britain after the Fall of France. 

2. Declaring war on the United States of America.  

Qualification to point 1- if he had succeeded in making peace, by offering concessions the British cabinet could hardly refuse, then he probably would have achieved the war aims most critical to him: lebensraum in the east, i.e. the subjugation of Russia.  Peace in the West would have freed his hand for this goal at relatively little cost.  Thankfully, Hitler at the zenith of his power was too proud (and foolish) to offer the type of concessions that would have made the British listen.  Hitler viewed Britain as already defeated - big (biggest?) mistake. 

and to point 2 - if he hadn't declared war on the USA he may still not have won the war, but he might not have lost it either.  He could have fought to a stalemate and political solution.   

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Gerhard Meyer said:

And I did not use Google...lol

A couple of weeks back, I mistook one senior USAAF officer for another. One had been famous for showing that warships could be sunk by planes, the other was famous for transporting medium bombers to within range of Tokyo on ships, and infuriating the Japanese by bombing their capital city. Bombers... ships... Americans... easy to mix 'em up. But be sure that here on W.H.O., any mistakes will be spotted and commented upon...!

Edited by Ron Walker

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On 2018-04-12 at 2:38 PM, Gerhard Meyer said:

Oops, wrong war...sinking of the lusitania....lol

The sinking of the Lusitania, DID NOT force the US into WWI. A damn myth!

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The sinking of the Lusitania was a factor in the U.S. entering WW1, but so was Germany's attempt to ally with Mexico against the U.S.

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That makes more sense. Still, without trying to push Mexico into the war against the US, who knows if president Wilson would have declared war on Germany? 

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3 hours ago, Lindsay Westphal said:

But really.... Germany's worst mistake was electing Hitler.. !

I don't think he ever WAS exactly "elected", in the sense of gaining an absolute majority of votes. At the end of a number elections,he became the leader of the biggest party, and then staged a kind of coup d'etat. According to Berthold Brecht, writing at the time, the largest of the political parties which were committed to the idea of democracy all had their hands deep in the cookie jar, embezzling government funds intended to counteract the effect of "the Polish Corridor" (Which split-off East Prussia from the rest of Germany, to give Poland access to the sea) The market for goods made in East Prussia was obviously on the other side of that land barrier, so a government scheme called "Osthilfe" was established to subsidise them. And the regular politicians were stealing from that fund on an industrial scale. What a choice! Communist, Nazi, or embezzlers?

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Hitler's rise to total power after being in jail is worth paying attention to. Give the people something to hate, promise them everything, and destroy/kill all your opponents in a violent manner.  

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You forgot to mention the Wall Street Crash of 1929. It started it all. You might even say, that it was the US who kicked Hitler into power. No Wall Street Crash, no Hitler! 

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7 hours ago, Ron Walker said:

 What a choice! Communist, Nazi, or embezzlers?

The most interesting wrinkle is that there were actually 2 German federal elections in 1932. And, if in March, the Nazis won the majority with 37.3%, the following November their margin fell to just over 33%. And if the Communists agreed to form a voting block with the Social Democrats, their combined margin of over 37% could destroy the Nazi party, which was on the verge of bankruptcy at the time, according to Goebbels' diaries. 

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