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What was the worst mistake made by Germany in WWII?

What was the worst mistake made by Germany in WWII?  

187 members have voted

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

    • Launching Operation Barbarossa
      107
    • 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
      21
    • Other... (add below)
      31


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26 minutes ago, Joe Rich said:

Hans, the Germans put their hopes in the early war years in their tactical airforce and large surface ships.  They did not see the need for long-range bombers like the B-17s, B-25s, and B-29 and subs.  They felt that the Bismark and other surface units could deal with the UK.  We know how that turned out for them.

   Take a moment and consider if they had taken a larger view of war like the Allies did.  What would have happened if they did have a B-29 bomber that could cross the Atlantic and hit North America?  What would have happened if they had decided to forget expensive capital ships and went 95% into subs and 5% into commerce raiders?  But I am glad it worked out the way it did.  

Germany also had a conceptual problem with "Who is i charge of an aircraft carrier?", which, given how their whole nation state was organised, should come as no surprise.Herman Goerring was in charge of the airforce, hence in charge of aeroplanes, AND he was Hitler's deputy therefore NOT someone you'd want to argue with. Gerrmany DID have a guy championing the idea of "small aircraft carriers", which in the latter half of the 20th century made a LOT of sense - probably more sense than the Bismark had. But he couldn't convince the navy to support him, nor could he convince Goerring. He did however get some support from the SS!

I live in the Isle of Man - OUR "navy" had the world's first aircraft carrier! I'm joking, We don't have a navy, but DID have a fleet of ferry boats that were commandeered during both World Wars for Royal Navy use. They put a flight deck on one of them during WW1, and produced the first "Aircraft Carrier". In WW2 they were instrumental in evacuating Dunkirk, in fact one in 14 of the thousands rescued were carried on an Isle of man Steam Packet ferry. Half of "our fleet" didn't survive the exercise, and I live about 50 yards from the monument to Manx sailors who died during the evacuation."MS Mona's Queen" was sunk on her third trip back to Dunkirk; her anchor is now the centre of the monument. (The explosion separated it from the wreck, so that it was deemed legally NOT to be part of a war grave, and able to be recovered.)

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Posted (edited)

I finally found the book with the quotation that I'd been looking for. I read it aloud to my wife, who asked "who said that? Churchill?" An interesting (and amusingly wrong!)  guess....

Quote

Britain can be counted upon to show the brutality and tenacity in its government, as well as in the spirit of its broad masses which enables it to carry through to victory any struggle that it enters upon, no matter HOW long such a struggle may last, or however great the sacrifice that may be necessary, or whatever the means that have to be employed; and all this even though the actual military equipment at hand may be utterly inadequate when compared with that of other nations.

In other words, "Don't mix it with the Brits, because no matter what it takes nor how long it takes, they WILL seriously fuck you up"

(The author, by the way was Adolf Hitler; the source "Mein Kampf".)

Edited by Ron Walker

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Ron, it is getting pretty common that you clear up my perception of WW 2.  It makes perfect sense that the Germans would think that way.  I can point out that the US had the same problem.  The US Air Force started out as

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2 minutes ago, Joe Rich said:

Ron, it is getting pretty common that you clear up my perception of WW 2.  It makes perfect sense that the Germans would think that way.  I can point out that the US had the same problem.  The US Air Force started out as

German politics, under Hitler, was remarkably unstructured. Hitler appointed a number of lieutenants, gave them each a job to do, and just left it up to them as to HOW the task was achieved.What each could achieve was dependant on their influence to the Leader. Made clearest in my view by the opening reports at the "Wannsee conference", where Heydrich hijacked Germany's racial policy, and unified it. The various Gauleiters reported on how good a job they were doing at achieving the aim of making their region (or "Gau") "Jew Free". Some had simply declared that a bunch of Jews within their feifdom were OFFICIALLY no longer Jews. Others were killing Jews by a wide range of means. Everybody was "doing their own thing"... because, at the top, that's how NAZI society worked.Dog-eat-dog social Darwinism. And it's "no way to run a railroad." Germany doesn't get the "little carriers" that could have made a significant difference, because the guy with the idea just lacks the political clout to get things done. Britain and to a lesser extent the USA were run along COMMUNIST lines (as Churchill himself commented.) Central planning, central command of production and labour...In the UK government even intervened in furniture and clothing design, halted the inclusion of fragrance from soaps...The UK had what it termed "the Office of Bright ideas" - private citizens who thought they'd had a brilliant idea, could write in.  share their idea with the government, who would give it serious consideration and rewarded ideas that really WERE good. Result, (because of central planning) there was streamlining of product development, and minimal duplication; towards the end of the war, when Germany really NEEDED proximity fuzes that worked, they had DOZENS of designs in development. The allies just had a few - that WORKED - because development resources weren't being spread so thin and squandered.

Back in the 1970's I was puzzled by Margaret Thatcher's admiration for Churchill, coupled to a certainty that "Communism DOESN'T WORK". How the hell did she think Churchill won?

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Ron,  England has always seemed to work with a central authority. The US has worked with a central authority pretty much from day one.  We just want to believe that each individual is important.  As efficient as the Germans were and are, they still seem to be missing the boat on that.  One thing I learned in the army was that if you want something done right and on time, you best have a central authority to make it work.  Noone over said the military is a free choice organization.  

  As a purely economic system, communism does not work.  But give the individual control over his actions, and see what happens.  But then it would not be communism.

   

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