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Wednesday, July 12, 2017
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Joris

Which battle was the turning point in World War II in Europe??

Tell us what you think!  

235 members have voted

  1. 1. At which battle did the tide of war change against Nazi Germany?

    • Battle of Britian
      54
    • Battle of Stalingrad
      117
    • Battle of Kursk
      24
    • Normandy Invasion
      37
    • Operation Torch
      2
    • I do not vote in polls
      1


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25 minutes ago, Ron Walker said:

Throughout the war, Germany was continually wrong-footed because it believed the skilfully created lies fed to its own "intelligence network" by Britain's "Twenty Committee". And - unlike Germany - The Brits WERE able to check if their tricks WERE working - because they were "reading Hitler's mail".

The Soviets ran similar networks, such as 'Max and Morris' in the west and Sorge's in the east. 

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10 hours ago, George Collins said:

The Soviets ran similar networks, such as 'Max and Morris' in the west and Sorge's in the east. 

Clearly, you're not a WIlhelm Busch fan (there's a rather good small museum devoted to his work in Hannover). That would be "Max und Moritz", initially a 19th century series of seven illustrated poems about two badly behaved lads. As a name purloined for an intelligence network, it was initially an Austrian based operation, that later got absorbed by Germany. But "SImilar" to the XX Committee? Not really on the same scale. Despite an endless stream of fictional works, Information between the UK and Germany was pretty much 100% controlled by British Intelligence.If Germany knew something (or rather, THOUGHT that they knew something) then it was because it was being spoon fed to them. They HAD no agents in the UK - they just thought that they had!

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Ron Walker said:

Clearly, you're not a WIlhelm Busch fan (there's a rather good small museum devoted to his work in Hannover). That would be "Max und Moritz", initially a 19th century series of seven illustrated poems about two badly behaved lads. As a name purloined for an intelligence network, it was initially an Austrian based operation, that later got absorbed by Germany. 

I'm not aware of the 19th century poems, but I am aware of Ricard Kauder - yes, an Austrian Jew, - who was formally on Canaris's staff, while run by the notorious NKVD operative Sudoplatov. He was actually stationed in Sofia, Bulgaria for most for the war. I don't think that anybody can make a definitive call on what spy network was the most effective. What's remarkable about Kauder is that he would be also instrumental in supplying Ben Gurion with the Czech made weaponry in 1948.

Edited by George Collins

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On 12/1/2017 at 10:00 AM, Joris said:

Looking back at World War II in Europe, what was the moment the war was lost for Germany? 

If you want to tell us about your choice, so much the better!

 

I will preface this by saying I am no expert in the field, by no means a tactical or strategic genius of any kind, but these are just my thoughts and opinions. They should be valued at what you paid for them, but it is so very nice to have stumbled across this venue and I couldn't wait to get my feet wet, as it were.

========

Shit! This is a hard one! I think the greatest gift we (The Allies) had was the fact that Hitler was Oberbefehlshaber der Wehrmacht to be quite honest. In the end he was worth several Divisions to us, and several dozen Divisions to The Soviets. But if I had to pick one it would be between The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and Operation Barbarossa.

 

Pearl Harbor because that was the genesis for Germany declaring war on us (The United States), which was one of Hitler's biggest mistakes, and in his particular case that is saying something. Before the declaration of war against America, it was, for all practical purposes, a one front war; the Ostfront. Oh, there was the usual saber rattling in the west, and to be sure the air war over Britian was very real, especially for the innocent victims thereof; but it wasn't (at that time) a ground war in Europe, and all that that entails. It never ceases to amaze me that Hitler, who never kept any pacts he made with anyone, chose to keep the one he had with Japan! Oh, I know, he expected Japan to jump off against Russia; but that, in my estimation, was nowhere near adequate enough a reason. Japan's Imperial ambitions were not in invading The Soviet Union, but in expanding their sphere of influence in the Pacific. America was the only country then, and I would posit even today, that was capable of successfully prosecuting a 2 ocean war. So, Pearl Harbor as the cause of Germany's declaration of war against America ranks right up there.

 

Having said that, I must also say Barbarossa was ill conceived in the long run. Hitler's (indeed OKW's) complete contempt for the quality of Soviet troops and officers was swayed, I feel more by arrogance than what they saw in Finland; and it cost them dearly in the long run. Stalin, however Machiavellian he may have been, was no dummy. When required, he gave his General's there reign and let them do the actual planning without much interference. He was brilliant in that regard.

 

The German's firm belief the war would be over by Christmas and they'd be triumphant masters over a tame Soviet Union informed too much of their planning. The debacle of denuding Army Group Center of it's armor and SP Artillery to run up and assist Army Group North, just as AG Center was on the outskirts of Moscow will go down as one of the biggest Tactical and Strategic mistakes of modern warfare! In the Soviet system, destroying or capturing Moscow would have been tantamount to cutting the head off of The Hydra. They were unprepared for the weather, or the circumstances.

And then, to confound the stupidity, they ran roughshod over the Ukrainians!!  When the Germans first entered The Soviet Union, many people saw them as Liberators! Come to rescue them from the yolk of Communism! There was genuine good will there, and if it had been exploited and encouraged, the dividends it would have paid would have been incalculable! Even with Die Endlossung they would have had willing help from the locals; whose antisemitism was on a par with Nazi doctrine. But the race theorists, of whom Hitler was Chief, went about their usual foolishness and turned the population against them. Hitler's asinine insistence on no surrender, no retreat, and just declaring every town, village and city a "Festung" that was to be defended to the last man and last bullet needlessly wasted so many lives, and so much equipment, that they were never able to make up for it.

 

Anyhow, I realize this is far from comprehensive but just my random thoughts at 01:49 on a Friday morning. I look forward to responses, good and bad; my ego is not fragile.

 

In balance,I guess it was Barbarossa after all that was the beginning of the end for Germany.

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10 hours ago, BunkerGearGal said:

Japan's Imperial ambitions were not in invading The Soviet Union, but in expanding their sphere of influence in the Pacific.

Don't forget that the Japanese and the Soviets had been already fighting in the Far East when Wehrmacht invaded Poland. By annihilating the 6th Japanese Army at Khalkin Gol, RKKA coerced the Japanese to concede and stay out of the fight.

10 hours ago, BunkerGearGal said:

Stalin, however Machiavellian he may have been, was no dummy. When required, he gave his General's there reign and let them do the actual planning without much interference. He was brilliant in that regard.

Stalin was very much hands-on, especially regarding personnel matters. His biggest blunder was appointing Zhukov as the Chief of General Staff in February 1941. Zhukov would be demoted at the end of July after spectacular RKKA collapse in East Poland.

 

10 hours ago, BunkerGearGal said:

In the Soviet system, destroying or capturing Moscow would have been tantamount to cutting the head off of The Hydra.

That's debatable. Capturing Moscow did not solve Napoleon's problems. In October - November 1941 Stalin was preparing to evacuate the government to Kuybyshev (presently Samara), where all the pertinent infrastructure had been already built for the eventuality.

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Excellent points, and information did not heretofore know, so I appreciate it. Genuinely I do, I am here to learn as much as anything else and value interactions like this.

Except for Stalin's personnel matters with his Generals, that I was aware of, and what I meant to say, but patently didn't, (and that's on me) is that, unlike Hitler, Stalin would listen to his General's Tactical and Strategic advice a lot more closely, and not interfere in it as much as Hitler did. At least, that is my understanding of things.

Still, for a 33 y/o woman whose 5 yrs of service saw me rise steadily to the lofty rank of E4, I do OK; arguably better than most in my particular cohort! LOL!

Really enjoying this site.

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18 minutes ago, BunkerGearGal said:

Still, for a 33 y/o woman whose 5 yrs of service saw me rise steadily to the lofty rank of E4, I do OK; arguably better than most in my particular cohort! LOL!

Awesome - or should I say Hooah?

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11 hours ago, BunkerGearGal said:

Excellent points, and information did not heretofore know, so I appreciate it. Genuinely I do, I am here to learn as much as anything else and value interactions like this.

Except for Stalin's personnel matters with his Generals, that I was aware of, and what I meant to say, but patently didn't, (and that's on me) is that, unlike Hitler, Stalin would listen to his General's Tactical and Strategic advice a lot more closely, and not interfere in it as much as Hitler did. At least, that is my understanding of things.

Still, for a 33 y/o woman whose 5 yrs of service saw me rise steadily to the lofty rank of E4, I do OK; arguably better than most in my particular cohort! LOL!

Really enjoying this site.

Given your thesis, I'm surprised that you didn't extrapolate it back to the Battle ot Taranto, where, in a night attack, Fairey "Swordfish" torpedo bombers of the Royal Navy effectively wiped out the Italian Navy.(With some help from the Italians themselves: the first ships to be hit sank in a navigation channel, and several others attempting to escape the confines of the port over-ran the sunken ships and tore open their own hulls) The Japanese were VERY interested and quizzed the Germans for more information - and for any information that they could provide about Pearl Harbour. Paradoxically, Germany loaned them the services of an agent who (unknown to the Abwehr) was a Double Agent for the British. Without Taranto, would there have been an attack on Pearl Harbour? Hard to say: it pretty much provided a "proof of concept" that a surprise air attack on a naval base CAN have devastating consequences for the ships based there. Before Taranto, that was merely theory. (Yes, Billy Mitchell proved that you can sink a battleship from the air.. BUT he demonstrated the concept using a completely static target, which wasn't attempting to defend itself or to evade the attack, so arguably not a valid proof of concept.)

I'm reminded of an interesting "thought experiment" of a book, called "The Foresight War".(Anthony G WIlliams) The basis of the plot is that at some point in the mind 1930's an expert of WW2 history awakes in London, having travelled back through time (it's never explained how; kind of like Hitchcock's "McGuffin".) The expert manages to get an audience with Henry Tizzard (later SIR Henry, who liaised with the USA on science and technology.) And using his mobile phone and scientific calculator to prove his bona fides as a genuine man from the future. Tizzard provides an introduction to government which forms a committee to pick the expert's brain. Meanwhile, in Germany, they have a "man from the future" of their own. So BOTH sides are being tipped-off, and assisted to avoid their worst mistakes.  Who wins? In such a thought experiment it comes down to "WHY are we fighting?". A combination of a desire for "Lebensraum" coupled to inherent racism is NOT a sufficiently good reason. The Germans treated the Ukrainans badly? OF COURSE THEY DID!!! It's part and parcel of WHY they were fighting the war.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Foresight-War-Anthony-G-Williams/dp/0755201566/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1532785828&sr=8-1&keywords=the+foresight+war

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My knowledge of Taranto, and the Japanese using it as a blue print/genesis for their Pearl Harbor attack were not known by me before you were kind enough to point it out. I will read further about it and greatly appreciate the heads up in that regard.

 

As well, "The Foresight War" is new to me, and I will make a point of finding a copy and reading it. Again, it would appear, I am in your debt.

 

Hating a group of people, being racist towards them and treating them badly can, I would posit, be mutually exclusive. You can give the appearance of treating them well, and USE THEM for your ends while still having complete and utter contempt for them and plan for their eventual annihilation down the road after you have extracted every last bit of use out of them you can. 

An interesting premise too. If The German's had a man of the future guiding them, it may have worked out better for them . . . had they heeded his advice. To my mind Hitler made far more mistakes than The Allies did and would come out better in such a scenario.

 

While I understand that you find condescending to me to be required, and even I will admit partly warranted; I hasten to point out that I have not claimed to be an expert. Far from it. And I meant what I said, I do genuinely appreciate the knowledge I have learned from this interaction with you, and will pursue it so as to widen my understanding of the subject matter.

 

Pace vobiscum

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Posted (edited)
On 7/28/2018 at 10:23 AM, Ron Walker said:

In such a thought experiment it comes down to "WHY are we fighting?". A combination of a desire for "Lebensraum" coupled to inherent racism is NOT a sufficiently good reason. The Germans treated the Ukrainans badly? OF COURSE THEY DID!!! It's part and parcel of WHY they were fighting 

I’m not sold on the popular reference to “Lebensraum” to explain everything. Mein Kampf was written about two decades before Barbarossa. Hitler’s letter to Mussolini explaining why Wehrmacht ended up in Ukraine was written in June 1941. Not a word about “Lebensraum” in that one from what I recall. So, the reasons for fighting that particular war and the reasons for mistreating Ukrainian population may very well have been different and contradictory. And by the way, the letter to Mussolini explains the reasons for launching Barbarossa much better than the “combination of a desire for “Lebensraum” coupled with inherent racism.” 

Edited by George Collins

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1 hour ago, George Collins said:

I’m not sold on the popular reference to “Lebensraum” to explain everything. Mein Kampf was written about two decades before Barbarossa. Hitler’s letter to Mussolini explaining why Wehrmacht ended up in Ukraine was written in June 1941. Not a word about “Lebensraum” in that one from what I recall. So, the reasons for fighting that particular war and the reasons for mistreating Ukrainian population may very well have been different and contradictory. And by the way, the letter to Mussolini explains the reasons for launching Barbarossa much better than the “combination of a desire for “Lebensraum” coupled with inherent racism.” 

Comes down to whether you're a "Whig" or a "Tory" in your view of how history work Is it that "Great men" CREATE the waves which we call "history", or are they merely "surfers" who ride on an already existing wave and thereby become more visible, exaggerating their apparent importance? The methodology of Hitler's control over policy and the Nazi state is nebulous. Rather than giving directions, he rewards those who accurately anticipate his wishes. Approval by the leader was an asset beyond price: it made you untouchable, AND someone that others wanted to please. Aside from Mein Kampf, what evidence is there to support even the idea that Hitler KNEW that Jews were being exterminated? Some of the most detailed evidence relating to the Holocaust comes from the transcript of the Wannsee Conference, where Heydrich appeared to hijack Germany's racial policy and make official that "the final solution" was to be extermination rather than enforced deportation to Madagascar. The conference began with A series of very senior officials - Gauleiters - summing up the interpretation and implementation of racial policy in the region over which THEY exercised control. It rapidly becomes clear from the transcript that it was a complete shambles, each Gauleiter was "doing his own thing".On top of that, the SS were ALSO doing their own thing.  I was fascinated by a book written by the prolific German Social historian Hans-Peter Bleuel, called "Hitler, Fuehrer and Volk" which attempted to explain WHY the Nazis seemed to have such appeal to the German people. How did they sell murderous racism to the best-educated nation in Europe? Bleuel suggests that they didn't. A big part of the appeal of Nazism was that it seemed NOT to be particularly organised. New ideas being "thrown against the wall to see which ones would stick". Constant surprises. Certainly not a top-down structured system. Examining Nazi economics shows a similar story. The allies were tightly organised, the Germans were anything but.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Ron Walker said:

Aside from Mein Kampf, what evidence is there to support even the idea that Hitler KNEW that Jews were being exterminated?

I stopped reading after this one. I have to assume that you intentionally conflate Holocaust denial (of any shape, form or fashion) with the point I am making just to win an argument, not because you are somehow missing my point by this much. And of course, there are volumes of documentary evidence from Nuremberg Trial clearly demonstrating the chain of command from Hitler on down with respect to the extermination of the Jews. Again, "Lebensraum" was not mentioned in anybody's testimony about the development of Barbarossa, as far as I recall.

Edited by George Collins

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On 12/5/2017 at 4:25 AM, CharlesHouston said:

Ok - Normandy. Now that was a skirmish in comparison to battles on the Eastern Front but it marks when the Axis was fighting on two fronts - both of which had a flat path to Berlin. We were fighting in the Balkans and in Italy but they were both a long way from the German heartland and the Allies had a lot more serious obstacles to overcome. With the Russians coming from the East and now the rest of the Allies coming from France, Germany could not field enough people to defend it's homeland. 

 

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