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Old 05-21-2011, 07:45 PM   #1
Whippersnapper
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Battles Which Shaped the Course of History.

List battles that you think would've had a most profound impact on human history had their outcome been different.


The Battle of Yarmouk in 636 AD.
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Although Yarmouk is little known today, it is one of the most decisive battles in human history...... Had Heraclius' forces prevailed, the modern world would be so changed as to be unrecognizable.[4]
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The Battle of Yarmouk (Arabic: معركة اليرموك‎, also spelled Yarmuk, Yarmuq or, in Greek, Hieromyax Ἱερομυαξ ) was a major battle between the Muslim Arab forces of the Rashidun Caliphate and the armies of the East Roman-Byzantine Empire. The battle consisted of a series of engagements that lasted for six days in August 636, near the Yarmouk River, along what is today the border between Syria and Jordan, south-east of the Sea of Galilee. The result of the battle was a complete Muslim victory which permanently ended Byzantine rule south of Anatolia. The Battle of Yarmouk is regarded as one of the most decisive battles in military history,[4][5] and it marked the first great wave of Islamic conquests after the death of Muhammad, heralding the rapid advance of Islam into the then Christian Levant.

In order to check the Muslim advance and to recover lost territory, Emperor Heraclius had sent a massive expedition to the Levant in May 636. As the Byzantine army approached, the Muslims retreated from Syria and regrouped all their forces at the Yarmouk plains close to Arabia where, after being reinforced, they defeated the numerically superior Byzantine army. The battle is also considered to be one of Khalid ibn al-Walid's greatest military victories. It cemented his reputation as one of the greatest tacticians and cavalry commanders in history.[6]“
The loss of the Levant, Egypt, and Syria to the Muslims created a downward cascade which concluded in the eventual fall of Constantinope in 1453 by Mehmed II. Had the overwhelming superior Byzantine force been victorious, they could've routed out or possibly destroyed most of Islam and been poised to conquer the entirety of the Middle East; especially since the Persian Empire was no more.

Less immediate effects would've been the prevention of loss of Anatolia to the Turks in the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, which crippled Byzantine military might. Regarding Manzikert:

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The result of this disastrous defeat was, in simplest terms, the loss of the Eastern Roman Empire's Anatolian heartland. John Julius Norwich says in his trilogy on the Byzantine Empire that the defeat was "its death blow, though centuries remained before the remnant fell. The themes in Anatolia were literally the heart of the empire, and within decades after Manzikert, they were gone." In his smaller book, "A Short History of Byzantium", Norwich describes the battle as "the greatest disaster suffered by the Empire in its seven and a half centuries of existence".[22] Sir Steven Runciman in Chapter 5 of Volume One of his "History of the Crusades" noted that "The Battle of Manzikert was the most decisive disaster in Byzantine history. The Byzantines themselves had no illusions about it. Again and again their historians refer to that dreadful day"
More importantly it would have secluded the need for the crusades, one of which resulted in the catastrophic Fourth Crusade.

The Fourth Crusade rendered the death knell upon the Roman Empire, as it was a blow from which they could never recover. Constantinople, prior to it's sack in 1203 by the crusaders, was the wealthiest city in the world with a diverse culture, and it also contained a vast amount of culture and art. The city was almost completely looted, it's intangible assets destroyed. Its sack by the crusaders rivals events such as the burning of the library at Alexandria as an immeasurable loss of both history and culture. While it would take another 250 years for Constantinople to fall, the state during this time was only a shadow of it's former glory.

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The great historian of the Crusades, Sir Steven Runciman, wrote that the sack of Constantinople is “unparalleled in history”.

“For nine centuries,” he goes on, “the great city had been the capital of Christian civilisation. It was filled with works of art that had survived from ancient Greece and with the masterpieces of its own exquisite craftsmen. The Venetians, wherever they could, seized treasures and carried them off. But the Frenchmen and Flemings were filled with a lust for destruction: They rushed in a howling mob down the streets and through the houses, snatching up everything that glittered and destroying whatever they could not carry, pausing only to murder or to rape, or to break open the wine-cellars. Neither monasteries nor churches nor libraries were spared. In St Sophia itself, drunken soldiers could be seen tearing down the silken hangings and pulling the silver iconostasis to pieces, while sacred books and icons were trampled under foot. While they drank from the altar-vessels, a prostitute sang a ribald French song on the Patriarch’s throne. Nuns were ravished in their convents. Palaces and hovels alike were wrecked. Wounded women and children lay dying in the streets. For three days the ghastly scenes continued until the huge and beautiful city was a shambles. Even after order was restored, citizens were tortured to make them reveal treasures they had hidden.
The loss at Yarmouk was a prelude to over one thousand years of religious warfare and the loss of one of the greatest civilizations in human history.

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Old 05-23-2011, 01:43 AM   #2
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Re: Battles Which Shaped the Course of History.

Battle of Pharsalus, if Pompey defeats Caesar
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Old 05-23-2011, 02:03 PM   #3
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Re: Battles Which Shaped the Course of History.

The Battle of Hastings
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Old 05-24-2011, 07:34 PM   #4
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Re: Battles Which Shaped the Course of History.

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The Battle of Hastings
Yes, yes and yes. The battle of hastings imported the Norman dynastic way into England (primogeniture for one thing). If that hadn't happened, and lets face it the Saxons were the favourites with the bookies, English history may have been a different kettle of fish. Perhaps the Spanish would've taken the north of the American continent?

I think the battle of Tours is a candidate for that kind of historical magnitude also.
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Old 05-24-2011, 07:42 PM   #5
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Re: Battles Which Shaped the Course of History.

Battle of Baghdad.

Spanish Invasion into England.

Both have enormous consequences if you think about it.


""Iraq in 1258 was very different from present day Iraq. Its agriculture was supported by canal networks thousands of years old. Baghdad was one of the most brilliant intellectual centers in the world. The Mongol destruction of Baghdad was a psychological blow from which Islam never recovered. Already Islam was turning inward, becoming more suspicious of conflicts between faith and reason and more conservative. With the sack of Baghdad, the intellectual flowering of Islam was snuffed out. Imagining the Athens of Pericles and Aristotle obliterated by a nuclear weapon begins to suggest the enormity of the blow. The Mongols filled in the irrigation canals and left Iraq too depopulated to restore them." (Steven Dutch)
"
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Old 05-24-2011, 07:49 PM   #6
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Re: Battles Which Shaped the Course of History.

The Battle of Tours 736 AD - Charles "The Hammer" Martel holds back Arabic armies from invading much of Europe
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Old 05-24-2011, 07:57 PM   #7
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Re: Battles Which Shaped the Course of History.

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The Battle of Tours 736 AD - Charles "The Hammer" Martel holds back Arabic armies from invading much of Europe
Of course. But try not to upset the PC brigade who think only the naughty Xtians went about crusading.
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Old 05-24-2011, 08:55 PM   #8
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Re: Battles Which Shaped the Course of History.

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Of course. But try not to upset the PC brigade who think only the naughty Xtians went about crusading.
Eh, history discussions of that sort are really tainted by post-1945 and especially post-2001 thought. The situation in Spain prior to the Crusades/Reconquista really doesn't fit the mold of even the later Crusades, because it was actually pretty rare for conflicts to be given explicitly religious overtones. Throughout medieval Spain after the breakdown of the Umayyad Caliphate, Muslims allied with Christians against other Muslims, and Christians allied with Muslims against other Christians. It wasn't until about the 12th century and after that the conflicts became primarily religious in nature, and even then, smaller Christian territories were often willing to side with Granada against Castilian and Aragonian expansion.
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Old 05-24-2011, 09:44 PM   #9
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Re: Battles Which Shaped the Course of History.

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The Battle of Hastings
Without this, no Chaucer, no Shakespeare, no Monte Python.
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Old 05-24-2011, 09:45 PM   #10
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Re: Battles Which Shaped the Course of History.

Yeah Turn Prophet; not sure why you quoted my post there though?

Anywho I dunno why you reckon it took to the 12thC for the religious to become beligerent. If we take muslims at their word, then Mohammeds decendents were hacking and slaying in the name of Allah as early as the 7thC. Of course they could just be making it up to look hard 'n all

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Old 05-25-2011, 01:14 AM   #11
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Re: Battles Which Shaped the Course of History.

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Yeah Turn Prophet; not sure why you quoted my post there though?

Anywho I dunno why you reckon it took to the 12thC for the religious to become beligerent. If we take muslims at their word, then Mohammeds decendents were hacking and slaying in the name of Allah as early as the 7thC. Of course they could just be making it up to look hard 'n all
Oh I wouldn't say religion wasn't belligerent before then. But the doctrine of a "holy war" as a casus belli was not particularly developed at the time. Islamic kingdoms fought wars for largely the same reason as other states at the time. Wars could be just or unjust, but they weren't "holy." Now, this isn't to say that war wasn't a great excuse to import Islamic culture and religion into conquered territories, but it wasn't a self-justifying process. Their expansion in this capacity was rather similar to Rome. Rome didn't like to be the instigator, but they'd take even a flimsy excuse to go to war, and once the war was over, it was time to import some good old-fashioned Roman culture. The introduction of monotheism (Christianity in the case of Rome, Islam in the case of the Arabs and Berbers) just made this process more volatile, since monotheism implies at its core that there is but a single "correct" way of living.
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Old 06-15-2011, 02:05 AM   #12
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Re: Battles Which Shaped the Course of History.

Battle of Stalingrad. Battle where Julius Caesar defeated the French barbarians. I'm fascinated by that one because it seems like it was almost going the other way until Caesar turned it around at the last moment, and to think of how much was hanging in the balance.
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Old 06-17-2011, 03:11 PM   #13
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Re: Battles Which Shaped the Course of History.

It is too easy to assume that a battle is more significant than it really was.

Sure history would have been different, but only in the details perhaps.

Battle of Tours - if the arabs win they will still be overextended going into Europe, and will be stopped at some point. It all comes down to where the lines between the two cultures happen to be. Does it matter whether the longer term dividing lines are east or west of Constantinople? north or south of Madrid? No, neither side will completely implode.

Battle of Hastings - it comes down to personalities. Maybe the descendents of Harold would have ruled in a similar fashion. William II, Henry I, Stephen (and his civil war), Henry II - could only Norman kings have had their record, good or bad? Geography of England has more to do with it than the results of Hastings.
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Old 06-18-2011, 09:21 AM   #14
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Re: Battles Which Shaped the Course of History.

'It is too easy to assume that a battle is more significant than it really was.'

Excellent point.

Another similar line of thinking is that the further in the past an event was, the less impact it has today, as there is more time for the deeper rooted eventualities to 'correct' for any single event, such as a battle.

Furthermore, a single battle is rarely significant in the eventual result of a war. Diplomacy, industrial capacity, and resources are usually more significant. For instance, its hard to imagine a different ending to WWII even if you changed the result of the battle of Stalingrad. Although perhaps a small argument can be made about the evacuation at Dunkirk.

A few single battles that arguably affected the outcome of a war with long ranging influences (ie if the battle had gone to the opposing army, a good argument can be made that the result of the war would have been significantly different, and the war mattered):

1st Battle of Ypres (and the difference is only magnified because of the very specific set of events that led to WWII)
Gettysburg
Trafalgar
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Old 06-19-2011, 12:53 AM   #15
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Re: Battles Which Shaped the Course of History.

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For instance, its hard to imagine a different ending to WWII even if you changed the result of the battle of Stalingrad. Although perhaps a small argument can be made about the evacuation at Dunkirk.
It has been argued by a lot of historians that Stalingrad was only important as a loss to Germans but wouldn't be as important as a loss to Russians. It is reasonable to assume that if Germans win that battle it wouldn't change the outcome of the war but would just prolong it for a year or two. Russians suffered a string of crushing losses in 41-42 but weren't close to exhausting their resources. They most likely they would have overcome defeat at Stalingrad just like they overcame losses at Kharkov operation and Rzhev offensive.
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Old 06-19-2011, 12:53 AM   #16
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Re: Battles Which Shaped the Course of History.

The Battle of Britain certainly fits the bill. While more a strategic campaign than a battle, British air supremacy over Britain prevented total German domination of Western Europe. Had British leaders been more foolish, and Herman Goering not been a buffoon WWII and history would have been drastically different.


More than Gettysburg though, the battle of Shiloh would be the civil war battle that could have changed the war the most. Grant's Union army was on the verge of collapse against a river, had reinforcements not been forthcoming, the entire Civil War may have changed. The west would have been secured for the confederacy and the career of Grant and Sherman permanently ruined. 1862 was the best year for the Confederacy to break free, before the Union fully mobilized for war. And Shiloh was a very near thing, could have easily ended in total Union defeat. ( where as Lee could have never won at Antietam )
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Old 06-22-2011, 11:03 PM   #17
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Re: Battles Which Shaped the Course of History.

The Battle of Tenochtitlan which culminated in an 80 day seige and the fall of the Aztec Civilization to Cortez.


The Aztecs surrendered on August 13, 1521. Supposedly, Cortes demanded the gold lost during La Noche Triste soon after. Cuauhtémoc was taken hostage and later executed.

Aztecs fled the city as the Spanish forces continued to attack the city even after the surrender, slaughtering thousands of the remaining population and looting the city. As this practice was generally not done in European warfare, it suggests that Cortes’s Indian allies had more power over him than he suggested. The survivors marched out of the city for the next three days. Almost all of the nobility were dead, and the remaining survivors were mostly very young children. Two-hundred and forty thousand Aztecs are estimated to have died during the siege, which lasted 80 days.

Months prior to the battle a smallpox epidemic decimated the cities population.

It is well accepted that Cortes’s Indian allies, which may have numbered as many as 200,000, were responsible for his success, though their aid was virtually unacknowledged and they derived little benefit. As there were several major allied groups, no one in particular was able to take power, and the person who benefited was Cortes.



Battle of Tenochtitlan:

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/...f_Tenochtitlan


-Zeno
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Old 06-22-2011, 11:42 PM   #18
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Re: Battles Which Shaped the Course of History.

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Originally Posted by Mandor_TFL View Post
The Battle of Britain certainly fits the bill. While more a strategic campaign than a battle, British air supremacy over Britain prevented total German domination of Western Europe. Had British leaders been more foolish, and Herman Goering not been a buffoon WWII and history would have been drastically different.
I would add that once it was clear that Britain would not just roll over, the Germans should have focused on taking the Suez canal. That would have put in place a set of circumstances which would have made Britain almost irrelevant for the remainder of the war.

1. Axis takes and controls Suez canal and Gibralter. Mediterranean becomes a virtual Axis lake, Britain has to go around Africa to provide support to Middle East, India, etc.

2. Germans continue from Egypt to invade and control the Middle East and Persia. At that point Turkey will be surrounded and will have no choice to at least allow land passage for Germany. Germany will have unlimited Oil Supplies. Germany will have control over the Balkans and Greece as Britain can no longer support their influence in those regions.

3. Germans will have Russia flanked from the South and will be in position to capture their oil fields once they decide to invade. Also, it would take less troops and attention to defend Europe as defenders could be concentrated along the coast lines.

Rommel and Guderian both saw these opportunities, but Hitler could not be convinced. Instead, Hitler ignored all prior success based on attacking where the enemy was weak emplying mobile tactics, in favor of direct, head on attacks which became battles of attrition on the Eastern Front.
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Old 06-22-2011, 11:45 PM   #19
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Re: Battles Which Shaped the Course of History.

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It has been argued by a lot of historians that Stalingrad was only important as a loss to Germans but wouldn't be as important as a loss to Russians. It is reasonable to assume that if Germans win that battle it wouldn't change the outcome of the war but would just prolong it for a year or two. Russians suffered a string of crushing losses in 41-42 but weren't close to exhausting their resources. They most likely they would have overcome defeat at Stalingrad just like they overcame losses at Kharkov operation and Rzhev offensive.
I agree with you. I am also convinced that at the very point in time Germany committed to attacking Stalingrad, a German win on the Eastern Front was no longer a possibility.
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Old 06-23-2011, 12:21 AM   #20
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Re: Battles Which Shaped the Course of History.

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Originally Posted by Francis M.H. View Post
The Battle of Tours 736 AD - Charles "The Hammer" Martel holds back Arabic armies from invading much of Europe
today there are doubts that it even was an invasion.


Milvian Bridge
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_...Milvian_Bridge

Would christianity have become the dominant religion in europe if constantine had lost? we will never know.


The two sieges of vienna
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Vienna
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Vienna

if the osman empire had won, central europe would have been open to them.

The Battle of Azincourt
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Agincourt
Why? The battle meant the end of the european knighthood. (1. many of them were dead after the battle 2. it showed how ineffective they have become vs more modern weapons)

Asculum 279
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Asculum_(279_BCE)
Why? Because it left us this awesome quote "One more such victory and we shall be undone" or "One more such victory and we will have lost this war"

in general: the more i think about it the more i get the impression that single battles are pretty unimportant today.
or: the more developed the two societies fighting the war are, the less important is the outcome of a single battle. discuss

Last edited by bambam_jr; 06-23-2011 at 12:39 AM.
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Old 06-23-2011, 04:18 AM   #21
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Re: Battles Which Shaped the Course of History.

surprised this hasnt come up yet: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Salamis

possibly the most important battle in western history. had the Greeks not beaten the Persian navy and forced a retreat of their ground forces they would have almost assuredly been defeated. as it is after the greek city states reestablished their rule over Greece they produced thinkers that were farther ahead of their time than possibly anyone, ever: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle. Western philosophy would have been hamstrung before it even began. We'd have another word for Democracy, or maybe we wouldnt even need one. The Roman Empire, while likely still rising to power had the Greeks lost, would also look completely different.

PS: couldnt find a good spot for this quote, and i dont know how accurate it is but it supports my point and i like it:

The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.

- A.N. Whitehead


edit: no Zeno, either

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Old 06-27-2011, 12:31 PM   #22
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Re: Battles Which Shaped the Course of History.

Turning point of WW2, imo

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Kursk
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Old 06-27-2011, 02:27 PM   #23
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Re: Battles Which Shaped the Course of History.

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I disagree. Germany essentially ended its chance to win the war by deciding to attack Leningrad as part of Operation Barbarossa. The Germans vastly underestimated the Soviet troop numbers and ability to raise reserves of troops and materiel.

Had the plan to form Army Group North been scrapped and instead a plan limiting the attack to two invasion points with two Armies been adopted, Germany would have likely rolled right to Moscow and overpowered the Ukraine. At that point, Leningrad would have been effectively cut off and ripe for a later operation.

So, the war first turned on that decision to go forward with Barbarossa in June 1941 with 3 Armies attacking 3 regions.

Nevertheless, the Germans still had an opportunity to salvage its operations in Russia as the Army Group Center approached Moscow in August/September. Bock and Guderian were adamant that they could take Moscow from there. At that point, the Army Group Center was well positioned to take Moscow. Of course, if Army Group North was diverted at that point to join the attack on Moscow, all the better.

However, Hitler went over everyone's head and directly ordered the armored divisions from Army Group Center to divert and support Army Group North and Army Group South. That decision ruined the Germans chance to take Moscow and ruined any chance they had to redeem the original failure manifested at the beginning of the Operation.

Each opportunity served to the Germans after this crucial point merely offered low odds at complete victory, but good odds at stalemate or negotiated resolution. For example prior to attacking Stalingrad, the Germans had a prime opportunity to attack right through to the Caucasus oilfields. Cutting off the Russian oil supply and establishing an endless supply of oil would have been a major leverage point for Germany.

Instead, Hitler demanded the attack on Stalingrad. That decision was a major blunder no matter what that outcome may have been.

Further down the line, Hitler kept insisting his generals not concede any ground, thus it forced the Germans to conduct battles in tight places. The primary advantage Germany enjoyed was its speed and it needed to operate in the open. However, Hilter insisted on a strategy that guaranteed that the German war machine would be ground up piece by piece by an army that had (by comparison) an endless supply of assets to throw into the grinder.

Kursk was a big battle, for sure, but it had no bearing on the outcome. At best, it was a consolidation of the inevitable: Germany was going to lose all of its men and materiel committed to that front - Kursk just provided the convenience of allowing it all to happen at once.

Last edited by Oski; 06-27-2011 at 02:33 PM.
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Old 07-02-2011, 01:03 PM   #24
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Re: Battles Which Shaped the Course of History.

My personal opinion is the Battle of Kursk is what finally got the Western Allies serious about opening the second front they promised Stalin. It was clear the Soviets were now on the offensive and poised to cross their own pre-war borders and gain new land. The Soviets were our ally but we didnt trust them and the Allies certainly didnt want communism spreading too far west.

Stalingrad was definitely the turning point for the Soviets, if Hitler won and then got to the Baku oilfields, the war would of drug on for considerably longer.

But I think Kursk was the first sign to the Allies that the Soviets were going to eventually win this war and get to Berlin, which got them serious about coming across the channel to protect Western Europe from going to communism. The Allies were content with the Germans and Russians bludgeoning each other in a stalemate, but once it was clear the Red Army was on the move, the Allies knew they would need to come across the channel to protect Western Europe from communism.

Even after the loss of Stalingrad the Germans were still on the offensive, "turning point" suggests a clear change in fortunes from one army to the other. I can think of no battle that represents such a change than Kursk, at Kursk the Soviets destroyed the Germans armor and from that moment on the Soviets would be on the offensive, there would be no more Blitzkrieg and the road to Berlin was forged by winning the battle of Kursk.

This is what got the allies to finally open that second front they promised the Soviets in 1942 and 1943 in my opinion. It was now worth it for the Allies to cross the channel, the Soviets had done the dirty work at a very high cost and Germany was weakened enough that the Allies could join the European fight without it being a complete suicide mission. Hitler had to compensate for the large losses his army took at Kursk.

Thank God the Soviets won at Volgograd but I still believe the win at Kursk to be the moment that Soviets and the Allies knew the war could and would be won. Hitler may have not thought it was the end but I'm sure his generals knew at that point Hitler's crazy goals they were tasked to meet would never be met. Thus, the turning point. I just cant think of a battle where the fortunes of these two armies had changed so much.


Also the fact the Soviets did this during the summer also makes me believe that the Soviets and Allies knew the war had turned, the only thing resembling "wins" for the Soviets had come during the rough Russian winters. In the previous years, the decent weather fighting was clearly owned by the Germans. It must of been quite shocking to them to take losses like that in the middle of summer

Last edited by luciano27; 07-02-2011 at 01:26 PM.
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Old 07-04-2011, 01:45 PM   #25
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My personal opinion is the Battle of Kursk is what finally got the Western Allies serious about opening the second front they promised Stalin. It was clear the Soviets were now on the offensive and poised to cross their own pre-war borders and gain new land. The Soviets were our ally but we didnt trust them and the Allies certainly didnt want communism spreading too far west.

Stalingrad was definitely the turning point for the Soviets, if Hitler won and then got to the Baku oilfields, the war would of drug on for considerably longer.

But I think Kursk was the first sign to the Allies that the Soviets were going to eventually win this war and get to Berlin, which got them serious about coming across the channel to protect Western Europe from going to communism. The Allies were content with the Germans and Russians bludgeoning each other in a stalemate, but once it was clear the Red Army was on the move, the Allies knew they would need to come across the channel to protect Western Europe from communism.

Even after the loss of Stalingrad the Germans were still on the offensive, "turning point" suggests a clear change in fortunes from one army to the other. I can think of no battle that represents such a change than Kursk, at Kursk the Soviets destroyed the Germans armor and from that moment on the Soviets would be on the offensive, there would be no more Blitzkrieg and the road to Berlin was forged by winning the battle of Kursk.

This is what got the allies to finally open that second front they promised the Soviets in 1942 and 1943 in my opinion. It was now worth it for the Allies to cross the channel, the Soviets had done the dirty work at a very high cost and Germany was weakened enough that the Allies could join the European fight without it being a complete suicide mission. Hitler had to compensate for the large losses his army took at Kursk.

Thank God the Soviets won at Volgograd but I still believe the win at Kursk to be the moment that Soviets and the Allies knew the war could and would be won. Hitler may have not thought it was the end but I'm sure his generals knew at that point Hitler's crazy goals they were tasked to meet would never be met. Thus, the turning point. I just cant think of a battle where the fortunes of these two armies had changed so much.


Also the fact the Soviets did this during the summer also makes me believe that the Soviets and Allies knew the war had turned, the only thing resembling "wins" for the Soviets had come during the rough Russian winters. In the previous years, the decent weather fighting was clearly owned by the Germans. It must of been quite shocking to them to take losses like that in the middle of summer
Well, OK. You introduced the term "turning point" and given your subsequent definition of the term and your application of such to your statement, its hard to find disagreement there. (However, I disagree that the Germans were still on the offensive. At that point their operations were only an "offensive" in name only - Hitler refused requests for a withdrawal and the Generals knew they were far short of numbers).

However, this thread is about wars that changed the course of history. As far as that goes, I already explained that what happened at Kursk was merely a manifestation of all the current elements facing the Nazis which had been a direct product of their own mistakes and shortcomings. In other words, what happened at Kursk was preordained; the only thing I find exceptionally noteworthy (as far as how it fits into a discussion of the battle's impact on the entire war) is the scale. Kursk merely combined all of the destruction facing the Nazis into one convenient battle.

As you have explained it, "turning point" is more a matter of the perspective at that time. Yes, it is true and significant that Kursk made the Allies believe they could win; yes, it contributed to them seriously putting an invasion plan in place; yes, it gave Russia confidence in that they knew their victory was then inevitable; yes, it made the German infantryman realize what his Generals knew for months; yes, it caused Hitler to pass the point of no return regarding his insistence on micro managing troops. As things were, Kursk may indeed have been the "turning point" as far as public perception of the Eastern Front and its implications for the entire war.

But, the battle of Kursk did not "shape the course of history" since it was merely an exercise of the inevitable.

Last edited by Oski; 07-04-2011 at 02:00 PM.
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