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Old 06-01-2015, 06:28 PM   #1
DoTheMath
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Losing WW II

In the unfortunate thread on the WW II internment of US citizens of Japanese ancestry, dzikijohnny said:
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You must be an idiot to think that the Allies couldn't have lost WW2. ... I can think of dozens of ways we could have lost WW2.
I've thought about the question several times over the decades, but have had a hard time imagining anything plausible that would have led to ultimate defeat for the Allies. But my imagination is limited.

This thread is intended for serious discussion of the question of whether there was ever any realistic chance the Allies could have lost either the war against Germany and/or the war against Japan. Contributors are invited to submit plausible decisions or circumstances that could have led to the Allies being defeated. Explain how these lead to ultimate defeat as opposed to merely delaying victory, and be prepared to explain how these changes from historical events are reasonable alternatives.

Let's avoid things that predate the war and its planning, or are unrelated to it. Of course the war began well before it was officially declared. The first military action in the European theatre was the remilitarization of the Rheinland in 1936.

We may as well set the start date for our discussion as applied to the war agaisnt Germany as the end of January 1933. This is when Reichspräsident Paul von Hindenburg appointed a new cabinet of government ministers, including Adolf Hitler as head of government (Reichskanzler), prominent Nazi Wilhelm Frick as Minister of the Interior, Hermann Göring as Reichskommissar for the Prussian Interior Ministry, and Werner von Blomberg as General der Infanterie and Minister of Defence. These appointments gave the Nazis and their supporters control of legislation (Hitler), elections (Frick), most of the police in Germany (Göring) and the armed forces (von Blomberg).

Gen. von Blomberg had been appointed to head Germany's secret and forbidden substitute for the General Staff (das Truppenamt) in 1927. By 1929, von Blomberg had already been planning for a secret rearming of forces in the Rheinland, but was opposed in this by General Kurt von Schleicher, who was at the time the chief military officer in the German Ministry of Defence. Von Blomberg was demoted to command of the East Prussian military district, were he worked closely with the Nazi Sturmabteilung (SA). Von Schleicher went on to become the last Reichskanzler before Hitler.

As early as March 1933, von Blomberg was once again at work on formal plans for the remilitarization of the Rheinland, this time with the support of the government. Due to the restricted size of the German Army, these plans were based to a large part on giving military weapons and training to the state police, which Göring had enlarged by appointing SA and SS members as auxilary police personnel.

For the Pacific theatre, a start date of late 1930 probably makes sense. It approximates the time the Kwantung Army began plotting the invasion of Manchuria, which kicked off the armed conflict that grew to become WW II in the Pacific. It also marks the ratification of the London Naval Treaty, which influenced the naval forces available for the Pacific Theatre.

So what decisions or circumstances after these start dates could reasonably have occurred which could reasonably be thought to have led to the Allies losing either or both the war against Germany and/or the war against Japan?
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Old 06-01-2015, 08:49 PM   #2
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Re: Losing WW II

I suppose that depends on what we mean by "losing." Strategic victory in terms of war aims for Japan probably looks like:

(1) Expelling all European holdings from Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands (save maybe Australia and New Zealand), to be replaced with Japanese hegemony,
(2) Securing most of the Chinese coastal territory and a few resource-heavy regions,
(3) Limiting US naval projection capabilities in the Japanese sphere of influence in the Pacific,
(4) Gaining a negotiated peace with the US to ratify these claims, and then probably settling for or installing a pro-Japanese regime in China to act as a potential counterweight against future American or Soviet involvement.

Of those objectives, (1) was nearly accomplished by 1942, (2) might have been accomplished if Japan had effectively been able to divert forces and form at least a temporary truce (unlikely) with the KMT to destroy the CPC, and then hopefully steer events in their favor. (3) is only conceivable if Japan managed to win fairly convincing victories at Coral Sea and Midway, because after that they're basically screwed. All of those are a prerequisite for (4). I don't think they're ever gaining a victory in which they conquer US holdings including or east of Hawaii.

Pretty much all Axis "victory" scenarios involve negotiated peaces to ratify their holdings, while Allied "victory" scenarios almost all entail complete Axis destruction. When those are the stakes, it's fairly easy to see why the Allies were at a considerable advantage from 1942 forward.
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Old 06-01-2015, 10:52 PM   #3
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Re: Losing WW II

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I suppose that depends on what we mean by "losing." Strategic victory in terms of war aims for Japan probably looks like:

(1) Expelling all European holdings from Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands (save maybe Australia and New Zealand), to be replaced with Japanese hegemony,
(2) Securing most of the Chinese coastal territory and a few resource-heavy regions,
(3) Limiting US naval projection capabilities in the Japanese sphere of influence in the Pacific,
(4) Gaining a negotiated peace with the US to ratify these claims, and then probably settling for or installing a pro-Japanese regime in China to act as a potential counterweight against future American or Soviet involvement.

Of those objectives, (1) was nearly accomplished by 1942, (2) might have been accomplished if Japan had effectively been able to divert forces and form at least a temporary truce (unlikely) with the KMT to destroy the CPC, and then hopefully steer events in their favor. (3) is only conceivable if Japan managed to win fairly convincing victories at Coral Sea and Midway, because after that they're basically screwed. All of those are a prerequisite for (4). I don't think they're ever gaining a victory in which they conquer US holdings including or east of Hawaii.

Pretty much all Axis "victory" scenarios involve negotiated peaces to ratify their holdings, while Allied "victory" scenarios almost all entail complete Axis destruction. When those are the stakes, it's fairly easy to see why the Allies were at a considerable advantage from 1942 forward.
I don't see how the US would ever have capitulated to such a Japanese-favorable peace agreement, since it would have meant essentially surrendering the Far East to the Japanese on the heels of both Pearl Harbor as well as the scenario where we incur heavy losses at Coral Sea and Midway.

Given the "personal" attack by Japan on US territories, and the fact that by 1942 the war in Europe was already turning against the Axis powers, I can't envision the US just giving up in the Pacific to focus on Europe. We had the will and production means to defeat the Japanese, so I don't think the outcome was ever in doubt.
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Old 06-02-2015, 10:11 AM   #4
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Re: Losing WW II

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I suppose that depends on what we mean by "losing." Strategic victory in terms of war aims for Japan probably looks like:

(1) Expelling all European holdings from Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands (save maybe Australia and New Zealand), to be replaced with Japanese hegemony,
(2) Securing most of the Chinese coastal territory and a few resource-heavy regions,
(3) Limiting US naval projection capabilities in the Japanese sphere of influence in the Pacific,
(4) Gaining a negotiated peace with the US to ratify these claims, and then probably settling for or installing a pro-Japanese regime in China to act as a potential counterweight against future American or Soviet involvement.

Of those objectives, (1) was nearly accomplished by 1942, (2) might have been accomplished if Japan had effectively been able to divert forces and form at least a temporary truce (unlikely) with the KMT to destroy the CPC, and then hopefully steer events in their favor. (3) is only conceivable if Japan managed to win fairly convincing victories at Coral Sea and Midway, because after that they're basically screwed. All of those are a prerequisite for (4). I don't think they're ever gaining a victory in which they conquer US holdings including or east of Hawaii.

Pretty much all Axis "victory" scenarios involve negotiated peaces to ratify their holdings, while Allied "victory" scenarios almost all entail complete Axis destruction. When those are the stakes, it's fairly easy to see why the Allies were at a considerable advantage from 1942 forward.
That's a pretty good analysis, TP. Absolutely essential to begin by defining one's terms.

I'd adjust (3), to "Limiting Allied naval projection into the Japanese sphere of influence." Two changes there. The Japanese were not worried about US naval forces alone. They were also concerned about British, Commonwealth, and even Dutch naval forces. In early 1942, the RN was, IIRC, still more powerful than the USN, and the US still had an Atlantic coast and fleet. The second change is the removal of "capabilities". I doubt the Japanese thought they'd ever have the leverage to negotiate a reduction of Allied naval strength to the extent it would eliminate their capability to interfere. The best they could hope for was an agreement not to interfere.

Even decisive victories at Midway and Coral Sea would only provide a temporary delay on US seapower projection in the Pacific. US shipbuilding capacity dwarfed that of the Japanese and had already been ramped up before Pearl Harbor. The US cancelled more planned capital ship construction in 1944 and 1945 than the Japanese completed in the ten years before the end of the war.

It is telling that the Allied victory scenarios involve the destruction/occupation of all the enemy states, while the Axis victory scenarios involve occupation of only a portion of their enemy's territory. Japan never had the concept or hope of occupying America or Britain, and their best bet in India was an anti-British revolution. While the whole point of Germany's war was occupation of a significant portion of the Soviet Union, and Unternehmen Seelöwe shows that conquest of Great Britain was potentially on the table, Germany never had plans or hopes of occupying the US or British Commonwealth territories outside of Europe and Africa.
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Old 06-02-2015, 10:10 PM   #5
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Re: Losing WW II

I'm sure you know more than me, but I always thought the Axis's best chance would have been not declaring war on Russia until defeating GB. If they had invested all their resources into the Luftwaffe and just kept a token garrison on the Eastern borders they may have been able to launch a seaborne invasion of England once they acquired air supremacy. Stalin legit thought Hitler wouldn't turn on him so Russia wouldn't have necessarily been massing divisions on its Western border. Russian may have taken another shot at Finland though as Germany fought England. And Japan would also not have to attack Pearl Harbor and just concentrate on defeating China.
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Old 06-03-2015, 03:24 AM   #6
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Re: Losing WW II

I always wondered what might have happened if the Axis powers used better ciphers and/or adapted once they were breached. Obviously a small part to the overall conflict, but had a big impact at key moments.
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Old 06-05-2015, 03:13 PM   #7
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Re: Losing WW II

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I'm sure you know more than me, but I always thought the Axis's best chance would have been not declaring war on Russia until defeating GB. If they had invested all their resources into the Luftwaffe and just kept a token garrison on the Eastern borders they may have been able to launch a seaborne invasion of England once they acquired air supremacy. Stalin legit thought Hitler wouldn't turn on him so Russia wouldn't have necessarily been massing divisions on its Western border. Russian may have taken another shot at Finland though as Germany fought England. And Japan would also not have to attack Pearl Harbor and just concentrate on defeating China.
I'm not so sure Germany would ever have been able to achieve the air supremacy required for an invasion of Britain. If it came down to a war of attrition they were at a large disadvantage fighting in British skys where their downed pilots either died or would be taken into captivity, whereas British pilots could bail out and return to their units. And remember they were losing planes at an unsustainable level.

In saying all that though I think the best opportunity for the Axis would've been if the panzer armies had been allowed to advance on Dunkirk. Stopping the escape of the BEF and allies may have allowed for a parachute landing in the South of England with the aim of maintaining a beach head or attemping a quick advance on London. Ultimately though the lack of air superiority still makes this unlikely. If it had been achived though and Germany managed to knock Britain out of the war it gives rise to various other questions:

Would the Russians still prevail in the East without

1) the material being provided to them through Britain
2) the impact of the allied bombing in terms of the resources used to try to combat it, as well as any damage done
3) the number of German troops tied up in Western Europe and Norway

If they don't then how do the remaining allies launch an attack on Europe without being able to use Britain as a staging point? Or is it the case that the bomb prevails in the end and is used on Germany as well as Japan?


Probably posed more questions than answers here so not sure how helpful my post is
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Old 06-08-2015, 06:06 PM   #8
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Re: Losing WW II

If Britain didn't win the Battle of Britain in 1940, the whole character of WW2 would have been vastly different. German air supremacy over Britain would have forced either an agreement with UK that would have recognized Hitler's territorial gains in Europe, or utter destruction of London and industrial centers such as Birmingham. With such an agreement or continued campaign in the West, the Germans may not have been sucked into abruptly invading Russia in 1941. It would also have made US entry into a European war almost untenable for years to come.
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Old 06-08-2015, 07:37 PM   #9
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Re: Losing WW II

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If Britain didn't win the Battle of Britain in 1940, the whole character of WW2 would have been vastly different. German air supremacy over Britain would have forced either an agreement with UK that would have recognized Hitler's territorial gains in Europe, or utter destruction of London and industrial centers such as Birmingham. With such an agreement or continued campaign in the West, the Germans may not have been sucked into abruptly invading Russia in 1941. It would also have made US entry into a European war almost untenable for years to come.
I think it's pretty likely that Barbarossa was a foregone conclusion from the start. Logically, losing the Battle of Britain should have delayed the Ostfront, but Hitler preferred to strike before Stalin was at full military capacity, thinking that Britain would not hit back as quickly as they did, especially in North Africa.
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Old 06-08-2015, 10:43 PM   #10
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Re: Losing WW II

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I always wondered what might have happened if the Axis powers used better ciphers and/or adapted once they were breached. Obviously a small part to the overall conflict, but had a big impact at key moments.
Or if they did a better job of cracking the Allied codes. I think this was a huge part of the overall conflict, not a small one.
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Old 06-08-2015, 11:18 PM   #11
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Re: Losing WW II

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I think it's pretty likely that Barbarossa was a foregone conclusion from the start. Logically, losing the Battle of Britain should have delayed the Ostfront, but Hitler preferred to strike before Stalin was at full military capacity, thinking that Britain would not hit back as quickly as they did, especially in North Africa.
Barbarossa may have always been on the planning board, but defeat or at least stalemate in Britain in 1940 meant that the Western Front would be nothing more than staring across the Channel at each other for nearly 4 years or skirmishing in Africa and Italy or the skies over Europe. Hitler quickly reassessed the situation, Operation Sea Lion was scrapped, and Russia was next up for the bulk of the German Army.
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Old 06-15-2015, 01:40 AM   #12
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Re: Losing WW II

I'm not qualified to answer the question, but ... would USA have been content to allow Japan to keep Manchuria in a peace treaty prior to Pearl Harbor in exchange for Japan withdrawing their forces from China? If Japan had found a way to normalize relations with the Allies and keep some of their territorial gains, they would have done well for themselves. I don't think they could possibly have won a major conflict against USA and the Allies because of the disparity in resources, manpower and production.

Likewise in the case of Germany, I think at some point they could have consolidated their territorial gains and reintegrated into the international community if they had different leadership. I've heard it suggested that if Hitler had focused on Africa, he could have won the war, but I don't see any scenario where Germany and/or Japan emerge with anything resembling the total victory they coveted.
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Old 06-15-2015, 05:07 AM   #13
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Re: Losing WW II

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Likewise in the case of Germany, I think at some point they could have consolidated their territorial gains and reintegrated into the international community if they had different leadership. I've heard it suggested that if Hitler had focused on Africa, he could have won the war, but I don't see any scenario where Germany and/or Japan emerge with anything resembling the total victory they coveted.
The problem is though Africa was never really on the agenda. It was all about expansion in the East.
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Old 07-10-2015, 08:12 PM   #14
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Re: Losing WW II

If Germany could have taken Moscow, would that have changed anything?
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Old 07-10-2015, 11:24 PM   #15
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Re: Losing WW II

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If Germany could have taken Moscow, would that have changed anything?
I think it would given it was the nerve center of the country and a major rail hub. I know they were moving government functions to other cities though so who knows. I also know taking it didn't help Napoleon but that was a completely different era.
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Old 07-13-2015, 08:35 AM   #16
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Re: Losing WW II

I think the only win for Germany was after the fall of Yugoslavia and Greece to just stop. No bombing of England, no invasion of Russia, no helping Mussolini in Africa. Just be satisfied with the 12 or so countries they had conquered at that point, keep building tanks, planes and U boats. I wouldnt think the Soviets are ever attacking in the east and Britain has zero chance of invading across the channel.
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Old 07-13-2015, 03:03 PM   #17
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Re: Losing WW II

i dont think the axis could have won the war. simply because the was no way germany coul go toe to toe with the soviet union.

i guderian would not have been stopped before he could attack the forces trapped in dunkirk. there is no way britian could have continued the war after that.
how ever the soviet union and germany would have come to blows sooner or later and i do not believe germany could have won that war.
actually the impact of british and american forcess on the war in europe are largelly overstated in my oppinion.
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Old 07-15-2015, 06:05 PM   #18
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Re: Losing WW II

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i dont think the axis could have won the war. simply because the was no way germany coul go toe to toe with the soviet union.

i guderian would not have been stopped before he could attack the forces trapped in dunkirk. there is no way britian could have continued the war after that.
how ever the soviet union and germany would have come to blows sooner or later and i do not believe germany could have won that war.
actually the impact of british and american forcess on the war in europe are largelly overstated in my oppinion.
Why does everyone say Germany couldn't beat Russia? Russia was not prepared for blitzkreg type warfare and Germany was within miles of taking Moscow. I would think taking Moscow could have given Germany a shot at winning the war with russia. It was the cold that defeated Germany, not russia imo.

I do agree with your second point though, the british/american forces had little to do with why Germany lost.
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Old 07-23-2015, 11:48 PM   #19
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Re: Losing WW II

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Why does everyone say Germany couldn't beat Russia?
Because they didn't?

So the question is, what would it have taken for Germany to win, or Russia to lose?

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Russia was not prepared for blitzkreg type warfare
Why do you say that? In 1941, when Germany invaded, Russia had more tanks and aircraft then Germany. The best Russian tanks were better in many ways than the best German tanks. By the time Germany attacked, Russia had already begun building up a sort of defence in depth - the sort of defence that is required to defeat a blitzkrieg attack.

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and Germany was within miles of taking Moscow.
But they couldn't take it, could they?

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I would think taking Moscow could have given Germany a shot at winning the war with russia.
Yes, I think that is a correct way of putting it. Taking Moscow was a necessary, but probably not sufficient, condition for German victory.

So how could Germany have taken Moscow in 1941?

The simple answer - put more forces into the attack on Moscow and less on the drives to Leningrad and through the Ukraine - suffers from some of the same problems as the idea that Germany could have won in North Africa if Hitler had given Rommel more troops in Africa. There is no indication that the Germans could have kept more troops supplied given the lack of transport resources (the limited number of vehicles, and the limited number of usable roads and railroads).

A slightly better idea would be to keep a similar sized force in the centre thrust, but change its composition, by making a greater portion of its components armoured or mechanized. This still has logistical problems however. Mechanized forces require a much larger amount of supplies - fuel and spare parts. Their vehicles also put a much greater strain on the road network - degrading its capacity for subsequent use for supply.

If we assume that the transportation infrastructure for the centre thrust was at very close to full capacity, the only way to increase the number of armoured or mechanized divisions in the centre thrust would have been to decrease the number of infantry divisions by about thee times as many. This raises doubt as to whether the Germans would have had the forces to protect their supply lines or to invest a major city like Moscow, or maybe even Smolensk.

Another problem with the idea of transferring a larger portion of armoured or mechanized divisions to the centre is that it raises doubts that the Germans would be able to roll back the flanks fast enough to protect their main thrust. Look at the the German high command's reaction to Rommel's penetration in France to understand how little confidence they had in a single thrust far out-distancing the advance of the rest of the front.

In short, I think it unlikely that the Germans could have taken Moscow by making significant changes to their initial force allocation or overall plan.

However, perhaps they might have been better able to execute with their existing forces. I seem to recall that about halfway through the advance, the Germans diverted some of their central thrust's mobile forces laterally to complete large double envelopments in cooperation with the flanking thrusts. Perhaps if the forces had remained concentrated on eastward movement, they might have got to Moscow before the mud.

This isn't a surefire path to victory however. Doing so would have seen the foot-sloggers fall even more out of contact with the spearheads, and large forces uncaptured on the flanks might have been able to cut off the centre thrust entirely.

If taking Moscow in 1941 is out of the question, what about in 1942? The Germans didn't really try. Instead they chose to shift their focus to the southeast, in an effort to capture resource-rich areas. This decision is understandable. Given their failure to win the war quickly, the prospect of a long economic struggle loomed large. Strategic resources of food and petroleum would be crucial.

But what if the Germans instead tried to win it all in the summer of 1942 by surrounding and then taking Moscow? I think if they had succeeded they would have had a better chance of winning the war than they gave themselves by attacking southeast. However, it is far from certain they would have succeeded. Kursk and Leningrad give reasons why they might have failed.

One reason the German attack to the southeast in 1942 was as successful as it was, is because it was not the direction the Russians were expecting an attack (or at least not the direction of attack against which the Russians were defending). After pushing the Germans back from Moscow in the winter of 1941-42, a significant portion of their defensive efforts focused on protecting Moscow from another attack. Any German forces attacking Moscow would have found themselves facing defensive emplacements much like those against which they failed the following summer at Kursk. Even if they had succeeded in surrounding Moscow, there is no guarantee they could have taken it. Leningrad was effectively surrounded for nearly three years, but never fell.

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It was the cold that defeated Germany, not russia imo.
The Russians built tanks that didn't get stuck in the mud and vehicles that still started when the temperature fell well below freezing. The Germans generally didn't (until later in the war). That sounds like the Russians beating the Germans to me.
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I do agree with your second point though, the british/american forces had little to do with why Germany lost.
+1
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Old 07-24-2015, 01:13 PM   #20
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Re: Losing WW II

Good post,

You make some valid points and I can agree with most of what you are saying.

However, Germany was able to take a large part of russia do to their (at the time) unique style of warfare. This caught russia off guard at first and allowed Germany to push deep into russian territory quickly. The blitzkrieg also allowed them to do this to france.

I do not think it is likely Germany could have ever taken Moscow, but this is a conversation where we suspend disbelief a little bit. Is it POSSIBLE Germany could take Moscow? Yes, I think so. I think given the perfect weather conditions and if Germany didn't let up closer to winter they could have had a shot at taking Moscow.

If they take Moscow, they could disable the biggest military power on the planet and obtain a decent shot at accomplishing hitlers goal of uniting europe under Nazism.
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Old 07-24-2015, 01:30 PM   #21
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Re: Losing WW II

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If they take Moscow, they could disable the biggest military power on the planet and obtain a decent shot at accomplishing hitlers goal of uniting europe under Nazism.
That wasn't actually his goal though, it was more about expansion in the East. There also wasn't any chance of him uniting Europe under Nazism, unless by uniting you really mean conquering.
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Old 07-24-2015, 06:34 PM   #22
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Re: Losing WW II

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That wasn't actually his goal though, it was more about expansion in the East. There also wasn't any chance of him uniting Europe under Nazism, unless by uniting you really mean conquering.

I suppose you could use that word. I think at the time many in the area would have been ok with hitlers nazi party representing them. Obviously, now that we know the kind of stuff he was up to this would be different but he was well liked by many at the time of ww2 and almost praised before.
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Old 07-26-2015, 01:31 AM   #23
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Re: Losing WW II

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However, Germany was able to take a large part of russia do to their (at the time) unique style of warfare.
While I agree that Germany was able to take large parts of Russia due to their style of warfare, it wasn't really unique to them at the time. The armoured warfare doctrine followed by the Germans was based on the work of British officers (principally J.F.C. Fuller, B.H. Liddell Hart and Percy Hobart) in reaction to the carnage of WW I.

Six months before the Germans attacked Russia, the British Western Desert Force under Acting Lt. General Richard O'Conner launched Operation Compass, a blitzkrieg style offensive against the Italian Army which had invaded Egypt. The Italians had more than 4 times the men, more than 13 times as many artillery pieces, and more than twice as many tanks and aircraft. The offensive pushed the Italians out of Egypt and eastern Libya. The Italians lost nearly all their soldiers and aircraft and most of their tanks and guns.

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This caught russia off guard at first and allowed Germany to push deep into russian territory quickly. The blitzkrieg also allowed them to do this to france.
That's right, although the Soviets contributed to their own defeat by having their frontline forces concentrated well forward, while their reserves were much too far back to seal any breakthroughs. Protection of aircraft on the ground was virtually non-existent.

Just like the Italians in 1940, the Soviets had the advantage in manpower, numbers of tanks, aircraft and artillery. Unlike the Italians, the Soviet tanks and anti-tank guns were in most ways better than those of their adversaries, and the Soviets had intelligence warnings that a German attack was imminent.

The German advantages were mostly intangibles. Their troops had a higher standard of civilian education. They were better trained and better led. The Germans had a thoroughly professional General Staff, while the Soviets were still recovering from a widespread purge of senior military officers. The Germans had better doctrine, and a much better command and control system. German communication systems at the time were the best in the world. As an example of this disparity, Russian tanks in 1941 usually didn't have a radio. Typically only the company commander's vehicle would have a radio. He'd have to control the tanks under his command by semaphore flag. This would make him an easy target. In contrast, every German tank had a radio, and unit commanders' vehicles were equipped with two radios, one for communicating with subordinates and one to communicate with higher levels.
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I do not think it is likely Germany could have ever taken Moscow, but this is a conversation where we suspend disbelief a little bit. Is it POSSIBLE Germany could take Moscow? Yes, I think so. I think given the perfect weather conditions and if Germany didn't let up closer to winter they could have had a shot at taking Moscow.
Except for the last point I am inclined to agree with you. Any German let-up closer to winter was due to the exhaustion of their mechanized forces. They'd lost a significant portion of their tanks, and most of their remaining vehicles were worn out. The supply situation was perilous. I think the diversion of forces in mid-thrust may have been more significant, except it is difficult to assess whether the flanks of the thrust would have been secure if the diversion dd not take place

The early onset of rains and severity of early winter certainly slowed the Germans. The unusually late and wet spring probably also contributed to the late start date of the invasion, although there is some indication that the Germans weren't really ready to launch earlier if the weather had allowed. However, neither side was in a position to change the weather. I started this thread to discuss what the antagonists could reasonably have done differently to change the outcome, not to discuss the factors outside of their control that might have changed the outcome.

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If they take Moscow, they could disable the biggest military power on the planet and obtain a decent shot at accomplishing hitlers goal of uniting europe under Nazism.
As Husker points out, that wasn't quite Hitler's goal, but capturing Moscow would certainly have given the Germans a good chance to defeat the Soviets.
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Old 07-29-2015, 05:33 AM   #24
A_C_Slater
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Re: Losing WW II

Supposedly Hitler said to his generals something like 'only ossified brains still living in the Napoleonic era could see any value in capturing a capital' when arguing to target Stalingrad instead of Moscow. I believe the thinking was if they capture Stalingrad they can easily conquer the rest of Southern Russia bordering Iran. The plan then was to link up with new allies in the Middle East that approved of the Nazi's politics.
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Old 07-29-2015, 09:09 AM   #25
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Re: Losing WW II

actually hitler had this totally insane idea of rommels africa corps beeing able to meet the troops occupied with the russian campaign in the biggest pincer movement of all time.
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