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Could WWll have been avoided
bill_c
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Posted: Wednesday, December 09, 2015 - 11:03 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Given the life even today of the "The Germans should've won because they had better soldiers and technology" arguments on this and other sites....


This myth continues to amaze and confound me.

German tanks were OVER-designed, and UNDER-performed because they were often under-powered. Their initial narrow tracks made them unsuitable for combat except within Western Europe where a highly-developed road & rail network obviated the need for extensive off-road capabilities. Their guns were generally smaller and less-effective than those of their opponents. What generally accounts for the early success of the Wehrmacht is superior doctrine and a keener understanding of the war of movement that came to dominate combat after 1939.

Yet while the Allies were caught short at the beginning of the war, they learned from their mistakes and eventually overcame the German advantage. Unlike Poland and France, the British and Americans had time and resources to fight another day; the Soviets traded territory and blood to gain time to overcome their shortcomings.

There are also fatal errors by Germany's planners to provide sufficient petroleum reserves for a long war. Many German tanks were lost due to petrol shortages, not combat defeats (look at Panzerwrecks at the tanks with the gun shortened; crews would drain out the recuperator fluid and then pop off a round, ruining the whole mechanism), along with Hitler's disastrous decision to fight the US, the British AND the Soviets all at once.

In the air, the ME-262 jet was superior to anything the Allies had, but was developed too late and intended by Hitler at first to be a fighter-bomber, a role it was thoroughly unsuited for.

There are other examples, including the superiority of the M-1 Garand over any German rifle. And even though the MG-42 was the best machine gun of the war, the Browning was close enough that its superior numbers meant the Germans couldn't outgun Allied troops. The Allies developed the atomic bomb, an area where Germany was ahead in the 30s. And we did break Enigma, something the Nazis believed was impossible.

The list goes on and on. The side with the better technology and the far better deployment of resources won.
panzerbob01
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Posted: Thursday, December 10, 2015 - 12:03 AM UTC
Bill ; That's a huge and deliciously-baited treble-hook you've cast out there, friend!

It has great mouth-feel, the bait is as tasty as it gets, and the waters you are casting into sufficiently murky to hide the potentially-waiting barbs!

Almost, Bill, almost! You almost goaded me into responding! But, after sniffing the fine aroma and mouthing the dangled treats, I decided... Hmmm. NO. I'll resist the temptation - let others have the fun with this one. And I coughed your attractive morsel back up!

Cheers!

Bob
RobinNilsson
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Posted: Thursday, December 10, 2015 - 02:17 AM UTC

Quoted Text

There is a book, "If the Allies Had Fallen" (originally published as "What If?") that explores the original scenario and many (100+) others in detail.

The most interesting items to me were with respect to Allied codebreaking. First, that codebreaking is considered to have shortened the war by two years, and second was that one of the reasons we kept the codebreaking secret for so long after the war was that we did not want to give the Axis an excuse that could be exploited by another political movement as the Nazis did with the "stab in the back" legend. Given the life even today of the "The Germans should've won because they had better soldiers and technology" arguments on this and other sites, it seems to have been a wise decision.

KL


Totally agree :-)
My favourite reply when someone starts arguing that Germany "should" have won because they had the best is that Germany lost. The Bismarck was "impossible" to sink/defeat. It lies on the bottom of the ocean ....
There are three ways of ending a war: Winning, Losing or closing the match as a draw. Germany did not win and it wasn't a draw either.
As for the 'What if this or that or the other'-questions my answer is: If you had Lake Michigan in hell you could sell it for $100 per gallon.

Why did the French tanks fail against the Panzers ? Because they were used in the wrong way. A few tanks here and a few tanks there, dispersed in 'penny packets' to various infantry units doesn't work against a concentrated attack.

Winning a war requires that everything works as it should, bad tactics can lose a war, untrained soldiers can lose a war, incompetent "generals" can lose a war, paranoid state leaders meddling in the running of a war will cause a failure, if the home front collapses the war will be lost, biting off more than one can chew is also a sure way to choke to death.

Stalins tank officers were amazed when they visited Germany during the early thirties when the two nations cooperated. They asked where the heavy tanks were (they were shown Pz I's and II's, maybe a few of the early III's with small guns) since they had bigger guns/tanks back home.
Germany totally miscalculated the number of divisions in the Soviet army, when the initial victories during Operation Barbarossa had wiped out the estimated/guessed number of Soviet divisions the German command was surprised that there were still new divisions fighting in the fronts and new divisions being formed. And then the T-34's and KV's turned up, the German troops started calling the 37mm PaK for Panzer AnKlopf-gerät (Device for Knocking on Tanks) since that was all it could do against the T-34 and KV.

Could the war have been avoided? Maybe, if the root causes had been removed but that would have been nearly impossible.
It's like getting rid of dandelions, cutting off the visible parts doesn't help. You need to remove the roots, all of the roots and make sure that new seeds cannot grow.

/ Robin
thathaway3
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Posted: Thursday, December 10, 2015 - 03:12 AM UTC
Given the way World War I ended and how the treaty signed at the end of the war was written, the answer to the initial question is almost certainly "no".

Possible? Yes. Likely? Nope.
bill_c
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Posted: Thursday, December 10, 2015 - 07:35 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Bill ; That's a huge and deliciously-baited treble-hook you've cast out there, friend!


Glad to temp you, Bob.

Quoted Text

Almost, Bill, almost! You almost goaded me into responding! But, after sniffing the fine aroma and mouthing the dangled treats, I decided... Hmmm. NO. I'll resist the temptation - let others have the fun with this one. And I coughed your attractive morsel back up!

Cheers!

Bob


Cheers, Bob. Sorry not to hear your ripostes.
johhar
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Posted: Thursday, December 10, 2015 - 08:20 PM UTC
If only Napoleon hadn't consolidated most of Germany into 38 statelets, unification might have been beyond one man in his lifetime, even Bismarck. This would have set so many clocks so far back they might have bypassed so much, even Hitler's lifetime. So, it's clear as crystal. No Napoleon, No WWII. Or maybe if Vercingetorix hadn't surrendered...
Aurora-7
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Posted: Thursday, December 10, 2015 - 11:03 PM UTC

Quoted Text

The side with the better technology and the far better deployment of resources won.



I concur with Bill on this. The excellence the Wehrmacht had in tactical prowess was not the same for strategic decisions -and that was largely driven by the delusions of Hitler. Nazi Germany just took on too many combatants at once.

And I also agree with those that say WWII could not be avoided given the circumstances of the ending of WWI.

Amazon Prime has a television series available based the book by Philip K Dick, 'The Man in the High Castle'. It's based on an alternate universe idea that Roosevelt died in the 1930's and the isolationist political parties kept the US out of the war until it was too late. The war went to 1947 and America never got its industrial war footing going and Germany captured Europe and the US east coast and Japan had the Pacific and US west coast with the mid-US being a demilitarized zone and a cold war begining to brew between Japan and The Greater Reich.

I tend to think the combined efforts of Great Britain and the USSR would have not resulted in a world take over by Nazi Germany, though but the war would have gone on much longer.

Pointless as some may say these questions might be it's fun for those who like to talk about history.

bill_c
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Posted: Thursday, December 10, 2015 - 11:14 PM UTC
What makes "what if?" discussions so seductive is the idea that one or two things made the difference in why history followed the path it did. But even if you rearrange things and give the Axis a few more wins, it's still unlikely they could have carried the war.

Same with the notion that if the Allies had tried to stop Hitler "at the beginning" that it would have avoided the war. Germany would simply have taken longer to rearm. I mean, can you really suggest that the UK and France would be capable (much less willing) to declare a full war on Germany after the remilitarization of the Rhineland? Because that is what it would have taken.

Germany eventually lost between 3-4 million KIA in World War Two. An expeditionary force sent into Cologne and the other cities in 1936 might have temporarily cowed Germany, but the notion this could have led to Hitler's overthrow or modifying his strategic goals is rubbish. Anyone who studies the Nazi Machtergreifung (seizure of power) will understand they controlled the levers of power at almost every level.
Bravo1102
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Posted: Friday, December 11, 2015 - 02:18 AM UTC
You would have had to change the political leadership of Britain and France to make a Phony War attack. Now if you do that there could have been changes in their war readiness. Then you could say that Britain listened to Fuller and created an Armoured Corps in the interwar years that practiced a British version of Blitzkrieg.

So you'd have full British armoured divisions supported by hordes of Fairey Battle bombers doing what the Germans did with their panzers and Stukas. What-if to what-if to what-if.


You might as well go back to Napoleon consolidating Germany after 1805. Or what if Napoleon III had had a general with balls at Sedan in 1870. Right, imagine if Phil Sheridan had left his place as observer, taken command of the French Imperial Army and beaten Von Moltke. Yeah what if the French had realized their rifles and prototype machine guns could beat up anything the German threw at them in 1870. Then no united Germany, no World War I and no World War II. Or what if the Austrians had won Kongiggeratz in 1866? It was pretty close.


Myself I'm dying to read For Want of a Nail about Burgoyne winning at Saratoga.
jphillips
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Posted: Friday, December 11, 2015 - 02:25 AM UTC
I can't believe this thread is still alive!
All right, I'll throw in another opinion. I think by projecting American power out into the world, the Spanish-American war made World War I inevitable, or at least our involvement in it. And by fragmenting the multinational empires into many smaller states, World War I left Europe too weakened and divided to resist the warlords like Hitler and Stalin when they came onto the scene two decades later.