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Deathride shatters some of the Stalin-Hitler myths and Operation Barbarossa

Discussion in 'ETO, MTO and the Eastern Front' started by PzJgr, Aug 2, 2012.

  1. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    Sounds pretty interesting. Worth a look I think.

    We think we understand the great German-Russian conflict of the WWII Eastern Front. We think it was the great grudge match of the tyrants, Stalin and Hitler. We think Stalin panicked in June 1941 when the Third Reich launched Operation Barbarossa. We think Hitler was beaten by the same Russian winter that defeated Napoleon. We think Stalin was steadfast in refusing to consider surrender. We think the Soviets prevailed in the greatest tank battle ever, at Kursk. Maybe not. At least that is what the historian John Mosier is telling us in "Deathride: Hitler vs. Stalin — The Eastern Front, 1941-1945."

    ‘Deathride’ shatters some myths about Hitler, Stalin, and World War II - The Boston Globe
     
  2. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    It does sound interesting. Do you know anything about the author, John Mosier?
     
  3. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    Not me.
     
  4. 36thID

    36thID Member

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    I have to admit that after all these years, I thought that the real reason WW 2 started was due to the exact reasons Mr Mosier stated. The complications of WW 2 was that both these tyrants had no regard for their fellow man....
     
  5. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I thought it was due to the Versailles treaty... ;)
     
  6. 36thID

    36thID Member

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    Which in Hitler's eyes strangled the economic position of Germany.

    Let me make it clear, I'm in no way justifying Hitler's ways. He was an idiot !!
     
  7. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I personally would like to find out "the truth" from the Moscow archives, which might be finally "opened totally" by 2020?? What Stalin et "boys" really thought and talked. Also I have been looking for the uncensored Zhukov memoirs but do these exist? Just a rumour circulating? Until then alot of speculating, I guess.
     
  8. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    Hitler did talk about the move eastward for lebensraum and how the Ukraine was the breadbasket of the East. That was the only thing planned....everything else just happened out of consequence.
     
  9. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    And without Winter War, where the Red Army looked awful, there might not have been Barbarossa, so another thing that rocketed Hitler into attacking in 1941 already.
     
  10. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    True. That also led the allies to believe that after the invasion, the USSR was doomed. Hitler's comparison of USSR to a house of cards could have stemmed from their performance in the Winter War.
     
  11. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    You're probably right. Hitler felt the Red Army would collapse quickly. While he was right in the short term, the Red Army proved more formidable than anyone suspected.
     
  12. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    The author claims that WWII was a struggle between "vicious Soviet bunglers with a craven leadership willing to sacrifice millions to survive versus vicious German technocrats". This staement, modestly speaking, is erroneous.

    If the reasons for war were purely economic, how can we explain Holocaust, the role of Einsatztruppen and planned mass murders of civilians? Were the Nazis really pure technocrats?
     
  13. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    And to start with the war, the Red Army strategy was to take the battle to the enemy area, so that destruction on the own side would be minimal. Does not sound like "let´s sacrifice millions of our own" strategy. On the contrary.
     
  14. Robert53WW2Buff

    Robert53WW2Buff recruit

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    Hitler could have kept doing whatever he wanted within the borders of his new empire prior to the invasion of Poland had he refrained from invading Poland in 1939. By having signed the nonaggression pact with the Soviets and then launching the invasion of Poland, he triggered a long term collision course with Russia that resulted in Operation Barbarossa in 1941 because Russia was now a participant in the war and Europe was not big enough for both totalitarian empires. Had there been no nonaggression pact with Stalin and no invasion of Poland, and hence, no World War II, Hitler could have kept all the territories he took before. England and France would not have done anything about it. Following the invasion of Poland and the bringing into the war of Russia, Hitler had awakened the appetite of this awakened giant and would have to invade it later on. The invasion of the Soviet Union was national suicide for Nazi Germany because the Third Reich already had its hands full with occupying the conquered territories and was totally unprepared for a long war against Great Britain. Moreover, Hitler failed to realize that Russia would be equipped militarily by the United States and Britain whereas his forces would be bled dry. Germany lacked enough resources to wage this war on its own strength. Moreover, Hitler had failed to beef up Germany's preparedness for the Russian front. First, Hitler did not order the manufacture of long range bombers with which to attack the factories beyond the Ural Mountains. Second, Hitler failed to equip the German armed forces with winter uniforms. Third, Hitler failed to prioritize his forces to seize Moscow as soon as his forces were in Russia proper itself. By launching the invasion of the Soviet Union, the Third Reich hastened its own defeat.
     
  15. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    ... and, as we know now, the Russian "Drang nach Westen" was utterly counterproductive!
     
  16. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    Soviet expansionism started after Hitler came to power and was rather limited in scope and targetted at the "Versailles creations" and "ceasefire based" borders, many of which contained large russian minorities. (The USSR despite Russia's huge contibution to the entente victory was not invited at Versailles). Hitler on the other hand was not targetting historically contested areas but aiming at Ukraine that has never had a significant Germanic population.
    IMO the root of WW2 in Europe was Versailles, aggravated by French inter war poilicies, not Hitler. At Versailles the Entente supported the creation of numerous small states, some of which contained significant German minorities and then the French developed a strategy based on the Maginot that shouted to the world that they would not intervene to help them. The Society on Nations didn't do a thing when the new states started "ethnic cleansing" (as it was easily predictable they would) and this paved the way for German revanchism as soon as they got a military again. If Germany had not gotten a madman they may well have gotten away with recovering the 1914 borders (except Alsace-Lorraine), the West was scared stiff of the Soviets and, once the Maginot doctrine assured the Eastern minors would eventually fall, would be basically faced with a choice between capitalist Germany going East and "the reds" moving West .....
     
  17. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    In my view Versailles was just a »trigger« whilst the real reasons were much deeper: the idea that a Nation can achieve real greatness in the Greater Imperial Germany where just one Nation has the right to multiply and spread at cost of »un-worthy« nations was the real reason for the war. Supremacy over the formed subject nations has turned into tradition, granted to the ruling Race which should be defended even on the battlefield.

    I fully agree that the national emancipation has turned into a brutal nationalism which has resulted ethnical cleansing. This unfortunately includes also expulsion of Italian minority which has existed all over the Mediterranean since the Ancient Rome. That was an enormous cultural loss for all "new" nations.
     
  18. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    Hitler whole reason was about eliminating the Soviet Union. It was inevitable that he would go after the SOviets. An excellent book is "wages of Destruction" ,Tozer. He discusses how Germany was critically dependent on the Soviets for resources. The German economy would have collapsed if the Soviets had not supplied Germany during the start of the war.
    Also with out the Maginot line France would not have been able to contemplate fighting Germany. The line freed up troops so France could have a reserve. An interesting hypothosis is that the French and British did not attack Germany because they believed that Germany would collapse economicaly as it did in WW1. They badly miscalculated that Stalin would not supply Germany with the materials they needed to keep fighting.
     
  19. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    That's the basic assumption behind colonialism, and colonialism was widely accepted in 1939. I see no moral difference between land grabs at the expense of Ukranians rather than Zulus, Ethiopians, Arabs, Native Americans etc, etc, etc.

    AFAIK Allied grand strategy WAS staying put behind the Maginot until the blockade and air warfare (attacking the Rhur from French bases was a much easier proposition than doing it from the UK) weakened it enough to allow a successful attack in 1941 or 1942. IMO, while Soviet resources helped, the real spoke in the weel of that strategy was the aggressive mindset of the Germans, coupled with devastatingly effective offensive tactics, that quickly knocked out Poland and brought about a succesfull attack in France. I think Napoleon understands war better than Tooze, the moral element is a lot more important than the material element, given the will the means can usually be found barring extreme cases.
    Allied pre-war planners would consider the historical axis 1939-41 timetable irrealistic and foolishly risky (they historically overwhelmed Poland, Denmark, Norway. The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Yougoslavia and Greece, by comparison the 1914 central powers were still struggling against Serbia in 1915 and never managed to completely conquer Belgium.
    The aim of the Maginot, like of all fortifications, is act as a defensive force multiplier so that forces can be spared for use elsewhere, but, barring a half harted attempt in Norway, the allies attemped no offensive opperations, the combined Commonwealth and French armies were on a par with Germany, if concentrated, but they felt safe they could win any defensive battle and didn't make an all out effort at mobilization (compare the number of British divisions in France in 1940 and 1915).

    The basic mistake of Anglo-French grand strategy was assuming that economics/attrition by itself would bring them victory ignoring that will/shock is much more often decisive in combat.
     
  20. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

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    Two points.
    1. The British and the French did push their troops to the borders with Belgium expecting to meet the Wehrmacht there. Are you suggesting they would have done better if they attacked?
    2. Germany and Japan were brought down by attrition.
     

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