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Did Hitler want to win the war?

Discussion in 'WWII Today' started by JuanMaddox, Jan 15, 2020.

  1. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    Interesting perspective. There was very little practical significance to Germany declaring war first. The only functional change was that they could operate without restriction in the Atlantic, but the Kriegsmarine was unaware of either Japan's or Hitler's intentions. It took a month to get just five U-boats on the way to American waters and it would have been little different in the case of say an American declaration of war in February.

    Can anyone suggest any disadvantage to the Germans if the United States was the one to declare war? There was no Barbarossa- or Pearl Harbor-type surprise attack that we could launch. And even with the preference for "Germany first", actual hostilities in the Pacific would continue to draw forces away from preparation for something that would probably happen sometime in the Atlantic-European theater.

    The worst case for Germany would be Roosevelt asking for and getting a declaration of war in the days immediately following Pearl Harbor, making the case that Japan's actions were emboldened by and linked to her allies' war in Europe (ironically the Tripartite Pact might benefit FDR's argument more than the Fuhrer's). Let's say they're all at war as of Dec 11 - what would be the harm, other than to Hitler's ego?
     
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  2. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Yes, in one case he is arguing the "letter of the law" and the other case he is arguing the "spirit of the law".

    Trying to have his cake and eat it too.
     
  3. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    Pretty much the only consistent thing is arguing. Sometime we should tell him he's right about something and see if he insists that he's wrong ;)
     
  4. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Except a formal German Declaration of War does nothing to ensure that Japan stays in the war.
     
  5. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    I feel I'm completely out of my depth here....but that won't stop me from sounding off a bit.... ;)

    As I recall, Hitler had expressed interest in attacking the US and occupying the Azores. (I forget the timeline.) However, his staff had argued against it. There was pressure to keep the war on a manageable scale (you might argue that things were getting a bit out of hand with Nazis busy in Russia, Greece, and Africa, as well as defending against the pesky Brits.).

    If I can be so bold, I'd like to assert that OKW as a collective wanted to postpone war with the USA until they were in a better position to defeat the USA. Hitler was dismissive of the US's military capability (and inferior soldiers), but I think a number of his staff had a more realistic assessment.

    If the war with could have been postponed until '43, as Roosevelt seems to be planning, might Germany have been able to consolidate her gains (and loses) in the rest of the theaters? Would Germany have been in a better position to handle American intervention?

    I don't know how crucial American active intervention in the war really was. This is question that rattles around in my little brain. As long as American (and Allied ) material was supporting the USSR's fight, I think the Nazis were doomed. When did active American intervention start to make a difference? Torch? A bit.

    But by that time the Nazis were committing suicide in Leningrad, Moscow, and Stalingrad. The Russian Bear had been provoked and was well out of hibernation. I suspect that Nazi Germany was doomed by late '42/early '43. The impact of the US entry into the fray was minimal at that time.

    The benefit of starting the war in '41 for Germany might have been seen in gaining an edge in the Battle of the Atlantic.

    The amount of shipping sunk increased:

    [​IMG]


    While U-boat loses were not significantly worsened:

    [​IMG]


    What these graphs don't convey is how quickly U-boats were being replaced or how much the delivery of goods to Britain and Russia was impacted. (I need to learn more about that, but I believe I've read that the net amount of stuff arriving in Britain didn't change much.)

    Back to the question, "What would be the harm?" I don't know. I think at that point the die was cast, the blood just hadn't been spilled yet. (But that's all minimally informed speculation!)
     
  6. wm.

    wm. Well-Known Member

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    But the Anti-Comintern Treaty wasn't against Russia, it was against the Comintern - an international, Al Qaeda-like organization that operated outside Russia.
    Outwardly it was an organization created by the world proletariat fighting against its capitalistic oppressors. They had their headquarters in Russia, but police actions against the Comintern technically weren't against Russia.

    Both Germany and Japan had a non-aggression treaty with the USSR so everything was fair, even, and symmetrical. The USSR was out of the scope of the Tripartite Pact.
    That was confirmed by its second version, which said it was only directed at the US and Britain.

    And the Tripartite pact didn't pledge them to fight together, it was: to help the other guy only in case of aggression.
    So it was good and well when Hitler attacked the USSR, Japan didn't have to do anything.

    As to Japan, let's see what Henry Kissinger had to say about it ("America Re-enters the Arena"):
    To all practical purposes, America was at war on the sea with the Axis powers.
    Simultaneously, Roosevelt took up the challenge of Japan. In response to Japan's occupation of Indochina in July 1941, he abrogated America's commercial treaty with Japan, forbade the sale of scrap metal to it, and encouraged the Dutch government-in-exile to stop oil exports to Japan from the Dutch East Indies (present-day Indonesia).
    These pressures led to negotiations with Japan, which began in October 1941.
    Roosevelt instructed the American negotiators to demand that Japan relinquish all of its conquests, including Manchuria, by invoking America's previous refusal to "recognize" these acts.
    Roosevelt must have known that there was no possibility that Japan would accept.


    Don't you think that a proposal that a country can't accept, a proposal that will destroy it, both politically and economically, is an act of war?
     
  7. wm.

    wm. Well-Known Member

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    The Japanese were not going to guarantee him the war with the US he needed, i.e., a long one.
    Nothing for free.

    They promised him to fight as long as he needed in exchange for his declaration of war against the US.
     
  8. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Yet, after the war, Japan was forced to accept the same deal...

    Were they destroyed politically...No.

    Were they destroyed economically...No.
     
  9. wm.

    wm. Well-Known Member

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    Well, they were, and they were glowing in some places even.

    Six years ago nobody, literally nobody predicted Trump and the rise of nationalism all around the world.
    And you want the Japanese to be such Nostradamuses, it would requite god-like powers.
     
  10. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    I don't think so. I think it was really aimed at the USSR. "In November 1937 Mussolini did indeed accept a German alliance, the Anti-Comintern Pact against the Soviet Union (originally signed by Germany and Japan a year earlier). -- John Keegan, The Second World War (emphasis added)

    Might be true in spirit, but that's not how the pact reads. I'm not sure how the Japanese originally interpreted it.

    Interesting interpretation. I don't see it that way, but I could be wrong.

    OK, so it would have been acceptable for Germany to stay out of Japan's fight, too.



    I'm inclined to agree with Kissinger here, but I also acknowledge that is speculation on my part. I haven't seen any minutes or notes that would support that as being the 'Truth.'

    Did the USA push Japan into war? With hindsight, it seems that the pressure the US had been putting on Japan, in the context of the events of '31-'41, would almost certainly cause Japan to go to war. Was it a justifiable casus belli? No, not really.

    There are always alternatives to war. Was Japan negotiating with the USA in good faith? No. They wanted to be a super-power in Asia. How could they back down from their horrific and costly expansion up until that time? I don't think they could have. But that doesn't make America's actions acts of war. A drunk is still guilty of assault for hitting bartender who won't serve him another drink.

    If you are taking the Clauswitzian view that "War is merely the continuation of policy/politics with other means", I can agree to an extent. I think that's where Japan ended up. From an international law perspective? I don't think so. More importantly, the American people didn't think so.

    As Takao points out, Japan survived far worse than some limitations and lost territories. So, was there no alternative other than armed conflict?
     
  11. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    Wasn't that Emperor meant to be a God? ;):_oops:
     
  12. wm.

    wm. Well-Known Member

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    A justifiable casus belli was in the eye of the beholder, and Hitler was the beholder. Only his definition is important here.
    Similarily the Japanese thought it was a justifiable casus belli.
    There was no tribunal to determine was it or not. The only option was trial by combat.

    I suppose you think like a person wishing all the best for humanity. But he didn't care about it.
    The question here was he rational or irrational in his efforts to achieve his goal?
    And his goal was a great power status, like the US today.

    Which part of the Anti-Comintern Treaty was dangerous to the USSR itself? It's basically a defensive treaty. Similarily the Tripartite pact.
    Try to find more than that in them.
     
  13. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    "The Japanese signatories had hoped that the Anti-Comintern Pact would effectively be an alliance against the Soviet Union, which is certainly how the USSR perceived it. There was also a secret additional protocol which specified a joint German-Japanese policy specifically aimed against the Soviet Union. However, after the accession of Italy to the pact and especially the German-Soviet rapprochement after the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, it gained an increasingly anti-western and anti-British identity as well." -- wiki
    And.....I think I've beaten this horse sufficiently. I doubt I have anything more to offer here. It's been fun and I've learned a good bit. So, for me, a worthwhile thread. Who knew a 'bot' could be so useful? :thumbup:
     
  14. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    It has nothing to do with being Nostradamus...

    The Japanese military put it's own self-interest before that of the Japanese nation.
     
  15. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    You have not read the Secret Protocol to the Anti-Comintern Pact have you
    Hmmmm...Did the Japanese give their consent to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact?

    I don't think so.

    But, keep trying wm.
     
  16. wm.

    wm. Well-Known Member

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    You are mistaken.

    The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact didn't ease the situation of the U.S.S.R.
    So the Japanese didn't have to give their consent to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.

    Assuming it did,
    the "to ease the situation of the U.S.S.R" clause depended on "an unprovoked attack or threat of attack by the U.S.S.R" - that wasn't the case so the Japanese didn't have to give their consent to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.

    Because it didn't ease, and
    because there was no "unprovoked attack"
    the pact didn't violate "the spirit of this agreement"
    so so the Japanese didn't have to give their consent to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.
     
  17. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Still swinging and missing I see.

    As usual you only see what you want to see. Completely ignoring Article 2.
    Yet, here is Germany concluding a political treaty with the USSR that will provide military equipment and war-making supplies in clear violation of the spirit of the agreement
    [/Quote]
     
  18. wm.

    wm. Well-Known Member

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    Germany concluded a political treaty with the USSR and the treaty didn't violate the spirit of the earlier agreement.

    The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact didn't provide military military equipment and war-making supplies to the USSR.
     
  19. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Yeah, it did...Even the Japanese said it did.

    That would be the Credit agreement & later Commercial Agreement, done under the auspices of the M- R Pact.


    So, again we return to the fact that Germany only obeys it's treaties at the whim of Hitler.
     
  20. Arusha

    Arusha Member

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    1) Concerning treaties, agreements and pacts, there had been a dozen of treaties, agreements and pacts concluded by nearly all European players with THE THIRD REICH before M-R Pact was made.
    Pact Signatory Countries Date

    Hitler – Piłsudski Pact Germany and Poland 26 January 1934

    Anglo –German Naval Agreement Britain and Germany 18 June 1935

    Munich – Agreement Germany, Britain, France and Italy 29 September 1938

    Hitler – Chamberlain Pact
    (Nonaggression Declaration) Germany and Britain 30 September 1938

    Bonnet – Ribbentrop Pact
    (Nonaggression Declaration) Germany and France 6 December 1938

    Dusseldorf Agreement
    (Economic deal on Europe) Germany and Britain 5 March 1939

    Economic Relations Agreement Germany and Romania 23 March 1939

    Urbšys - Ribbentrop Pact Germany and Lithuania 22 March 1939

    Nonaggression Pact Germany and Denmark 31 May 1939

    Selter – Ribbentrop Pact Germany and Estonia 7 June 1939

    Munters – Ribbentrop Pact Germany and Latvia 7 June 1939

    Molotov – Ribbentrop Pact Germany and the USSR 23 August 1939

    2) Where it boils down to Agreement with Germany, the U.S.S.R received Germany's military technologies and military hardware models in exchange for supplies.

    3) Concerning political and miliary intrique, I have a highly controvercial "conspiracy theory" to trade:

    a) The Shaposhnikov Memorandum
    Big Chess Game played by Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Japan and the U.S.S.R resulting in WWII and, consequently, direct involvement of the U.S.A. into the Old World affairs leading up to where we are now.


    b) FROM WHENCE COMETH THE THREAT
    Stalin's efforts to find solution to a problem and which he failed to resolve "hard as he tried", i.e. to kill the imminent war at its source

     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2020

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