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If Operation Barbarossa had been delay by one year?

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe' started by Todd W Secrest, Feb 4, 2020.

  1. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    Good question. I don't see the Germans being completely free of a North Africa/Middle East commitment even if they captured Alexandria or the Suez Canal. British Empire forces in the Middle East were supplied by convoys around Africa and from South Africa, India, Australia, New Zealand, etc. Even if they were pushed back to Sudan, Palestine, Syria, Iraq they would still be there, planning to retake their lost territory and forcing the Germans to maintain sufficient forces to hold them off.

    Japan's entry into the larger war stemmed from their ongoing war in China and the economic sanctions imposed by the United States. The absence of a Russo-German conflict would not seem to change this. Most of the British Empire's military power would still be tied up fighting the Germans and Italians. The Japanese would have installed themselves in Vichy French Indochina. No doubt having Russia tied up in a life-or-death struggle with Germany was helpful, but all of the Russo-Japanese conflicts had been initiated by the Japanese; they could feel reasonably safe about their northern flank while striking south to obtain the resources they needed.

    Historically the opening of war in the Far East dragged British Empire resources away from the Middle East, to the benefit of the Germans, and that would still be true in our current scenario.

    So we come to the question of whether Hitler would declare war on the United States, his greatest error in the opinion of many including myself. Historically he was fighting a major war with Russia, which had just taken a disasterous turn with the Soviet offensive beginning December 6. In our scenario, he would be preparing to launch the attack on Russia in spring 1942, with the confidence that it would collapse once he kicked in the door. In his mind, the danger of fighting both America and Russia might appear less than it did in real life.
     
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  2. Christopher67

    Christopher67 Member

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    I am fully aware of the political justifications.

    But Im also fully aware that food shortages and lack of oil were the principle reasons for launching Barbarossa to begin with.

    Politics provided motivational justification. But political considerations must and always will form only a backdrop to economic realities.

    Remember, that Wilhelmenian Germany had gone to war in 1914 principally because it was believed that it was the "right" time, that the principal enemies of Germany would be that much stronger if left to prepare for much longer, particularly in the case of Czarist Russia.
    The same justifications were applied to Barbarossa. In so many words, the attitude was that the invasion be launched sooner rather than later, or it would be too late to launch an invasion at all.

    Both decisions were driven forward by economics, with political (and later racial) ideology serving only to bolster morale.

    Politics could not change essential facts stemming from industrial truths.

    Germany had to launch Barbarossa in 1941 or not at all..
     
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  3. James Stewart

    James Stewart Active Member

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    Hitler described it as being "A war of annihilation". The "living space" notion, how in God's name was he going to sell it to the Volk". Heydrich had attempted to "Germanise" his "Protectorate" and found that people simply did not want to move the region if they could not do this how they expected to sell Russia as a "new home" to a people who simply did not want to go. Ideology and reality often clash.
    Economically there was a shortfall in labour in the agricultural sector for some time, the employment of French POWs and later "workers from the east" were used to relieve this chronic deficit. Germany became a state which depended on forced labour and slave labour.
    Germany under the NSDAP was working on loans and bonds a short term solution to fund the Fuhrer, it was in the long run unsustainable and inflationary pressures were building prior to Sept 39, the taking of the Czechs and Austria had eased things a little. Germany could not afford the Nazis and their pipedreams, for all Germanys conquests in 1940 she really did not economically benefit greatly from them.
     
  4. Christopher67

    Christopher67 Member

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    Germany was under pressure in 1941 from basic lack of food and oil.

    The three million man army was not tied down by other fronts, and they were refusing to supply oil to a close ally like Italy even when it was obvious that the Italians needed the stuff desperately.

    The lands and cities of conquered nations were being stripped bare of foodstuffs and economic loot just to keep the wheels turning. If deliveries from the Russians right up to June of 1941 were not enough to prevent this, then yes, Barbarossa was an act of economic desperation justified politically and socially by calling the Russians "Judeo-Bolsheviks" and classifying them as "subhuman", or "untermenschen".

    Just remember that Stalin was in the middle of a phase in the Soviet economy called "Catch Up and Overtake". Stalin's requests for trade in exchange for foodstuffs and raw materials were all military products. He wanted samples to copy and blueprints for things like warships and submarines, and other "catch-up" type requests that would give Soviet industry a boost. In fact, I've read that Soviet delegations were described by western observers as "descending on Germany like a hoard of locusts"

    Time, to both Hitler and the planners of Barbarossa, did not seem to be on the side of the Germans at all. Hitler, in early 1942, just before the start of "Operation Fall Blau" is on record as saying "If I don't get oil, then I must end this war."

    The pressure was on
     
  5. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    There is outside pressure and self imposed pressure.

    If there was food shortages, Germany could have deferred all or part of the 1941 conscripts or released the oldest veterans to return back to farming. Britain would not be a threat to German control of western Europe for many years to come without a outside (US or Russia) direct threat. Germany would also not need as many draft animals for a army staying put. Then there were all the French, Polish and other POW's that could have been sent home to work the land. Finally you had the Jews, gypsy's, homosexuals and other so called undesirables rounded up and sent to ghetto's and camps lost to productive work.

    Hitler fell back on the wife beater's argument, it's your fault for my violence.
     
  6. green slime

    green slime Member

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    The food "shortages" could not to be alleviated by releasing men back into the agricultural workforce. Germany (and Europe) was not self-sustainable in foodstuffs at all, and had not been so during the last 100 odd years. Feeding Europe required imports, and Europe was blockaded. Only in recent decades, with modern agriculture, vast subsidies, and significant EU effort, does Europe produce enough food to feed itself. People starved in mainland Europe during WW1, and they did so in WW2. The Great Famine in Greece (in general, it is estimated that Greece suffered approximately 300,000 deaths during the Axis occupation as a result of famine and malnutrition) was the worst in Non-Eastern Europe during WW2. But across Western Europe, the caloric intake plummeted. The situation was worst in the occupied Eastern Europe, where millions starved.
    The famines of WWII | VOX, CEPR Policy Portal

    It was precisely the German experience of WW1, that prompted such harsh measures against the occupied countries;
    Food Fights
     

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