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When did Germany lose the war?

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by David Scott, Sep 30, 2011.

  1. David Scott

    David Scott Member

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    When was the war lost for the Germans?:

    1) When they invaded the Soviet Union

    2) The turn south early in the Russian campaign rather than driving on to Moscow

    3) Germany’s declaration of war on the United States

    4) HItler’s gross interference and mismanagement in Case Blue resulting in Stalingrad

    5) Kursk

    6) Some other point
     
  2. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    How about when Hitler siezed power? The combination of his economic and political programs set Germany on a road to disaster that would have required someome far more competent and less idealogically oriented to prevent.
     
  3. David Scott

    David Scott Member

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    Well, I understand your point, but one can wax even more philosophical than that and answer: “When Hitler’s father’s sperm won the race to Hitler’s mother’s egg.”

    I listed five salient events of the war in chronological order and was asking if Germany still could have achieved victory in the wake of each one, or if not at which of these points the situation became such that no matter what the Germans did they could no longer achieve victory. Some perhaps might position another point in the war that I did not list.
     
  4. rfear

    rfear Member

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    While working with an ex german soldier in the 70's I asked the same question
    He said "when Hitler declared war on the U.S." He knew they were done.
     
  5. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I would argue at that point many options were still open. Once Hitler was in firm control the train wreck was in motion. Perhaps removing him in the mid 30's would have avoided it but even that is questionable the political, diplomatic, and economic conditions were all pointing to a crissis prior to 41.

    In order to answer the question needs to be refined considerably.
    1) Are you differentiating the Germans and the Nazis?
    2) What do you consider a victory?
    3) What can change? For instance Hitler thought that after the initial assault on the Soviet Union the Soviet system would collapse. There was indeed some chance of this. He also thought that the British would want to come to terms after the fall of France. With Churchill at the helm that wasn't going to happen with other leaders perhaps. Then there are question of what would have happened if the German's had at least acted like liberaters when they attacked the USSR? Hardly something the Nazi's were capable of but still a question that has been debated.
     
  6. David Scott

    David Scott Member

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    That would have been my initial response as well. However, I believe that at the time of Pearl Harbor it might have still been possible for the Germans to have achieved victory in the Soviet Union; almost certainly to have achieved a favorable truce with Stalin. At that point, Hitler might have been persuaded by Raeder and others to pursue the Mediterranean strategy which might have forced the British to capitulate (retaining their home islands, which Hitler was never hell bent on conquering in the first place, and perhaps much of her colonial possessions—an offer Hitler repeatedly made to the U.K. after the fall of France) before the U. S. could have brought her forces to bear. With no base to mass forces in Europe, the U.S. might have bowed out of the European conflict and concentrated on the war against Japan. If Hitler refused to accept a truce with the U.S. (unless we also made one with Japan), then any war between Germany and the United States would have de facto become another “phony war” with little actual armed conflict beyond submarine warfare.

    Nevertheless, Hitler’s decision to actually (for once!) honor a treaty and declare war on the U.S. has to be the most monumentally stupid decision in the history of the world! To declare war on a potentially powerful foe whose homeland was so far away that one has no way to even attack it (save U-boat attacks in American waters) while the new enemy has the realistic potential to eventually invade one’s own country (due to her naval and transport capabilities which Germany lacked) is so absurd as to almost defy understanding.

    The irony was that the one time Hitler actually chose to honor a treaty, he was under no moral obligation to do so! Germany’s treaty with Japan called for the two countries to come to each other’s aid in the event of an attack. To call Pearl Harbor an attack by the United States upon Japan is incomprehensible. Japan was very little help to Germany throughout the war, while the United States became a formidable enemy. Japan refused to declare war on the U. S. S. R. which is what the Germans desperately needed.
     
  7. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    Stalin and Hitler lost the war when British rescued their army and their soul at
    Dunkirk. After that no accomodation of political means would be made with
    Germany. Total war for the UK. Although she could not win the war, Britain could
    not now lose the islands. The islands that would be necessary for the USA and
    Britian and its commonwealth and other allies to do what they eventually did.
    Germany declaring war on USA if there was no Britain around at that time would
    have not been such a mistake. Stalins Red army where never then going to
    take the whole of Europe in their own march at a later date. Without Britain, we wouldnt all be speaking German now as some like to say, more likely Russian.
     
  8. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    His treaty with Japan didn't require that he declare war on the US, or any other nation. The terms only applied if the Japanese (or other Axis states) WERE attacked, not if they did the attacking. He didn't really "honor" a treaty, he warped it hoping he could get the Japanese to attack the Soviet Union in the far east.

    As to when the Nazis began to see the whole thing unravel, I would still vote for the last month (the whole of it) of 1941. Not only did Hitler declare war on the US, the only time he ever declared war, his troops were attacked the day before (Dec. 6th) and thrown back from their gains in the first Soviet offensive. Until the time of the Casablanca Conference, and the declaration of "ONLY UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER" policy in Feb. of 1943, it might (repeat MIGHT) have been possible for Hitler to reach a negotiated peace in Europe. But he would have failed in his war aims, and probably not been long for the seat of power he had held up until December of 1941.

    In terms of his war-making ability, from then on it was not "one win after another", but mostly loss and attempts at consolidation and defense. Almost without exception. Just my opinion of course, but it does appear to be nearly all "downhill" for the most part from early 1942 on.
     
  9. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    With,or without hindsight?
    Btw:irrevocably is superfluous,you have lost,or you have not lost .
     
  10. David Scott

    David Scott Member

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    Hitler controlled Germany and her military. Therefore, I fall to see a distinction.

    I would define victory for Germany (i.e., Hitler) to have been the end of hostilities with Germany controlling most of European Russia and retaining their other conquests in Europe.

    What could have changed is the point of my note. If the German military had been issued different orders than the ones it had been in fact, were there any alternative orders possible in the wake of the events I list (and possibly others that other people might position as the ultimate turning point) that would have secured victory for Germany, or had the situation been too far gone at the end of one (or all) of these events?
     
  11. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    I would propose that by December of 1941 the possibility of a Nazi "win" was out of the picture, and it was the tipping point from which limiting loss was Germany's only option, and a negotiated peace was removed from the picture in Feb. of 1943. Again, this is using the lens of hindsight, but from this position in history it is the only lens we have.
     
  12. David Scott

    David Scott Member

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    Clint:

    My entire viewpoint of the Russian war (and FDR as well!) changed when I completed reading—oddly enough—works of historical fiction: Herman Wouk’s masterpieces The Winds of War and War and Remembrance. For those who claim that Russia did little more in WWII than defend her own borders, Mr. Wouk’s analysis might prove enlightening. The sacrifices the Russians were forced to make were mind-boggling and cast shame upon France’s capitulation after the loss in blood of only a relative thimble compared to that of the U. S. S. R..

    (Please bear in mind that I’m a Republican, conservative and a virulent anti-communist who considers Stalin to have been an historical monster at least on a par with Hitler. I am simply stating facts as I have come to see them.)

    Much of FDR’s and Churchill’s strategy was to convince Stalin to keep on fighting at all costs and not to seek a separate peace, which at some point Hitler was certain to jump at. Had Hitler offered Stalin peace at the end of 1941, there is a good chance that Stalin might have agreed even at the expense of Hitler retaining some of his conquests. Therefore, I disagree that the German cause was irrevocably lost at the end of 1941. Their Blue offensive was powerful in the Summer of 1942 and might well have succeeded in landing a crippling blow to the U. S. S. R. had Hitler not botched matters with his dilettantish interference in the campaign.

    Therefore, notwithstanding the tremendous respect I have for your knowledge and judgment (from reading several of your notes on this forum), I must disagree with you here (er, respectfully! (G))
     
  13. David Scott

    David Scott Member

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    Listen you impertinent wag! I’m an amateur writer (under a pen name) who winces whenever I see the words “safe haven” used in tandem. Therefore, it pains me—upon due contemplation—that I must concede that “irrevocably lost” is indeed superfluous, a consideration that had not heretofore occurred to me. Mea culpa!

    As to your other point, yes in hindsight. As Clint has already noted, that is all we have at this point in time.

    Best,

    Dave

    P. S. I am editing my initial note to reflect my newly found grammatical education which I (albeit reluctantly!) thank you for. (And by way of preemption, there is nothing wrong with ending a sentence with a preposition, regardless of what Sister St. Milk of Magnesia once pontificated regarding the subject in days of yore when I had been this adorable, towheaded parochial school tyke!)
     
  14. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    The point here Dave is your question as to when the tide turned against Hitler and Germany. I posted my opinion using the lens of hindsight, which is all we can do today. I have no liking nor respect for Stalin, only for the peoples he controlled like a puppet master. They, the citizens of the Soviet Union defied the incursion of their western borders by the last of invaders of their nation (s).

    They were not defending Stalin, nor Communism exactly when they did so. Defending their industry, homes and farms from another invader. Not supporting Stalin precisely.

    And BTW, Churchill made the best defense of ending a sentence with a preposition when he was reprimanded by someone in the official press office. His dictate on that is priceless. See if you can find it, I would list it here but looking for it is half the fun.
     
  15. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    As long as our Republican writer friend speaks in Ingleseee it matters little. Grammar police dont exist on this forum, thank God.
     
  16. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Hitler lost when he declared war upon the US. If Hitler had proposed a neutrality or non-aggression pact with the US in the immediate aftermath of Pearl harbor, FDR would have been hard pressed to rebuff him or get a declaration of war against Germany from Congress. The American public was angry at Japan and politically FDR would have had a hard time justifying weapons, fuel, material, logistical and naval support being allocated to the Soviets and Britain when they were needed by US troops to fight Japan. Britain in that case would have not been able to financially, or logistically lend support to the Soviet Union either.
     
  17. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    I agree with Clint and Price. As soon as Hitler declared war on the US, he was finished, He was not required to do so with the terms of his treaty. There were plenty of people in the US who viewed Hitler (rightly or wrongly) as a bulwark against Communism. Had he stayed neutral, he had some public opinion on his side. Once he declared war on the US, the difference in what could be brought to bear was more than Germany could produce.
     
  18. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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  19. Victor Gomez

    Victor Gomez Ace

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    I would add my observation as to when the war began to be lost......at first Hitler didn't target the Jews knowing an important part of the German recovering economy needed their input to keep up recovery of the economy. Despite the near genius of German designs and production, when he began to target and eliminate the Jews in his ideal society.......he became just a step short of what he needed in industry to continue to fight his enemies. His use of slave labor could not replace that which he destroyed in the German industrial machine. To the degree he attacked this element of society he also became equally short the productions he "could have had" to enlarge the industrial output his war effort so badly needed. Within reach were all the superior weaponry that could have made the difference if it had been better enabled.....with the full workforce Germany had in the beginning, but succeeded in destroying, thereby insuring his failure.
     
  20. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    I'm not quoting you to be 'snitty', but the 'Hitler....was certain to' thinking was what trapped many politicians before and in the early stages of the War. Hitler's mental processes just didn't work along 'normal' lines. Germany would have been certain to jump at a separate peace.....but not necessarily Hitler. His 'thinking' remained remarkably consistent from Mein Kampf until he shot himself. Germany would either win on his terms or go under completely.

    At some point, many top Nazis ( Goering, Ribbentrop, Goebbels and Himmler ) put out 'feelers' of one kind or another to other countries but Hitler remained unbending. For him, it was victory - or Gotterdammerung.

    Back to your question ( which is something that can and will be argued ad infinitum ) but my own personal opinion is that the assault on the Soviet Union was the Great Divide for Hitler.

    As an Englishman, I'd love to nominate the Battle of Britain and if I were American I'd go for December 1941. But really, to me, the moment those guns opened up on 22nd June 1941 changed the entire nature of the War. There was no stopping or going back.

    Just my opinion..........
     
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