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Hans von Seeckt


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#1 harolds

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Posted 30 October 2014 - 12:36 AM

Without Hans von Seeckt would Hitler have had the army AND Luftwaffe that conquered most of Europe?



#2 harolds

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Posted 30 October 2014 - 06:15 PM

forward



#3 lwd

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Posted 30 October 2014 - 06:28 PM

wouldn't that depend on who replaced him?



#4 harolds

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Posted 30 October 2014 - 11:00 PM

By the time he was replaced the institution that he had crafted was pretty much set up, as was the mechanism for rapid expansion of the Heer once it was decided to throw off the WWI peace treaty. The army he left behind was probably the most forward thinking one in the world at that time. This was not only due to von Seeckt, but also the very talented men he had around him who were given a lot of leeway to create the best army in the world. They also created the Luftwaffe, by the way.



#5 Carronade

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Posted 31 October 2014 - 12:10 PM

I don't think "replaced" was meant in terms of a successor so much as some else being head of the Reichswehr from the start.  I think the basic idea that Germany should prepare for rearmament and future war was widely held, so much of what von Seeckt did would have happened regardless.  One question might be whether someone else would have been as willing to cooperate with the Bolsheviks.



#6 harolds

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Posted 31 October 2014 - 03:22 PM

Ok, I misunderstood. I'm sure there would have been rearmament no matter what, but Seeckt pushed for an army that was totally modern and free from the "we've always done it that way!" mentality. He surrounded himself with the best and brightest officers and gave them free reign to think outside the box, as we say now. He did this while keeping everything under wraps. I'm not convinced that if somebody else had been in the job the Heer would have been the quality that it was in 1939.



#7 Carronade

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Posted 04 November 2014 - 02:29 PM

That's a good point.  I was hoping we'd get some more comments on this.



#8 lwd

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Posted 04 November 2014 - 02:52 PM

It almost certainly wouldn't have been the same.  Wether better or worse is hard to say especially without looking at his likely replacements.



#9 harolds

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Posted 04 November 2014 - 03:40 PM

Here are some possibilities: Ludendorf, Jochim von Stulpnagel, Kurt von Schleicher and Walter von Brauchitsch.



#10 lwd

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Posted 04 November 2014 - 03:52 PM

So how do they compare to him in ways that might impact the force?



#11 TiredOldSoldier

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Posted 05 November 2014 - 07:07 PM

I think his influence on the Luftwaffe was minimal, on the other hand the core of modern thinkers he encouraged amongst the officer corps greatly contributed to the German victories. I'm not very knowledgeable on the possible alternatives but Ludendorf is likely to go political. This opens the possibility of a slightly less proficient German military but with no Nazi on top as the Army blocked them, that combination could possibly win WW2 for Germany as the drastic resizing imposed by Versailles was going to get rid of the "old school" no matter who was on top.


Truth is the first victim of conflict

#12 harolds

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Posted 06 November 2014 - 03:33 PM

Actually TOS, the Truppenamt under Seeckt encouraged the growth an air service by including several former aviators. Also included in the second level of officers were Kesselring, Student, Weaver, Jeschonnik and Felmy, among others (many general staff trained) who became important in the Luftwaffe. Also under Seeckt, the secret deal with the USSR was completed which allowed for some hands-on experience when the Germans weren't supposed to even be thinking about an air force.

 

I would also suggest that the Truppenamt could have gone the other way, as in many militaries, and have the "old school" retain control. If that had happened I suspect that Hitler's "Thousand Year Reich" would have had a much shorter existence than it actually had.



#13 TiredOldSoldier

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 07:38 AM

While there was an influx of professional soldiers my impression is that in the Luftwaffe the"seat of the pants" former WW1 fighter pilots  usually had the upper hand over the professional soldiers. That doesn't look like Seeckt's plan though the background work that made the rapid expansion possible was his doing. So the LW ended up more  "old school" than the Heer and that led to a lack of in depth strategic planning (not that the Germans were very good at long range planning but the Heer in general made much less waste of resources than the LW did) . The Germans missed a lot of opportunities because of that.


Truth is the first victim of conflict

#14 harolds

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 03:47 PM

I think Goring had a few of the "old eagles" around him but I don't think they were anything more than aides. The only "old eagle" in the LW high command, other than Goring himself, was Ernst Udet. Udet, who honestly protested his appointment on the grounds that he wasn't competent for the position, was put in charge of R&D of the LW. Both Goring and Udet were disasters in their respective positions but other, more competent officers, compensated to a degree for their errors. As you probably already know, both Udet and Jeschonnek committed suicide due to the pressures of their office.



#15 LJAd

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 05:55 PM

 Both Goring and Udet were disasters in their respective positions

This is very much exaggerated



#16 LJAd

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 06:00 PM

I think Goring had a few of the "old eagles" around him but I don't think they were anything more than aides. 

Keller,Lörzer,von Richthoven,von Greim,von Pohl were highly decorated pilots in WWI,but also professional soldiers .



#17 USMCPrice

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 07:15 PM

By the time he was replaced the institution that he had crafted was pretty much set up, as was the mechanism for rapid expansion of the Heer once it was decided to throw off the WWI peace treaty. The army he left behind was probably the most forward thinking one in the world at that time. This was not only due to von Seeckt, but also the very talented men he had around him who were given a lot of leeway to create the best army in the world. They also created the Luftwaffe, by the way.

 

I don't think it's a given that it was the "Best" army in the world. While we're giving him credit for the positives should we also give him the responsibility for the German military's comparative lack of supporting forces? Lot's of teeth not enough tail so to speak.


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#18 harolds

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 11:22 PM

1. Goring and Udet WERE disasters! This was especially true for Goring after the war started. Let's see he was lazy, overly political, a drug addict, more into stealing goodies from the occupied countries than doing his job. His command "style" relied heavily on calling names. As far as I can tell, most other heads of their countries air services were professional military men. Goring was a professional criminal.

 

Udet was a wonderful pilot, womanizer and drunk. He was in no way up to the technical responsibilities of the post given to him. Aircraft development was horribly screwed up under him. However, to his credit, he realized this and tried to get out of the job but Goring insisted he take it. Another check mark against "Fatty"!

 

2. If the German army wasn't the best in the world in 1939-41, which one was?



#19 lwd

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Posted 10 November 2014 - 01:13 PM

...

2. If the German army wasn't the best in the world in 1939-41, which one was?

Rather depends on how you define "best" doesn't it?



#20 harolds

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Posted 10 November 2014 - 02:09 PM

How do you define it?



#21 lwd

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Posted 10 November 2014 - 06:06 PM

I can see a number of possible defintions.  It all depends on what angle you want to look at it from.  That's one reason I don't much care for "best" threads as usually there is no agreed upon or even stated defintion of "best".  If for instance you take into account resources and manpower I think the Finn's might merit some consideration as best especially in the 38-40 time frame.  Depending on what kind of operations and whether you are looking at overall capablity and how you are defineing the various sub capabilites you can get quite a variety of different answers.


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#22 LJAd

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Posted 10 November 2014 - 08:32 PM

Here are some possibilities: Ludendorf, Jochim von Stulpnagel, Kurt von Schleicher and Walter von Brauchitsch.

These people were totally excluded as replacements for Seeckt :Ludendorff was considered as gaga (not wrongly) and the others were to young  in 1926:von Stülpnagel :46,von Schleicher : 44,von Brauchitz :45.

 

Besides,von Stülpnagel was eliminated by von Schleicher,who was a politician:he never commanded even a batallion .



#23 LJAd

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Posted 10 November 2014 - 08:41 PM

1. Goring and Udet WERE disasters! This was especially true for Goring after the war started. Let's see he was lazy, overly political, a drug addict, more into stealing goodies from the occupied countries than doing his job. His command "style" relied heavily on calling names. As far as I can tell, most other heads of their countries air services were professional military men. Goring was a professional criminal.

 

Udet was a wonderful pilot, womanizer and drunk. He was in no way up to the technical responsibilities of the post given to him. Aircraft development was horribly screwed up under him. However, to his credit, he realized this and tried to get out of the job but Goring insisted he take it. Another check mark against "Fatty"!

 

2. If the German army wasn't the best in the world in 1939-41, which one was?

If  one is accusing  Göring to be  responsible for the defeats of the LW,who started in 1942 (exception :the BoB),one must give him the credit for the expansion and the victories of the LW.

 

Udet was not a drunk:he started to drink to much in 1941,when he was faced by insoluble problems,which were not his fault.

The problems were mainly caused by the aircraft industry(the role of Messerschmidt was nefast)who refused to follow the orders of the LW,using their connections :it took the threat of Mich to put these gentlemen in Dachau to make them to  toe the line.



#24 Carronade

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Posted 11 November 2014 - 09:13 PM

If  one is accusing  Göring to be  responsible for the defeats of the LW,who started in 1942 (exception :the BoB),one must give him the credit for the expansion and the victories of the LW.

 

Must one?  I'll agree there's more to history than just "so-and-so was stupid", but criticisms of Goring are based on specific acts or policies of his which had demonstrable negative effects.  How many specific positive contributions can we point to?  His relationship with Hitler no doubt helped the Luftwaffe in the battles for funding and resources, but it's not like there wouldn't have been a German air force without him.  The German military appreciated the significance of the air arm, going back to von Seeckt and the covert development program in Russia.  Goring and Udet might get credit for the dive bombers, but the Germans in WWI had pioneered close air support and designed aircraft specifically for that purpose.  Goring's Luftwaffe had little coherent policy in the 1930s except expansion, and it was still barely ready for war in 1939.  I'd be glad to give Goring credit for any accomplishments, but what were they?



#25 harolds

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Posted 11 November 2014 - 10:49 PM

Perhaps we can say that Goring helped to create the Luftwaffe as an independent force, not part of the Heer or Kriegsmarine. ("Everything that flies belongs to me!") After BoB, his influence was mostly, but not entirely, negative and it got worse as time went on. Typical examples were ones we have been discussing: putting the wrong people in positions they weren't qualified for and using the "divide and dominate" technique (Hitler's favorite) without reining in conflicting personalities within his organization.

 

Sorry LJAd, Udet was pretty much a hard partying guy from the word go, which certainly wasn't a unique trait among airmen. It probably got worse towards the end, but a competent Reichsmarshall wouldn't have put him in the job in the first place.

 

The Luftwaffe had to fight a war while trying to establish itself as an independent service starting from almost scratch in 1935. Goring over-promoted the capabilities of his service leading Hitler to believe that it was capable of much more than it actually was. Strategic bombing of the UK with a mostly tactical force, and the Stalingrad airlift are good cases in point. It should also be noted that Goring was particularly servile in his relationship with Hitler, without the moral fortitude to confront him.






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