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Long held question regarding ww2

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Alliesfan, May 9, 2019.

  1. Alliesfan

    Alliesfan New Member

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    Hello, I’ve always held this question, and have always liked to discuss this with someone! Hopefully I find some interesting info and opinions here!

    What were the British demands for negotiations with Germany in 39/40? I’m assuming they were a return to pre war borders ( withdrawal from France, Poland etc ). Why didn’t Hitler ever consider this? I’ve always assumed that Britain had more in common with Germany at the time than with the USSR. Hitler was an evil maniac , but at this time the holocaust had not taken place. I’m assuming he would have made Jewish emigration a pretext for anything. As evil as this idea was, was it impossible? Was it really just an ego thing? I’ve always thought he could have saved himself a world of trouble by pulling back to his borders, opening talks with the allies , and teaming up against the USSR ( who even he believed with the true enemy of all capitalist countries, and the country he always planned to invade ). From what I’ve read Hitler always wanted to be an ally of Britain. I’ve always seen a scenario like this:

    Hitler realizes he needs Soviet oil. Hitler despises USSR. Opens talks with Britain. Cedes Poland and France back to their national governments. Even with this about face, he can always say “ I invaded you, and I won. But I never wanted this. I will pull out, and together we fight the true enemy , the USSR.”. Obviously I imagine all of this would be easier prior to the Battle of Britain.

    Am I the only one who has ever pondered this? I just feel like the whole Adolf Hitler was too much of an egomaniac and psycho to re approach the allies is too easy of an excuse...
     
  2. Owen

    Owen O

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    How do the Germans invade the USSR without going through Poland ?
     
  3. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    The Germans weren't ready to invade Russia in 39/40, were they?
     
  4. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    I don't think we can assume that other countries would just fall in line with whatever Hitler suggested.

    If Hitler was willing to have a "free" Polish government, he could have installed it as soon as the fighting stopped in 1939. Then he could make the pretense that he hadn't really "conquered" Poland, although it is unlikely that Britain or France find his rationale acceptable. Poland would become a satellite or client state, like it became for the Soviets after 1945. Hitler certainly wouldn't leave it up to the Poles to decide for themselves if they wished to join his anti-Soviet crusade.

    Speaking of the Soviets, Hitler had given them the eastern third of Poland, which they occupied starting September 17, 1939, while the main Polish armies were engaged with the Germans. As if invading and conquering Poland wasn't enough, he had betrayed them to the Russians - but when he changes his tune, they're supposed to trust him and become enthusiastic allies?
     
  5. wm.

    wm. Well-Known Member

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    Hitler intended to recreate Poland - as a German puppet state, similarly as Poland was recreated after the war as a Soviet puppet state.
    Preparations were made, but eventually Stalin objected and the Germans had to abandon the project - for the sake of friendship.

    Hitler's goal was to defeat France and to sign peace with Britain. Then Europe would be part of Germany's sphere of influence, and Germany would become one of the superpowers.
    The Jews would be sent to Poland or (providence willing) to Madagascar. They even started to create a Jewish reservation in Poland.

    Hitler didn't intend to attack the USSR until he lost the battle of Britain. He attacked because it was the only way to end the war - one of the more known propaganda slogans was: "Britain will be defeated in Russia."

    Nobody believed the USSR was dangerous (even Hitler) because objectively it wasn't (except for the weak and vulnerable), so the teaming up wouldn't work.
    Actually, the US, Britain, Germany made the USSR great.
    Soviet cars were Fords, Soviet tractors Fordson, the Americans built Magnitogorsk, and Soviet oil industry. The Soviets killed using German bullets.
     
  6. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Studebaker was popular during WWII, this one is in Red Army service.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Did it reach the stage where Britain actually formulated any demands? There might have been something right after the invasion of Poland perhaps associated with the declaration of war. Other than that I doubt there were demands as there would be little hope that Germany would agree to what Britain would consider acceptable.
    The latter was apparently Hitler's thoughts as well at least until after the fall of France. However Hitler needed Poland as a jumping off point for the war on the USSR. He also seems to have been one of those whose approach to negotiations was "What's mine is mine and what's yours is negotiable". If he had been willing to offer say a withdrawl from France, the low countries and Norway in exchange for their demilitarization n exchange for peace with Britain I think the British would have had a hard time not agreeing and he would have been in better shape but I don't think he was capable of even considering such a deal.
    There are a number of threads on this board where we've gone into this a bit. A big part IMO is Hitler not unreasonably felt he should have been in a position of strength with the ability if not to dictate the peace terms at least to get what he wanted from them and that it was Britain's place to ask him for a treaty. It was only in later 1940 that he started to realize that he had a very limited set of tools to force compliance by Britain. Indeed it's been argued that the attack on the USSR in 41 was seen as, at least in part, a means of forcing Britain to accept the German conquests to date.
     
  8. wm.

    wm. Well-Known Member

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    But Studebakers were delivered during the war, as part of the Lend-Lease.
    But earlier, In the thirties the Americans, the British, the Germans helped Stalin to industrialize his country, see for example How America Helped Build The Soviet Machine.
     
  9. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    Expansion to the east was Hitler's fundamental goal from the beginning of his political career (of course the idea was not original to him). From his point of view, fighting in the west was a distraction, although he accepted that it might be necessary.

    Of course he would have preferred to settle affairs with Britain before embarking on the invasion of Russia. He would have been glad to make peace on the basis of non-interference in each's other's sphere of influence, but he wasn't going to let British stubbornness deter him from his main objective. The claim that attacking Russia was just a means of defeating Britain was a rationalization to explain why he was embarking on a two-front war.

    People may have been thinking of WWI, when Russia was totally defeated despite Germany having the majority of her armies fighting in the west the whole time. Stalin had spent the last few years starving peasants and purging his military and government; who would guess that his regime could rally the Russian people and carry on the war so much more effectively than the Tsar's?
     
  10. wm.

    wm. Well-Known Member

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    But Russia wasn't defeated in ww1.
    The communists and their fellow travelers stabbed the Imperial Russian Army in the back, weakened the government, rebelled, and sued for peace - so they had time to finish off their numerous domestic enemies.
    Czarist Russia wouldn't sue for peace, she would fight to the end.

    The Soviets weren't aggressive (except against the weak) because they didn't want to conquer, they wanted to spread communism. And that could be done much more cheaply without wars. Actually, their own ideology emphatically said so, and can't be denied they were true believers.
    Additionally, in the 20th century wars against equals became too destructive for comfort, too long, too costly, too risky.
    The Soviets were evil but quite reasonable people too, they knew it wasn't worth it.

    As to the main objective, there is no (pre-1939) evidence the USSR was his main objective. If someone has it I will gladly see it.
    In Mein Kampf, he wrote the future of Germany is in the East but he didn't elaborate. He didn't say the East needed conquering, or what the East actually was.
    He annexed large parts of Poland and Czechia into Germany, maybe it was his East.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2019
  11. wm.

    wm. Well-Known Member

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    Stalin killed a few people, and the Soviets failed in Finland but then they got their s*t together and destroyed the Finns fast.
    Shorty afterward the Life magazine showed Soviet films about the conflict to some American military experts and they were mightly impressed by Soviet weapons, equipment, tactics.

    A few months earlier the Soviet general named Georgy Zhukov humiliated the Japanese Army at Khalkin-Gol, despite all that Japanese fanaticism, war experience, continuous reinforcement of the front.
    So it wasn't like the Soviets displayed weakness and incompetence.

    The USSR was a totalitarian country, much more so than Nazi Germany, was good for nothing - except fighting total wars, that was its main area of expertise.
    And that coupled with Russian culture, one of the greatest and most resilient on this planet was really something.
    The Russians didn't know many things but they knew how to die willingly for their Motherland in great numbers.
     
  12. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    Is this the phrase you're looking for: "we were stabbed in the back"?

    They weren't "really" defeated; they were betrayed by communists and traitors on the home front??

    The simple truth is, if you lose, it doesn't matter how you lost. If anything, the total collapse of government and society signifies a greater degree of defeat, not a lesser. Russia dropped out of the war, ceded vast amounts of territory, population, and resources to the victor; and collapsed into a devastating civil war.

    The Tsar may have felt that was his duty to fight to the end, at least for the first couple of years, but Russia didn't. Hitler and his cohorts knew the history - many of their veteran officers had lived through it - and it wasn't unreasonable that they might think history could repeat itself.
     
  13. wm.

    wm. Well-Known Member

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    But the Germans occupied only a few percents of Russian territory (they reached, more or less the today's Russia's western border). They would have to travel additional 400+ mi to reach Moscow. And they couldn't possibly do that even if unopposed, they lacked transport for that. And then it would maybe 15 percent.
    In the meantime the French would obliterate "their" German Army, only the millions of German soldiers withdrawn from Russia saved their assess in France.

    The only important Russian city threatened by the Germans was St. Petersburg - the Soviet stronghold, and the very center of their power. Majority of Russian territory was still in their domestic enemies hands.
    The Germans couldn't possibly defeat Russia, but they could defeat the Soviets. So the Soviets surrendered.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2019
  14. wm.

    wm. Well-Known Member

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    The government and the Army collapsed because of the constant and merciless communist agitation.
    At the same time, the French Army rebelled too (google: 1917 French Army mutinies), but there were no communists around to exploit the mutinies for their own nefarious goals.

    The French ambassador in Russia wrote this shortly before the war:
    One of my informants, who moves in advanced circles, said to me:
    "No strike or disorder is to be anticipated at this moment. The national enthusiasm is too strong. In all the factories and workshops the leaders of the Socialist Party have therefore advocated resignation to military duty; besides, they're convinced that this war will lead to the triumph of the proletariat."
    "The triumph of the proletariat ... even in case of victory?"
    "Yes, because the war will effect a fusion of all the social classes; it will bring together the peasant, the workman and the student; it will once more reveal the scandal of our bureaucracy and that will compel the Government to reckon with public opinion. Lastly it will introduce a liberal and even democratic element - the lieutenants of the reserve - into the aristocratic officer caste. This element played an important political part even during the Manchurian War ... The military revolts of 1905 would not have been possible without it."

    They tried to start a revolution, tried their stab-in-the-back tactics during the Russo-Japanese War (the Manchurian War) and failed (see: 1905 Russian Revolution), this time they were hellbent on victory at the expense of Russia.
     
  15. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    I think you need to read some more history.

    If you want to know what the British were thinking, try Hansard.

    Here is the record for the debate on the International situation on `31st August 1939
    International Situation - Hansard

    Here is the page for the debates in September 1939. House of Commons - Hansard

    There was no appetite in Britain or France to wage war on the USSR. The European powers desired peace and to avoid a repetition of 1914-1918. However much they may have despised or feared Bolshevism, the USSR did not pose the threat created by Hitler to the stability of Europe.

    Here are a couple of quotes from speeches delivered on 3rd September

    Neville Chamberlain Prime Minister

    Sir Archibald Sinclair - Leader The Liberal Party, later secretary of State for Air in Churchill's coalition government

    and here is a prescient remark by Arthur Greenwood, deputy leader of the labouir (Socialist) Party.

     
    Last edited: May 11, 2019
  16. wm.

    wm. Well-Known Member

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    The "let's invade the USSR together" was a Soviet propaganda invention.
    For the Soviets, the British were like the Jews for the Nazis. A constant threat that explained everything.

    Stalin actually started his criminally insane industrialization by manufacturing a war scare against Britain (see: The Soviet war scare of 1926-27, the first five-year plan). Inhuman sacrifices had to be made because a British-led coalition would invade.
    It wasn't against the Nazis at all.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2019

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