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Reasons for war in the east, assesment of turning points and possible alternative outcomes

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe' started by arca, Feb 16, 2017.

  1. Croft

    Croft Member

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    Hitler attacked Russia for many reasons. Exploitation of it's resources by force rather than having to trade for them was one. Hitler would have believed they could be exploited fast as food from the Ukraine and oil from Baku could have been flowing pretty soon. At least Hitler, who remember was banking on a Soviet collapse, would have believed so and it's his beliefs that matter in looking at his reasons for his invasion.

    A second reason for invasion is the removing of a potential future threat to Germany because even if Hitler had contempt for the Soviet military in the short term he must have feared that over time they could learn from the Finland debacle and improve. Also if America joined the war in the west after a year or two and Germany was ultimately under pressure there say in 1943 or 44 what was to stop Stalin from then earning the gratitude of the West and joining in the war, and after having had years for improved training and preparation of his forces. Germany would then be in a two front war and at the time of Stalin's choosing. Completely and as Hitler believed rapidly removing such a future disastrous possibility while at the same time guaranteeing German food and oil needs for a long conflict with the West must have seemed an obvious course of action for Hitler.

    Then there's also the timing. In 1941 Britain was weak, not capable of invading France. Russia was, at least for the moment, militarily incompetent as far as the Finland war had shown. And America while supplying Britain was only starting it's own rearmament. It all adds up to giving Germany, if it could prepare an assault force, an obvious window of opportunity to get rid of Russia.
     
  2. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Is there any evidence of this? i.e. sources please.
     
  3. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    Then there is the main reason: LEBENSRAUM
     
  4. Croft

    Croft Member

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    Are you asking whether there s there any evidence that the food and oil could have flowed quickly? Only that harvests can be collected and oil fields repaired. Is there evidence that Hitler believed this? Just that he would have known that. So my point was that invading for the resources was a powerful reason.
    But liquidating the eastern threat while it and Britain were still weak and thereby avoiding a future danger of a strong Russia would have been important to.
     
  5. Croft

    Croft Member

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    Lebensraum was important in Hitler's overall political philosophy but he was a pragmatist. He did whatever suited his position best from one month to another. While he ordered concept planning for Barbarossa in July 1940 he still tried to resolve differences with Russia and persuade it to join the Axis is November 1940. When that failed he ordered Barbarossa as a definite operation in December 1940. Then his immediate goal, the dealing with the Russia problem, once again was in tandem with his overall beliefs so Lebensraum was then a factor in the invasion, complete with all the Nazi brutality.
     
  6. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Except of course that it couldn't. It would have taken years to set up a decent distribution system to move oil to Germany unless the existing one was captured intact. Even a minimal amount of damage to the existing oil transport structure was going to cause problems and such damage was almost guaranteed. The Soviet plans if implemented would have drawn it out even longer. As for food it's my understanding that much of what they confiscated was used by the German military and not transported back to Germany. Doing so is a much more significant issue. So yes to both. I'd like to see sources supporting both. I seriously doubt I will see anything for the former, the latter is possible but I'd like to see if it's based on anything other than your opinions.
     
  7. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Active Member

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    In "The Devil's Disciples" During a meeting in Spring/Summer 1942, Goering was lambasting certain industrialists in the field of production for failing to get the destroyed Russian oil fields up and producing again. According to that book the Germans didn't have the resources or the materiel to build and run the necessary equipment to get oil out of the fields. Getting the resources out of Russia wasn't going to be the snap of a finger, especially when the Russians were destroying everything and the Germans lacked their own resources and capabilities.
     
  8. Croft

    Croft Member

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    Was seizing resources in Russia one of Hitler's reasons for attacking Russia? I think it was as Hitler was acutely aware of Germany's lack of resources. I don't have sources, it is my opinion.
    I remember reading that when the Germans took Maikop they had teams of German and Romanian experts, a special division. to rebuild the oilfields. Apparently it took longer than they expected, months longer, to repair the fields. And by the time they were producing the Red Army took them back. I can't remember the source it was one of the general tomes I read on the Russian front in the 80s.
    Anyway again I think grabbing resources to solve Germany's shortages was a consideration in Barbarossa and I believe Hitler expected to get those resources flowing fast. And probably faster than he actually would have got them if Maikop's an example.
     
  9. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    There is little question that gaining resources was a factor. That's not what needs to be supported. What is lacking in support is that they could be "quickly" put into service and whether Hitler believed they could be. Of course it would help a bit if I was sure we had a common definition of "quick" in this case.
    Hitler certainly paid attention to at least some of Germany's resource problems but things like the coal gasification plants clearly weren't quick so he was at least capable of thinking in terms of years. I think there is a good chance you are correct in your assessment but was hoping there was some support available that I was unaware of.
     
  10. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Active Member

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    I recommend reading "The Devil's Disciples" by Anthony Reade The meeting in which Goering met with the oil techs and lambasted them is documented because from what ground and opportunities they had to gather resources, they just didn't capitalize.
     
  11. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    They didn't capitalize, because they couldn't capitalize. And they really could not capitalize in the few months that they held Maikop.

    The oil techs are competing with the Wehrmacht for transportation assets...Unfortunately, the assets, and near about everything else, are lacking. Goering, himself, could not even keep Stalingrad supplied.

    AFAIK, the Germans were also short on oil rig drilling equipment and trained personnel to operate such equipment. More than likely, this is linked to their transportation woes.

    Also, AFAIK, there was little, if any, refining capability left at Maikop. So, whatever crude the Germans could have extracted would still be mostly useless until it could be sent elsewhere to be refined.
     

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