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The Great Patriotic War: 1939-1943

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe October 1939 to February 1943' started by Comrade General, Mar 18, 2018.

  1. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Wrong on both points. You posts would seem to indicate that both were justified in their actions. In reality neither were. Both the Nazis and the Soviets were murderous thugs who pushed most of the rest of the world (with the aid of Japan) into the most destructive war in human history.
    True but both obvious and irrelevant.
    Perhaps for WWI although there were other players on that stage as well. Certainly not for WWII though.
    That rather depends on who you are listening to although Both bear some blame for WWI and a lot of it for WW2, indeed if you add Japan to the list almost all of it.
    A rather warped view of what happened IMO.
    At least it's a discussion now instead of an ad for someone's web site(s).
     
  2. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    It appears that I was entirely wrong. OMG, I have re-entered the echo chamber. Why? Am I stupid or what?
     
  3. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    No, you were not "entirely wrong", but you were specifically wrong. I suspect you have done what so many do. You had an extreme viewpoint, based upon initial readings, but then shifted to the opposite extreme viewpoint after reading some revisionist history. The problem is that both are extreme points of view and neither really does a good job of expressing the complexities of real life history.
     
  4. green slime

    green slime Member

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    There can be conflicts on multiple levels. For example; the conflict between ideas and ideologies. Aristocracy vs Representation. Capitalism vs Socialism. Nationalism vs Internationalism. Racism vs Humanism. Interfaith rivalry (Christianity vs Islam). Then there are often geographical conflicts surrounding access to resources (water, food/agriculture, people, metals, etc) and further, even access to markets. The Western hemisphere owned/controlled more than 90% of the planet and it's produce in 1910.

    What is remarkable, is the Twentieth centuary saw the collapse of the European Aristocratic empires, in a large scale, hugely expensive war and its aftermath, and we still can observe now how power/ownership is moving back East.

    The question becomes; on what level do you want to analyze the events of WW2? Only examining the events of '39-'45 in temporal isolation does not provide a full picture, and doing so risks warping an individual's understanding of the sweep of historical events. This is not meant to exonerate misdeeds, but to place them in full context. Such as the effects of the British embargo on Germany during (and after!) WW1, and what that meant to German leaders in WW2. Therefore, while we may see the German violation of Poland as the start of the 2nd world war, the multitude of underlying unresolved conflicts in the wake of WW1 and the new ideologies meant there was going to be another European conflagration, the only question was how it was going to be triggered, and when. This was already apparent much earlier than 1939. How much responsibility should then be placed on the "Big Three" (France, US, and the UK) victors of WW1?
     
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  5. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Well as we know Hitler Used the Versaiĺes peace treaty rules to high success on the way to the next war...
     
  6. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Indeed the US and the British had clearly demonstrated that they no longer felt Germany should be bound by the treaty well before the war. The French were a bit more insistent but I believe they had come around before the war as well.
     
  7. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Not at first he did not...The Nazis were and remained a fairly small party...WW2 was not preordained.

    It took the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and resulting collapse of the German economy for the Nazis and Hitler to gain any real political traction. Had the German economy continued to expand and prosper, Hitler would have remained the leader of a small political party, unknown outside of Germany...And likely unknown inside most of Germany.

    Does this mean the US started WW2?
     
  8. green slime

    green slime Member

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    It means exactly that the US contributed to the rising tensions, that led to the war. This is covered by Tooze. But a Worse factor was the conditions of the Versailles Treaty. By the time the French understood that, the damage was already done. Further, the crash of the Stock Market was going to happen sooner or later, given the Tulip-mania of the 20's stock market. But without the stock markets' meteoric rise earlier in the 20's, where would the German economy have grown? Without the growth in the 20's, the German democracy would not have had a wooden leg to stand upon. Easy prey then, for an -ism of some kind.

    WW2 may not have been preordained, but conflict was looming large in Europe; Fascism was on the rise in Europe in the 20's (Italy, Yugoslavia). The Soviets were not going away either, no matter how much the others wanted it to disappear.
     
  9. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Hitler was also financially backend By the Kruppps etc due to the communistic threat. Otherwise the money front would not have been enough.
     
  10. Comrade General

    Comrade General Member

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    Assessing Operation Barbarossa

    Most assessments of Operation Barbarossa typically revolve around which strategic decisions made in the progress of the campaign could have led to a German victory over the Soviet Union. This emphasis on decisions is a byproduct of memoirs of German generals, especially Heinz Guderian, who claimed that Moscow would have fallen had Hitler not redirected elements of Army Group Center south to mop up trapped Soviet forces in and around Kiev. With Kiev captured, Leningrad under siege, and Moscow as the political center taken, the Soviets would have capitulated before the weather turned against the blitzkrieg – or so the reasoning goes. There are two problems with this perspective: first, while Army Group Center did make such rapid progress that it came within striking distance of Moscow early on during Barbarossa, Army Group South did not replicate such swift and deep penetration. The Red Army in the Ukraine became encircled, as it did all across the theater of operations, but the sheer number of units deployed in the region meant that the Wehrmacht had to choose between taking Kiev or Moscow quickly, and Hitler – believing the economic significance of the Ukraine more important than the political importance of Moscow – chose Kiev. Indeed, the losses incurred – militarily, industrially, agriculturally – by the Soviets in the Ukraine were devastating to their war effort; entire fronts had to be reconstructed from scratch. Also, if the Germans had chosen to discriminate between Russians and Ukrainians (the latter historically the victim of the former’s subjugation), they could have richly exploited anti-communist, anti-Russian sentiment to gain valuable allies and support. Instead, the German forces rarely discriminated according to nationality; they were motivated not so much by pragmatism but a cultural entitlement to enslaving the “inferior” Slavs.

    The second problem with the view that taking Moscow in 1941 would have meant another quick triumph for Germany is that history demonstrates otherwise. Napoleon did precisely that during his 1812 campaign; just as then, the adversary in Moscow simply kept retreating, drawing the invader farther in, stretching them thinner and thinner, making a quagmire of their logistics. Had Moscow fallen, the political capital would have moved to Kuybyshev (now Samara) or Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg). Stalin allegedly stayed in Moscow in the run-up to Operation Typhoon, so some have advanced the idea that his capture would have quickly ended the war. This is unlikely; while Stalin was the dictator at the head of a one-party state, he was not the “supreme leader” or prophet figure that Hitler had constituted himself as in Nazi Germany. If Stalin was captured or killed, power would have simply passed to some clique or the other on the Politburo and Central Committee, with one from the cast – Beria, Molotov, etc. – emerging as the victor. More than likely, actual decision-making would remain in the hands of the actual military commanders, such as Zhukov (who very well could have seized power as well), who would have continued fighting the war as normal. In the meantime, the Wehrmacht would have had to garrison a ruined city with a hostile population, while also having to protect exposed flanks after moving so deep at one central location. Historically, the Wehrmacht had a hard-enough time keeping its vehicles fueled and units supplied over such a vast country as the Soviet Union, and those units were best suited for mobile warfare, not for going on the defensive.

    Perhaps the question should be asked whether Operation Barbarossa could have succeeded at all. The width and depth of the Soviet Union was known to the Germans, as was its climate and terrain. German planners knew well in advance that fueling and servicing the highly motorized Wehrmacht in an area the size of the Soviet Union was next to impossible, and that inevitably German tanks and motorized units would have to stop while infantry, artillery, anti-air, anti-tank, and other support units caught up. The Soviet railways were not compatible with German trains. Finally, the fact the Germans invaded in the summer rather than the spring meant that, even if the Germans had tried to take Moscow before the onset of the muddy season, their timing would be close at best. All these factors were plain from the start, and yet the German leadership — from Hitler to his leading generals — were incredibly optimistic that victory was certain.

    German optimism before the invasion was rooted in truth and fantasy. It was true that the Red Army in 1941 was, generally speaking, badly trained and poorly led. The Winter War against Finland had illustrated that. It was also true that the Great Purges of the 1930s had decimated the civil administration and senior officer corps across the Soviet Union, weakening all elements of the Soviet state, but especially its armed forces. Finally, the Soviet regime was at its historically most unpopular, especially in the Ukraine and the Baltic regions, where domestic nationalist movements were crushed and repression carried out against the local populations. After the invasion began, Stalin and his allies in the Red Army high command made things even worse by insisting on constantly going to the offensive at every opportunity. This did have the effect of forcing advancing German units to suddenly go on the defensive, often without support, but it came at an immensely high toll in terms of lost manpower and equipment. For every successful counteroffensive there were many more failures, battles suppressed in the Soviet consciousness and only now being learned about in the West: Brody, Dubno, Raseinai, the botched amphibious invasion of the Crimea, et al. Had the Red Army fallen back to strong defensive positions, such as across the Dnieper River or the lakes in the Baltics, the Red Army could have stood a better chance at halting the advances of Barbarossa in its early stages. Of course, not only was this not the case, but the Red Army was not at all in a condition for war in 1941, as it was still in the midst of post-Winter War reforms and suffering NKVD purges. In so many different ways, the Soviet Union and the Red Army were extremely vulnerable to a war in 1941, as the losses actually incurred show.

    Yet the German leadership also underestimated the Soviet Union and the Red Army for ideological and racial reasons as well. Fascist or at least very conservative, these men felt that communism was an inherently inferior ideology that depended purely on coercion, or that it even represented a mental disorder. They had also come of age in a culture that had long advocated expansionism eastward into Slavic lands, an artifact of the Baltic Crusades and the Teutonic Knights. Germans of the period were socialized, especially once the Nazis assumed power, to view Slavs as subhuman, just as Jews, Roma, and other groups were dehumanized. The German military and SS death squads actively terrorized the population, because so many felt into the broad categories that constituted “enemies to the German folk” — which by definition excluded non-Germans. Thus, even though the Ukrainians and the Baltic people were ripe for collaboration with anti-Soviet invaders, the racial policies of Nazi Germany meant that this was not even a question. The outcome of Germany’s special destiny had to be German supremacy over Europe. The victories of 1939 through 1940 led Hitler and his generals to think this was not only possible, but inevitable. Since Slavs were even more inferior next to Germans than the French and the English, who were essentially already out of the war, the idea that the Nazi-Soviet war would be a leisurely stroll down the promenade blossomed. The early successes of Operation Barbarossa even made this idea seem justified. Gradually, however, despite the best efforts of Stalin and his allies to do otherwise, momentum switched over the Red Army by December. At that point, the logistical problems associated with area, terrain, and climate only spiraled, even if it was still some time before the Red Army was able to fully reverse the course of the German assault.

    To a large extent, the German leadership pursued the Nazi-Soviet war despite their obvious disadvantages because they were blinded by their prejudices and pride in their record since 1939. However, many German generals wanted to put distance between themselves and Nazi ideology after the war, and so their “theories” around Operation Barbarossa tended to revolve around geography, logistics, and the “central” question of Moscow. Hitler became the convenient scapegoat, even though his decision to focus on Kiev over Moscow is one of his most defensible of the Eastern Front. In truth, Barbarossa was doomed for the beginning, if not for logistical reasons, then because the racial arrogance of the Wehrmacht meant that it was even making bitter enemies out of ready friends at a time when it needed every advantage it could get.

    Sources

    Bellamy, Chris. 2007. Absolute War: Soviet Russia in the Second World War. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

    Fritz, Stephen. 2015. Ostkrieg: Hitler’s War of Extermination in the East. Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press.

    Glantz, David. 2011. Operation Barbarossa: Hitler’s Invasion of Russia. Stroud, UK: The History Press.

    Glantz, David and Jonathan House. 1995. When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press.
     
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  11. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    @Comrade General
    Thanks again for great post with fair assessment of Barbarossa.

    Even if the Germans wanted to turn unloyal Soviet citizens into traitors it would have been in vain. They already had their own Rumanians, Hungarians, Finns and Italians. Ballast. With advantage of hindsight we may conclude that Ukrainians fought better for Soviet Union than Ukrainian collaborationist did for their new masters from the West.

    I know, it is difficult to admit that Soviets fought better and were better patriots than other European nations. Just take an example of the French who failed to defend their own country, French laid down their arms even before the war has really begun. This isn't exagerration, this is disgracefull truth. What the Germans have thought? That the Russians would surrender without resistance? Like the French did?

    Defeatists and Collaborationist cannot win the war.

    Contemporary history of World War 2 should be cleansed from influence of German after-war blame-shifting memoirs of Halder, Guderian and Manstein. And especially from Anthony Beavor’s pure garbage,

    PS: Regarding the inferiority just look at THIS and think.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2018
  12. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Why shout for second front if the USSR did not need it? That was just a hoax to lose 3,5 million soldiers autumn 1941? Great Trick. I Dont think many have tried that.
     
  13. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Tamino that wasn't even in an "apples to oranges" comparison category. More like apples to horse shoes.
     
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  14. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    The Wehrmacht was not "highly motorized"
    Likely because they didn't think it would be necessary to actually take Moscow after all they didn't need to take Paris.
    That seems a really strange statement to me. Indeed it was to a large extent the refusal of Stalin and his allies to admit defeat which saved the USSR.
    Which doesn't mean that a better plan by the Germans might not have lead to the destruction of the USSR.
     
  15. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    I'm not that familiar with that idiom?
    Who are here “oranges” and who are “horse shoes” and what is better: defend your country or surrender without real fight.? Collaborate and in the end change sides, come victorious and re-gain control over all colonies?

    Is it so strange that Soviets fought so fiercely for their “rotten, red, communist, oppressive” fatherland? Somehow, this doesn't add-up.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2018
  16. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    Now, let me do this your way. ;)
    Perhaps Commrade wanted to say "highly mobile"

    Perhaps Germans expected Russians to fill-up their pants from fear like the French did?
    It wasn't Stalin who refused to admit defeat. Russian people refused to surrender.
    Wishfull thinking.
     
  17. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    It wasn't that either.
    Didn't Hitler say something about kicking in the door and the whole house collapsing? Given the length of time the Revolution went on, the purges, and such it wasn't all that unreasonable as an observation but it shouldn't have been driving the plan.
    It was Stalin and his people who refused to admit defeat and saved the USSR. Had they thrown in the towel or someone tried to supplant him the USSR probably wouldn't have survived. The people may have refused to surrender but that doesn't mean the Soviet system will survive.
    Not really. I can see a number of alternatives that result in the destruction of the USSR. Some would have made things worse for the West so no way those are "wishful thinking" in any case.

    Oh on the comparison between France and the USSR the situation was so different that your comparison is meaningless. The continued derogatory terms with respect to France don't help your position either.
     
  18. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    Comparison is not only pertinent but scientifficaly valid. I was comparing reaction of two nations attacked by the same enemy. One surrendered without fierce opposition, the other prevailed. There are many interesting conclusions we may draw from this comparison, if we want. All you want is to avoid undesirably unpleasant conclusions.

    Derogatory? How one can be derogatory when talking about the nation who was liberated (emphasis on the passive voice here) and first they did after the liberation ("victory") was to re-conquer their colonies where they used Gestapo methods to fight resistance movements. The facts themselves require derogatory treatment.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2018
  19. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    The French probably fought better than the Red army for the first few days. They simply didn't have the time or space to do much more. So no it is anything but scientifically valid.

    As for "re-conquering their colonies" the ones they reoccupied had all bee taken by the Axis powers hadn't they? The US reoccupied the Philippines as well so there was clearly a precedent set for that. Frankly I see more justification for the French post war actions than I see for the Soviet actions in Easter Europe. The Gestapo didn't have much on the NKVD.
     
  20. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    "Without fierce opposition"? Might I suggest you first put away your comic book history and preconceived notions before you try to discuss things? Especially if you want to pretend you're being "scientifficaly [sic] valid". Fall GELB succeeded brilliantly, not because of a lack fierceness in the French, British, Belgian, and Dutch opposition, but because of the brilliance of the plan and the disorientation caused by the tempo of the German attack. By the end it had resulted in eliminating nearly half the Allied order of battle, much of it due to the German exploitation of the inherent weaknesses in alliances, not the lack of "fierceness" by the defenders. However, when the Germans next executed Fall ROT against a much better prepared, but militarily weaker opponent, one of the things the German command most noted was the "fierceness" of the French resistance. Scientifically speaking, the Germans suffered more and were forced to fight harder defeating the weakened French than they did in the initial campaign. The French requested an armistice because, unlike the Soviets in the fall of 1941, they had no further strength to mobilize, had lost most of their industrial capacity required to wage war, and had been stripped of their Allies and any prospect of Allied support.
     
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