Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by KGB_resident, May 4, 2005.
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What is your opinion?
I have just finished reading the same & was considering posting it for discussion, but you've beaten me to it, Sergey. However, it would possibly have been more balanced to quote this paragraph:
I would argue that as one of the inner-circle of the defeated force, von Ribbentrop's analysis of the reasons for the German defeat is the most informed.
Edited for typo
I do not beleive any of the allies could have done it on their own.
Russia needed all those trucks to give it mobility. Britian even with the Empire was too small and The USA was too far away (forget Alaska).
Yes I'll go with
"Hitler's foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop listed three main reasons for Germany's defeat:
* Unexpectedly stubborn resistance from the Soviet Union
* The large-scale supply of arms and equipment from the US to the Soviet Union, under the lend-lease agreement
* The success of the Western Allies in the struggle for air supremacy."
Having lived in Russia for a while, I'd say that the majority of the population are only vaguely aware that the Allies took part in the war at all - such is the persistent Soviet mythology that still shapes every part of society. Its only in the last couple of years that the main war museums have started to include photographs & artefacts revealing Allied aid to Russia, and evidence that there was a global war taking place, not just against Germany (In one museum I have even seen a Wilys Jeep with all its production plates over-stamped in a crude attempt to make it look like it was made in Russia!).
With the 60th anniversary of VE day approaching, Putin's government is stoking nationalist propaganda in a bid to paper over his own severe domestic political problems. The issue of "who won the war" provides good fodder for western self-denigrating organisations, such as the BBC...
Whilst Russia undoubtedly performed the greater majority of the attrition of German forces in Europe, it is simplistic to suggest that this means "Russia won the war". Apart from the topic of whether Russia survived due to military aid arriving at the crucial time, one must also bear in mind:
a) Russia never had to fight & win a global blue-water naval campaign, as Great Britain, and later US, did,
b) Russia did not have to mount world-wide overseas military campaigns in the middle east, near east and far east;
c) Russia did not have to fight two major enemies (until one was already crushed);
d) Russia did not have to sustain a global shipping uplift capability;
e) Russia did not operate a global strategic bombing effort.
I would also add that, foremost among Russian amnesia, is also the fact that Russia got itself into such a critical position by 1) crippling its own armed forces in the 1930s, 2) aligning itself through diplomacy and military assistance with Nazi Germany right up until Barbarossa, 3) by attacking Finland, forcing it into alliance with Germany (having been previously pro-British) and thereby throwing away a possible allied front in Scandinavia.
Having read Stalingrad and Berlin, much of the credit must go to the Russian spirit. They withstood hardship, brutality from Stalin and the Germans and still kept up the resistance, Losses verged on WW! levels but they still fought on. Thank goodness we never had to do Quick Train for real.
Who won the war? The Germans lost it when they had to delay Barbarossa for 6 weeks, and the weatherman helped them along with a slightly early winter. It then went downhill from there.
As I understand it the Americans were the only ones to come out financially ahead so you could argue that America won. Although the way the so called 'loser' countries are doing today you wouldn't have thought that Britain had been on the winning side. Depends on how you define 'won' I suppose.
I don't think anyone won WW2, the Allies won the final battles but VE and VJ day signified the point where WW2 became WW3, although IMO WW3 started in 1944....
If you look at the amount of effort expended by the Germans on the Eastern Front it is clear that all other fronts were a sideshow. This is the central argument of John Ellis's book "Brute Force" which i would recommend.
This is probably offensive to those non-Russians that lost relatives in the war but the statistics speak for themselves.
Of coures for a lot of the war Britain was fighting for its survival and I think we did pretty well to keep attacking the Axis once the threat had passed. It has been pointed out that Britain might have put to much of herself into the war and that 3we could have sat back ain 1943 and let the Soviets (and Americans) take the strain. As Laidx points out we would have been a much richer Nation financialy in 1945 but I wonder if we would have been better off.
I have no idea what Armourer means when he says WWIII started in 1944!
As with all things it's never simple. The Red Army took on about 80% of German combat power and defeated it. However, without the huge quantities of trucks, railway engines, spam and Lord knows what else the US provided they probably wouldn't have been able to. The strategic and operational mobility afforded to them by US imports allowed them to manoeuvre to defeat the Wehrmacht.
The allies together did win it, however..
Who came out of WWII in better shape than they went in? The USA and the USSR.
In many ways i think we Brits lost an aweful lot but we could with some right claim to have come out on top morally. We could have said 'nah, sod poland, you crack on Adolf, you can have Europe just leave us to our empire alright?' and the Germans would have gone along wirth that quite happily.
Who beat the German army? The Russkis no shadow of a doubt. The German army was bled white in the East. As far as numbers go, Africa, Italy and the Balkans were sideshows. NW Europe got underway once the war was already lost for the Germans.
Who beat the Kriegsmarine? The Royal Navy, hands down...hardly surprising given the diferences in size really.
Who beat the Luftwaffe? The RAF and USAAF. GÃ¶ring's boys got a rude shock during the BoB, after that it was a long slippery slope downhill. The Germans were never really short of planes, at least not fighters, but in the end they just didn't have enough trained pilots or enough fuel to be able to counter the allied air forces.
In the last, or one of the last episodes of 'The world at War' the American historian Ambrose makes some good points on the subject.
Thank you B_F for lending dignity to what was becoming a vulgar intellectual brawl. Now why don't you take your crisps and fizzy pop and toddle back into the NAAFI.
Chester Wilmot wrote a very good book The Struggle for Europe in which he neatly summarised the political cuts and thrusts that lay behind all of the major allied and axis decisions. There were of course many events which could have affected the outcome of the war and these have been aired on other threads but two points that are worth considering are:
1. The fact that we did not yield in 1940 meant that Hitler had to allow for the possibility of offensive action from the UK. This meant that he had to leave a number of divisions in France to keep the UK under threat of invasion. Coupled with Churchill's abortive Balkan operation (which tied up 24 German divisions at a critical point), those divisions could have made the difference between stallling on the outskirts of Moscow and destroying the Soviet Union.
2. His analysis of the post-war geo-political map points towards a significant Soviet victory. They achieved most of their war aims (subjugation of Poland and the slavonic nations) made possible by Roosevelt's political naivety and reluctance to listen to Churchill.
Lots of what ifs.
It was won by Margret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan and their defence policies of the 80's that was cripling the USSR (who were trying to keep up).
As for the main question we all did, the western allies forced Hitler to maintain a large part of his army in the west, the western Navies kept supplies rolling in and the Air Forces destroyed the Germans supplies and many civilians. Although the Americans won the financial war.
Is not Berwick upon Tweed still at war with Germany
I remember hearing that somewhere
Separate names with a comma.