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Thread: Could Germany have won the war ?

  1. #1
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    Default Could Germany have won the war ?

    We have a thread already in this Forum on the question of "whether there was anything Hitler could have done to win the war". This thread asks a slightly different question - was Germany actually capable of winning to war, no matter what Hitler, or anybody else, did ? In posing this question, I start from the position that, both for ideological and economic reasons, the trajectory of the National Socialist régime from 1933 to 1939 made war inevitable - if only because the achievement of "Living Space" in the East was an ideological imperative and, on the economic front, failure to achieve a huge military victory was the only alternative to a catastrophic collapse of the bogus Nazi "economic miracle". But, necessary as the war was from a Hitlerian viewpoint, was Germany actually capable of winning ? If so, for what reasons ? And if not, why not ? Best regards, JR.

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    Default Re: Could Germany have won the war ?

    Sorry - I suppose I should have put this in "General Discussion". Just dumb, I guess ... JR.

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    Default Re: Could Germany have won the war ?

    Moved.
    "I just ran out of ammo. I will ram this one. Good bye, we'll meet in Valhalla." - Major Heinrich Ehrler, April 4, 1945

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    Default Re: Could Germany have won the war ?

    Thanks, Flame. Look forward to views. JR.

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    Default Re: Could Germany have won the war ?

    Germany on its own - no it could not have and despite all those that claim all the Axis and co-beligerants were useless Germany would have fared worse without them.

    If the British Government had not held out then Britain may have sued for peace like France did (some personalities were considering terms). That would remove alot of assistance from the Soviet Union and the occupied countries (which increased the longer the war went on).

    Now you come to the big ifs, Germany with Britain defeated or at least at peace would have had more resources and manpower to send East (possible that Britain may have had to supply materiel like France did).
    Spain without the bribing etc from the UK may have joined in with manpower as may Turkey (the US also bribed them to stay out).

    With the Western Allies completely actually neutralised (as opposed to Hitlers assumption that GB was), more nations may have done more to support Germany more actively (no resistance movements etc).

    With the increased manpower possibly joining the Axis would that have been enough to tip the balance in the East in 1942? (1941 they ran out of time and ability to get resources forward)

    Germanys only real chance was Britain to sue for peace and for the Soviets to collapse as they were expected to. Both major stumbling blocks, with those countries still in play Germany had no chance it, was a matter of resources and attrition.
    IN the days of lace-ruffles, perukes and brocade
    Brown Bess was a partner whom none could despise
    An out-spoken, flinty-lipped, brazen-faced jade,
    With a habit of looking men straight in the eyes
    At Blenheim and Ramillies fops would confess
    They were pierced to the heart by the charms of Brown Bess.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Could Germany have won the war ?

    Are you asking in pure military terms? Then leccy was correct in pointing out the loss of "aircraft carrier" Britain on Europe's western flank would certainly have complicated any attempts to overthrow the Nazi regime. But your question also drags in other factors, such as economics. Without thinking too deeply about it, my response is, no, Hitler was probably doomed to failure, barring acts of God like earthquakes, meteors, and tsunamis wiping out the opposition. By personality, endless appetite, arrogance, and ideology, he was bound to overreach himself, while trying to serve too many ends: witness his refusal to go to a "total war" economy until way too late, to keep up the superior German life style. No strategic long range bombers. His nuclear program, as I understand it, pursuing a dead-end avenue of research. His knack for betraying allies -- his nominal treaty with the USSR -- and for helping them (e.g., Italy in Greece). His divide-and-conquer approach to internal politics, his fondness for sycophants, his own health issues (Parkinson's?) and substance abuse (can't recall off hand how definitive the proof of the drug use was, but I recall the evidence as being pretty strong). The supression of creative problem-solving (e.g., what almost happened to the MP44). His tiny German population base, trying to dominate the entire world. The inherent rottenness, lack of trust, moral decay, and dysfunction of the society as a whole and government in particular. In many ways, it was the military and the war holding the regime together. The more successful the war, the less necessary the military, the quicker things fall apart, or become divided up (such as the military vs. the party's SS). It was, to use a phrase, a rotten house of cards, waiting to get kicked in.

    Is that 20-20 hindsight, a glimpse of history being inevitable? Maybe: in some ways the above analysis seems awfully "neat." I think I've said elsewhere here that war is one of the most obvious "human" demonstrations of chaos theory: how any one small change can have huge unforeseen consequences. But it seems winning would require sounder, saner steps than the internal imperatives of the regime would allow, or at least sustain. To draw a distinction between the Germany" of your question and the Nazis, a successful coup that resulted in a saner regime would probably also entail a saner approach to ending, rather than "winning," the war.
    "...we have met the enemy and he is us." -- Pogo (Walt Kelly)

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Could Germany have won the war ?

    It's hard to see Germany winning the World War. The schedule of the Wehrmacht being able to fully match the French and the British went all the way into the late 1940's as far as preparedness went. The Kriegsmarine simply was too small and inexperienced to launch amphibious operations against even a weakened Britain and certainly could not contend with the Royal Navy, even with the help of the Italian Fleet. A question we might ask is "how was Germany as successful as it was in the early part of the war against the Western Powers?" The prohibitions on German armaments imposed by the Versailles Treaty had effects that were twofold. On the one hand, they prevented German military power from developing in the short term and ultimately prevented Germany from commissioning a large enough navy to force the issue against the British. On the other hand, the inherent weakness in numbers of the Reichwehr--and especially the Heer--meant that the German Army was on the cutting edge of command and control technologies, mobility (Bewegungskrieg), and insuring that each unit had the force multiplier of autonomy (Auftragstaktik or 'mission to tactics).

    I think this coupled with the fact that the Luftwaffe was completely reconstituted from scratch with a modern fleet of fighters and medium/dive bombers giving the Germans several tactical advantages early on over the French (who were still in the process of modernizing) and to a lessor extent the British, that masked their limited industrial output and vulnerable strategic position as far as resources were concerned. An overview of the German campaigns of Fall Gelb and Rot will reveal fears that the Heer had in the Allied advantage in resources and the inherent weaknesses Germany would suffer in a long campaign resulting in what was seen as a desperate gamble in Manstein's/Halder's plan. Not least of which that German production compared to that of the United States was nominal at best, and her only hope was scoring spectacular victories in order to gain the means of production for a 'long war' in which Germany was incapable of winning.

    The quick, shocking victory over the French was the best possible scenario, yet it also resulted in the United States expanding its armed forces and beginning the initial phases of industrial and military mobilization. I don't believe Germany had the industrial capacity to win a long war that it provoked and Hitler's rash foreign policies were a gamble against the odds at best. The hope that conquering the Soviet Union and simply taking over its industry and agriculture would have taken years, if not a decade or more, to actually consolodate and was a pipe dream. But Hitler's early successes against France inoculated him against any further dire warnings and misgivings his generals had. And so he was allowed to attempt to impose his nightmare vision on Europe, a vision that was Pyrrhic at best....

  8. #8

    Default Re: Could Germany have won the war ?

    Just thinking out loud - what if the pace of technological development that Germany had during the war, they were able to do prior to the war as well? For example, let's say that the war didn't actually begin until 1944ish...The militaries of the other countries would have been more modern as well but the Germans were well ahead of the other countries even during the war (no other country had anything remotely close to the V rocket program and Germany was the only country to field fighter jets during the war). If the war didn't begin, the Germans would have had many more resources to apply toward the development of weapons and maybe would have even been able to attack the US with long range bombers and missiles. It would have been the US in a much more vulnerable position and the British would have had a much tougher time during the Battle of Britain, if it would even take place.

    All of that said, I still think that regardless of when the war started, the end result would have been the same (though, if the Germans got their hands on missiles able to hit the US, it would have been a much bloodier conflict)....the Germans just couldn't compete with the massive industrialization and population of the US and the USSR.

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    Default Re: Could Germany have won the war ?

    The point is good, but I always think then about how (probably very different) the development of weapons would have proceeded. It is hard to say, with what ideas all countries would have come up if they had more time. We probably would not have seen a Panther tank as it was in the end or a Pershing or an IS-2, most probably different roads would have been taken.

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    Default Re: Could Germany have won the war ?

    Quote Originally Posted by JR* View Post
    We have a thread already in this Forum on the question of "whether there was anything Hitler could have done to win the war". This thread asks a slightly different question - was Germany actually capable of winning to war, no matter what Hitler, or anybody else, did ? In posing this question, I start from the position that, both for ideological and economic reasons, the trajectory of the National Socialist régime from 1933 to 1939 made war inevitable - if only because the achievement of "Living Space" in the East was an ideological imperative and, on the economic front, failure to achieve a huge military victory was the only alternative to a catastrophic collapse of the bogus Nazi "economic miracle". But, necessary as the war was from a Hitlerian viewpoint, was Germany actually capable of winning ? If so, for what reasons ? And if not, why not ? Best regards, JR.
    Well, was war really inevitably ? You are right, the "economic miracle" was based on debt. But is'nt the "economic miracle" of the western world, at least for the last forty years, also based on debt ? And yes, from Hitlers viewpoint war was inevitable, but all other Nazi's, especially Goering, were sceptical, not to mention the Generals (if Chamberlain and Daladier would not have sacrificed Czechoslovakia in autum 1938, I think they would have made a coup d'etat).
    In my opinion the outbreak of war is absolutely linked to the person of Hitler. It's really hard to imagine what would have happened, if Hitler had not become Chancellor in January 1933 (the Nazi party was financially bancrupt at this time and their votes have considerably decreased in the elections in november 1932). Probably democracy would have consolidated after a few years. Possible, but less probable, were a military, a communist or another right wing regime. Despite the fact, that Hitler and the nazi party were extremely popular in 1939, the war was not (compare the 1.September 1939 to the 1.August 1914, no cheering, only faces of sorrow) and I really can not imagine another person capable of dragging those Germans into another world war.

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    Default Re: Could Germany have won the war ?

    One point for those thinking somehow invading the UK would have made a big difference - the US government response was to order the development of what would become the B-36, with the Manhattan project following 6 months later. With those available by 1945 or so, it really would be game over for Germany. The B-36 was the next best thing to uninterceptible until the development of the afterburning turbojet - something the Germans never really had the metallurgy to do.
    I have neither the time nor the inclination to differentiate between the incompetent and the merely unfortunate - Curtis E LeMay

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    Default Re: Could Germany have won the war ?

    Quote Originally Posted by flyerhell View Post
    Just thinking out loud - what if the pace of technological development that Germany had during the war, they were able to do prior to the war as well? For example, let's say that the war didn't actually begin until 1944ish...The militaries of the other countries would have been more modern as well but the Germans were well ahead of the other countries even during the war (no other country had anything remotely close to the V rocket program and Germany was the only country to field fighter jets during the war). If the war didn't begin, the Germans would have had many more resources to apply toward the development of weapons and maybe would have even been able to attack the US with long range bombers and missiles. It would have been the US in a much more vulnerable position and the British would have had a much tougher time during the Battle of Britain, if it would even take place.

    All of that said, I still think that regardless of when the war started, the end result would have been the same (though, if the Germans got their hands on missiles able to hit the US, it would have been a much bloodier conflict)....the Germans just couldn't compete with the massive industrialization and population of the US and the USSR.
    The British actually fielded the first operational jet fighter squadron not the Germans contrary to common belief. Britain also started to field the better Vampire in 1945.
    The US had its first F80 jets in Italy and UK in 1945.

    Early jets were very vulnerable during landing and take off with many being lost to attacks by conventional aircraft on their home bases, this required a diversion of piston aircraft to protect the jet bases.

    The V1 and V2 were developed as an answer to the allied overwhelming superiority in bombers, they were inaccurate, limited tactical or strategic value and ultimately with convetional payload a dead end.

    Part of the reason the war started when it did was because of Germanys lack of resources and more importantly money, delaying the start only reduces Germanys ability, it needed the money and resources from Austria to move into Czechoslovakia then those to help with Poland and to keep its own economy going. It stripped the occupied countries of money, manpower and resources to feed its own economy.

    The mass expansion in the 1930's was mainly based around the military it spent money which was not replenished by external trade, a huge deficit was built up. At one point it was almost 50% of GDP regulalry 30% which was unsustainable.
    IN the days of lace-ruffles, perukes and brocade
    Brown Bess was a partner whom none could despise
    An out-spoken, flinty-lipped, brazen-faced jade,
    With a habit of looking men straight in the eyes
    At Blenheim and Ramillies fops would confess
    They were pierced to the heart by the charms of Brown Bess.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Could Germany have won the war ?

    If Hitler let his Generals run the show; I say yes!

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    Default Re: Could Germany have won the war ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vonss View Post
    If Hitler let his Generals run the show; I say yes!
    Which generals and where? Hitler's generals didn't want to invade France...

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    Default Re: Could Germany have won the war ?

    After the rampage of France and Poland, Hitler should've let his Generals take over. Hitler made bone head mistakes, Rommel would've made a great choice. Rommel didn't see the Jews as enemies of Germany's, though, he still had passion for Germany to win the war.

    I also like to point out that Hitler's German army was winning the war right until the weather change for the worst in Russia. England was on her knees, Russia was on her Knees and USA could not do it alone.

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