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Thread: European Theater - What was the turning point?

  1. #46
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    Default Re: European Theater - What was the turning point?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    I would add to that it wasn't just the men and as RS* pointed out, the 88-mm (and many other calibers of) guns, hindering the German victories in other theatres, but also the massive resources infused into R&D. Creating an integrated air defense network that was so massive and sophisticated drained divisions worth of resources over the duration of the war and forced dispersion of of production facilities and the rail hubs and transport networks that sapped much energy fracturing the German effort...
    Not to mention German war production which, compared with America and even Britain, was, at least until Speer took over late in the war, relatively disorganised, fragmented and inefficient.
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  2. #47
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    Default Re: European Theater - What was the turning point?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    I agree with your concise and accurate summary.

    I'd suggest only that, despite being defeats, the Battle of Dunkirk, and the wider evacuation of British troops to Britain then and later as France fell, should be linked with the Battle of Britain soon afterwards as the return of those troops, despite leaving their heavy weapons and transport in France, still left Britain with considerably more means to defend itself against an invasion than would have been the case if those troops had all been captured.

    This also allowed Britain later to send land forces to North Africa to divert Axis forces and resources from Europe and Germany's eastern thrust. This also kept the Suez Canal open which kept a vital supply line open to and from Britain and its interests and dominions in India, Ceylon, Australia and New Zealand throughout the war (and to Burma, Malaya etc before Japan came into the war), where closure of the Canal would have imposed unacceptable burdens on merchant and naval shipping around the Cape of Good Hope and seriously undermined Britain's war effort.
    Except that Britain generally did not use the Suez Canal during WWII until the Axis was defeated in N. Africa (maybe even longer). Hard to believe, but they went around Soiuth Africa most of time because it was just too risky to run convoys through the Med unless they absolutely had to (such as the re-supply of Malta).

  3. #48
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    Default Re: European Theater - What was the turning point?

    Leccy, I'm with you. I doubt the Germans could have carried off an invasion. There would have been grievous losses on both sides, but the biggest loss would have been a failed invasion which would have been not only a terrible PR disaster but a morale buzz-kill for the Wehrmacht. Hitler's instinct to cancel the whole mis-begotten enterprise was right on target.

  4. #49
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    Default Re: European Theater - What was the turning point?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    Looking at it more broadly, every battle and campaign Britain and its Commonwealth fought up 7 / 8 (depending on which side of the international dateline you're on) December 1941 was a turning point, purely because nobody else was fighting the Axis powers.

    Had Britain capitulated as France did, everything upon which the Allied response to the Axis powers was based after Germany attacked the USSR in mid-1941 and Japan attacked in December 1941 would have been impossible.

    America would have been confined to the continental US and Hawaii, with no realistic ability to launch a successful invasion of Britain or continental Europe.

    The USSR would have been denied materiel support from and through Britain.

    The USSR would have faced much larger German forces then were actually deployed against it.

    The USSR would have been on its own, with a much higher risk of defeat.

    America would probably have defeated Japan, but to what end when its trade with Britain and Europe was cut off? Presumably it would have done as the rancid American capitalists like Henry Ford wished, and traded with the Nazis for profit, as indeed the rancid American capitalists did while Britain was single-handedly fighting Germany and Italy while Ford and General Motors, among others, were happily supplying the Nazis because, not least, the Nazis agreed with their anti-Semitic and anti-communist views apart from offering great profits to supplement the profits made from supplying Britain at the same time.

    America's entry to the war certainly tipped the balance in favour of Allied victory, but without Britain holding the fort alone for the bleak years of 1940 and 1941 on its own shores and in North Africa, Greece, Crete, and against the Vichy French, Italians and Germans in various places, America's entry to the war would not have had Britain as, as Leccy said, the unsinkable aircraft carrier which was the necessary and only base for the land assault on Germany from the west, along with the Mediterranean for the land assault on Italy from the south.

    I'm not ignoring the major contribution of America's Lend Lease program to support Britain during the bleak years, but the fact remains that Britain and its Commonwealth were the only ones fighting the Germans and Italy for a critical year to eighteen months while the rest of the world either surrendered or looked on.

    The USSR and America came in only when attacked and with no choice but to fight, while Britain, with France, got itself involved from the outset by standing up to Nazi expansionism.

    The modern world should be eternally grateful to Churchill for, in the face of appeasers and defeatists in Britain, fighting on and laying the foundations for Allied victory over the evils of the Nazis and the Japanese. The modern world would be a very different place if the British appeasers and defeatists had capitulated to Germany.
    No one disputes the importance and valor of the British, but left-handed swipes at Henry Ford are really unnecessary. Americans familiar with history know that Ford was a terrible anti-semite and that Hitler even sent him a medal. He was a great, if limited idustrialist, but when push came to shove, he knuckled under and mass-produced B-24 Bombers at Willow Run. In total, he was but a cog in the war machine, however.

    I do believe that the Battle of Britain was a turning point, not because it was a big militry victory, but because it denied the Germans the easy victory they were due. Those "shopkeepers" - how dare they? It was a close-run thing, but probably less close-run than most folks think. Germany just had the wrong air force for the job and by the time they realized it, it was too late.

    Other than that, Stalingrad was a terrible blow to the Germans. Kursk sealed their fate. D-Day was hammering nails in the coffin. After Kursk, thoughtful Germans must have known how this was all going to end - badly.

  5. #50
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    Default Re: European Theater - What was the turning point?

    Not so hard to believe really, supply's and troops from India and the Far East could use the overland routes or the Suez to reach Egypt and the Eastern Med, the southern part of the Suez opens into the Red Sea and then into the Gulf of Aden, Italian Forces were had invaded Kenya as well as occupying Ethiopia, I do not know the naval strength of the Italians in the region but initially their airforce outclassed and outnumbered the Commonwealths.

    Most supply's to the UK were coming from North America after Italy declared war in June 1940 (suez was in constant use till then).

    With the loss of France (who were to protect the Med) and Italy's entry into the war the mediterranean was neutralised as a common transport route, coal and the added week or so to travel round the Cape were in plentiful supply, ships themselves were a more precious resource.
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  6. #51
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    Default Re: European Theater - What was the turning point?

    I read an article in the WWII magazine that was waned in popularity here and it seemed that a slight majority of the major historians agreed that the turning point of the war was The Battle of Moscow. It was the first serious setback for The Third Reich on the ground and was the culmination of a growing fear in the Nazi war-machine that they had bitten off far more than they could chew in the vast steppes of the Soviet Union. There were set backs and casualties before, but an entire German army was thrown back and suffered severe casualties from a revitalized Red Army able to move well trained and equipped reinforcements from Siberia after being released from the threat of Japanese attack. It was also a stunning realization that Germany was now locked in the stalemate of a two-front war she so loathed and sought to avoid. Certainly the Battle of Britain was huge but the defeat after the tantalizing high water mark of reaching the Moscow suburbs must have been great as this was the first serious land reversal the Heer suffered whereas perhaps the OKW could rationalize the defeat in the air with the belief that Britain could be blockaded and starved. They couldn't plausibly do either to the USSR...
    Last edited by Nickdfresh; 11-18-2015 at 06:22 PM.

  7. #52
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    Default Re: European Theater - What was the turning point?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    ...as this was the first serious land reversal the Heer suffered whereas perhaps the OKW could rationalize the defeat in the air with the belief that Britain could be blockaded and starved. They couldn't plausibly do either to the USSR...
    Naaah...both the BoB and the Moscow block are similar in set-back for the Germans, and equally not perceived immediately negative destructive and at least manageable!
    In both cases the Germans had to pull through and finish the job for attaining a proper military milestone/stepstone. To target the neutralisation of the heavy industries (material and men) far behind the front.

    Only if british industry (incl sea transport) were neutralized (by occupation or cease fire), there would be no chance of expecting end of hostilities (by building and training more and more bombers, destroyers) or facilitating a stepping stone /aircraft carrier for the perhaps getting involved USA (in the eyes of Hitler, FDR was always frustrating the Nazis so ANY opportunity cld be used to get the US involved). By leaving UK unattended "for the time being" to focus on the East, the Germans may have expected to contain the striking capability of UK, but couldnot manage to defend themselves against the ever increasing penetrations (bombers, raids, resistance ) lateron.

    The same goes for Moscow 41... The German HQ of course realised they were at their end of their stretch..for the moment. Yes, a fresh force of siberian troops with new tanks fell upon the front...but they didNOT crush through like an unstoppable tsunami. The front stabilized. And Leningrad was stable..and were getting starved...quite long time really.
    And for the German HQ its experience is that the russian menace CAN be contained, and MANAGED..with a few more AT guns, few more fresh troops.
    Following the next year with a batch of new "wunder"panzer, and 1000's of new recruits, they may "easily" revive the 41 momentum and crash through the unique ,once deployed surplus of siberian troops (there can be only ONE time of administering the reserve of the Siberian troops...right?).

    So both set backs are seen as manageable temporary problems and in no way the realisation of Nazi armageddon.
    (one proof: the resistance of german officers against Hitler had not started in winter 1941...AT-ALL....).



    Titanic metaphor:
    BoB end = "watch out, Ice berg ahead!" ,
    Moscow block = screeching past iceberg, many hear the noise and feel a shock..but NONE realise there is a gaping hole, or Titanic will ultimately sink.
    Stalingrad = Crew learn too many watertight compartments flooded, life boats out, and ship listing at 20degrees.start of panic.
    Kursk = systems out...30% already drowned . Titanic uncontrolled listing.
    DDAY = realisation there are not enough life boats out there...and help ships are too far away.
    Operation Bagration = Titanic breaks up.....rats leave the sinking ship....
    Hitler attentat = rats leave the sinking ship
    Last edited by Frankly Dude Really; 11-20-2015 at 05:56 AM.

  8. #53
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    Default Re: European Theater - What was the turning point?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frankly Dude Really View Post
    Naaah...both the BoB and the Moscow block are similar in set-back for the Germans, and equally not perceived immediately negative destructive and at least manageable!
    .....
    So both set backs are seen as manageable temporary problems and in no way the realisation of Nazi armageddon.
    (one proof: the resistance of german officers against Hitler had not started in winter 1941...AT-ALL....).
    I think the discussion so far was looking at turning points from an objective historical perspective, not the subjective German perspective you're describing.

    If we're looking at a purely subjective German perspective, in the sense of the leadership not accepting that it was defeated, the turning point didn't occur until late April / early May 1945.

    This goes a long way to explaining why Hitler and his leadership failed to recognise the earlier turning points which doomed Germany, and certainly none later than the failure of the Ardennes offensive several months earlier.

    If one focuses only on subjective German leadership turning points, then the turning point for Hitler was the realisation when Berlin was besieged that Roosevelt's death in April 1945 was not, as he jubilantly hoped, a repetition of the salvation in similar circumstances nearly two centuries earlier of Frederick the Great by the death of the Russian Empress being succeeded by Peter who was sympathetic to Frederick.
    ..
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  9. #54
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    Default Re: European Theater - What was the turning point?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frankly Dude Really View Post
    ...
    So both set backs are seen as manageable temporary problems and in no way the realisation of Nazi armageddon.
    (one proof: the resistance of german officers against Hitler had not started in winter 1941...AT-ALL....).

    ...
    Except their problem was now they were facing a war of attrition with an enemy that did not collapse at the "door" being kicked in. Even Hitler's opponents on the General Staff thought that the Soviets would collapse once the Dniester River was reached. And any hope of the British suing for peace -no matter how delusional- was now never going to happen...

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    Default Re: European Theater - What was the turning point?

    That was the turning point of the war in the sky but I would say the major turning point would be Stalingrad or D-Day

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    Default Re: European Theater - What was the turning point?

    Quote Originally Posted by historian_101airborne View Post
    That was the turning point of the war in the sky but I would say the major turning point would be Stalingrad or D-Day
    Now you hear it from an expert !

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