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Thread: Things Hitler could have done to win WWII

  1. #1
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    Default Things Hitler could have done to win WWII

    Greetings all,

    I'm new and I am sure this topic has been covered here before but I have always been interested in this question:

    What could Hitler have done differently that would have won WWII for Germany?

    (After all, with all the setbacks, they did come whisker close to winning)

    1) Crash development of a German 4 engine bomber resulting in a deployable bomber as early as 1940. The Germans would have been able to smash the Russian tank factories beyond the Ural mountains.

    2) Act nicer to the Ukrainians in '41. Many Ukrainians hated the 'Soviet' occupiers of Ukraine. Had the Germans recruited them against the Soviets, there would have been an additional half million plus men to throw against Moscow in the Autumn drive against the Soviet capital.

    3) Winter boots and clothing for the Germans troops. Nuff said.

    4) Full war time mobilization of German industry starting in 1940. Hitler did not get around to that till late '42.

    5) Not gotten too 'emotional' over the conquest of Stalingrad.

    There are many more points like these, please add to the list.

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    Default Re: Things Hitler could have done to win WWII

    1) Nope - as the RAF/USAAF demonstrated (under far more favourable conditions), destroying single factories is very, very difficult indeed.
    2) There were actually an awful lot of Hiwis out there anyway - and they made next to no difference. Germany just didn't have the industrial base to support them well enough.
    3) All that existed, it was just in warehouses in Germany. There simply wasn't enough transport to move fuel, food, munitions and winter clothing forward - the same reason that several million Soviet civilians starved to death that winter. The Germans took their food to avoid having to ship it forward themselves (this was planned in from before the start of Barbarossa, incidentally).
    4) Might have extended the war a few months. Once the US was in, whatever they did was irrelevant - the US had the same potential for industrial mobilization as the rest of the world put together.
    5) Might have saved a single army group (bit of a shadow one at that). Then again, might not have - Stalingrad and the counterattack tied up very large Soviet forces too.
    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: Things Hitler could have done to win WWII

    Conclude negotiations with Franco for Spain to join the Axis in 1940, thus securing land transport through Spain to Gibraltar; capture Gibraltar; control access to the Mediterranean; and alter the whole course of the naval, land and air wars based upon Allied access to the Mediterranean and Suez Canal, which then influences aspects of the British and Allied effort against Japan.

    Which then has implications for German access to oil in Iraq and Iran, among other things, which significantly improves Germany's ability to launch and fight a sustained war in the East without being diverted by campaigns in North Africa, Greece, and Crete, and which leaves Malta isolated but then unimportant as there is no need to support a North African force.

    German control of Iraq's and Iran's oil also deprives the Allies, essentially Britain, of those supplies, although the impact of this may not be hugely significant as much of that oil was devoted to Britain's Mediterranean operations.

    There is no Allied invasion of Italy or anywhere else, nor does Italy surrender, so German forces are left to face only the Eastern and Western fronts, without LOC being diverted to various Mediterranean land operations.
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    Default Re: Things Hitler could have done to win WWII

    Doesn't help all that much - the overwhelming majority of Allied supplies to the Med came via the Cape of Good Hope and Suez, rather than the Straits of Gibraltar.

    Additionally, Gib is NOT an easy place to take during WW2 (I've just spent two weeks on an extended tour of the place, including a lot of the underground systems closed to the public) and taking it or not is pretty much irrelevant to the goal - Algeciras or Tarifa are quite capable of closing the Med by themselves.
    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: Things Hitler could have done to win WWII

    He could have blew his head off in '33 and saved the world an awfull lot of pain and death.

    Deaf

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    Default Re: Things Hitler could have done to win WWII

    1) Nope - as the RAF/USAAF demonstrated (under far more favourable conditions), destroying single factories is very, very difficult indeed.
    2) There were actually an awful lot of Hiwis out there anyway - and they made next to no difference. Germany just didn't have the industrial base to support them well enough.
    3) All that existed, it was just in warehouses in Germany. There simply wasn't enough transport to move fuel, food, munitions and winter clothing forward - the same reason that several million Soviet civilians starved to death that winter. The Germans took their food to avoid having to ship it forward themselves (this was planned in from before the start of Barbarossa, incidentally).
    4) Might have extended the war a few months. Once the US was in, whatever they did was irrelevant - the US had the same potential for industrial mobilization as the rest of the world put together.
    5) Might have saved a single army group (bit of a shadow one at that). Then again, might not have - Stalingrad and the counterattack tied up very large Soviet forces too.
    Hum, some very key points indeed. Perhaps, as Deaf has indicated, Hitler was fated to lose from the moment the invasion of Poland began.

    1) I disagree. German tank production was ground down by the Allied bombings. Parts were always in short supply. Just compare German/Soviet tank production numbers. A shortage in any one critical area of production would mean delays.

    In addition, while Speer was able to de-centralize German war production early on, the Soviets had one main centralized tank production center. Just look up 'Tankograd' in the city of Chelyabinsk. The Soviet system was geared toward central production centers. Who knows what would have happened if they were forced to decentralize.

    Germany had a robust air defense system and fighter cover (FW-190). The Soviets had neither. Perhaps the subjecting of Soviet production and population centers to just a fraction of what the US 8th Air Force had wrought on Germany would have changed the overall strategic position for the Soviets.

    2) Yes, there were some Ukrainians who fought along side with the Russians. However, while the Germans were initially greeted as liberators, relations quickly soured. Had they treated the Hiwis better then their recruitment efforts and resulting numbers would have been much better.

    I'm suggesting that had the Germans suplimented their forces with large numbers of Hiwis during that last push toward Moscow, Operation Typhoon, the Germans might have been successful. In that final push, the Germans commited over 900,000 men. Perhaps another 500,000 would have tipped the balance? (cannon fodder sometimes works)

    3) The winter gear did not get to the troops in time and in sufficent quantities. That is my point. There is also the persistant rumor that a train load to winter clothing was brought up to the rear of the Moscow front in '41 but was withhield from the troops so as to 'make them more motivated' in taking the Soviet capital. Again, it might have tipped the balance.

    4) The critical aspect here is knocking the Soviet Union out of the war. Either by defeating them in '41-'43 or forcing them into a negociated capitualtion. Either way works.

    Then, in June of 1944 the Allied landings at Normandy would have faced hundreds of German divisions; those recalled from the Eastern Front. Not to metion all the additional tanks and aircraft.

    Again, it's a mater of degree. If the Germans had more equipment, could they have knocked the USSR out of the war?? Perhaps.

    5) Had the Germans been able to get a solid logement across the Volga, they could have gone all out toward the Soviet Production centers past the Urals (Tankograd again) My plan: make a faint toward Stalingrad, force Stalin to defend 'his' city while the bulk of the forces (Hoth's tanks) head deep into the Soviet industrial backfield.

    Yes, in the end, all of that might not have made a difference. The Germans could not understand or calculate the resilience of Soviet industry and the Russian people. There are accounts filed by German officers of entire Soviet armies materializing out of nowhere. It seems that the entire USSR was mobilized from Moscow past Siberia in fighting the Germans.

    Time was not on Germany's side. They needed a quick victory in the East. Perhaps that was untenable under any condition?

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    Default Re: Things Hitler could have done to win WWII

    Quote Originally Posted by Trap77 View Post
    1) I disagree. German tank production was ground down by the Allied bombings. Parts were always in short supply. Just compare German/Soviet tank production numbers. A shortage in any one critical area of production would mean delays.
    Yes, to an extent - but remember that the allies were going all-out to flatten German industry and Speer STILL managed to get production to increase. Bombing was helpful, but not overwhelmingly critical. Furthermore, given that the Soviets had already evacuated their tank factories behind the Urals once - what's to stop them doing it again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trap77 View Post
    In addition, while Speer was able to de-centralize German war production early on, the Soviets had one main centralized tank production center. Just look up 'Tankograd' in the city of Chelyabinsk. The Soviet system was geared toward central production centers. Who knows what would have happened if they were forced to decentralize.
    Now look at a map of Chelyabinsk - it's about 1000 miles east of Moscow. Only the B-29 was marginally capable at those ranges, nothing the Germans ever built came close - and fighter escort is out of the question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trap77 View Post
    I'm suggesting that had the Germans suplimented their forces with large numbers of Hiwis during that last push toward Moscow, Operation Typhoon, the Germans might have been successful. In that final push, the Germans commited over 900,000 men. Perhaps another 500,000 would have tipped the balance? (cannon fodder sometimes works)
    How do you arm and feed them? As already mentioned, the German transport links were completely maxed out. If you have no additional supplies, then adding troops will not increase your combat power, just your casualties.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trap77 View Post
    3) The winter gear did not get to the troops in time and in sufficent quantities. That is my point. There is also the persistant rumor that a train load to winter clothing was brought up to the rear of the Moscow front in '41 but was withhield from the troops so as to 'make them more motivated' in taking the Soviet capital. Again, it might have tipped the balance.
    A rumour of a trainload. Whoopee-doo. That's a drop in the ocean of what is required. There was plenty more (in warehouses in Germany - Goebbels' scheme of "collecting winter clothes for the troops" was propaganda for internal consumption only) but the transport links to get it there just didn't exist. The German army of the time was essentially horse-drawn, and the Russian railways had both insufficient capability and had been wrecked by the retreating Soviet forces.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trap77 View Post
    4) The critical aspect here is knocking the Soviet Union out of the war. Either by defeating them in '41-'43 or forcing them into a negociated capitualtion. Either way works.
    Except that Hitler's mentality of the Germans being Aryan Supermen facing the sub-humans precluded him signing any form of peace treaty with them. Thus, unless they were willing to occupy the entire Soviet Union or some form of client-state was willing to do it for them, this wouldn't happen.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trap77 View Post
    Then, in June of 1944 the Allied landings at Normandy would have faced hundreds of German divisions; those recalled from the Eastern Front. Not to metion all the additional tanks and aircraft.
    Two problems with that. Firstly, not all those divisions would be in Normandy. Secondly, as the aftermath of Brest-Litovsk demonstrates, the majority of those divisions would still be tied down in the East as occupation troops. Even in 1918, the Germans still had about a Million troops in the East...

    Quote Originally Posted by Trap77 View Post
    5) Had the Germans been able to get a solid logement across the Volga, they could have gone all out toward the Soviet Production centers past the Urals (Tankograd again) My plan: make a faint toward Stalingrad, force Stalin to defend 'his' city while the bulk of the forces (Hoth's tanks) head deep into the Soviet industrial backfield.
    Very deep indeed - you're talking about doubling the length of an advance that was already perceptibly running out of steam. That goes beyond the territory of "what could Hitler do" into "what can I imagine he would have liked to do".

    Quote Originally Posted by Trap77 View Post
    Perhaps that was untenable under any condition?
    Yes.
    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: Things Hitler could have done to win WWII

    Quote Originally Posted by pdf27 View Post
    Doesn't help all that much - the overwhelming majority of Allied supplies to the Med came via the Cape of Good Hope and Suez, rather than the Straits of Gibraltar.

    Additionally, Gib is NOT an easy place to take during WW2 (I've just spent two weeks on an extended tour of the place, including a lot of the underground systems closed to the public) and taking it or not is pretty much irrelevant to the goal - Algeciras or Tarifa are quite capable of closing the Med by themselves.
    I also referred, perhaps not as clearly as I should have, to blocking access from Suez, and the reverse impact on the war against Japan, such as precluding Churchill's plan (or maybe just an assurance to Australia) to move part of the Med fleet through Suez to deal with a serious Japanese threat to Australia.

    I was contemplating Germany controlling access to the Med from both ends (ignoring the Soviet possibility from the Black Sea) and thus excluding all the Med based Allied operations.
    Last edited by Rising Sun*; 06-23-2009 at 08:33 AM.
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    Default Re: Things Hitler could have done to win WWII

    Ever think if Hitler would have just kept inside his borders, helped his people, made it a strong country, then Germany might have been a world power today? Might have even later become the world power.

    After all, about all he really did was make the U.S. and Russia far far stronger in the end.

    Sort of like what Darth Vader did... and evil tends to do that.

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    Default Re: Things Hitler could have done to win WWII

    What a lively debate. Thanks for the info to think about.

    As for:

    1) I still think the bombing of Soviet tank factories (as well as other Soviet military industry, as in steel mills) could have played a critical roll. Had those factories been bombed before they were evacuated.....

    Yes, Tankograd could still have been reached by a 4 engine bomber from German Occupied territory in the Ukraine. Think, B24's raided Ploesti from N. Africa, not from the bases in England.

    2) Ukraine was full of food, they could have brought their own food with them. The territory of Ukraine had plenty of assets that could have been pressed into service to fight the Soviets.

    My point is that the start line for Operation Typhoon was 200 miles west of Moscow. Major German units got within 75 miles of the city by late November. Perhaps with one last push, and an additional 200,000 Ukrainian troops, they could have made it. Perhaps.

    If not in late '41 then again, with more troops, they try a direct assault in the Spring of '42. At that point in the war the Germans were still within 250 miles of the Soviet capital. Ignore Stalingrad to the south and push all out, with Hoth's tanks in the lead, to Moscow.

    As for point 4, I think Hitler was indicating by late '41 and early '42 that he would have accepted a Soviet Union behind the Urals so long as he was in control of European Russia. Yes, it seems that everyone who invades Russia forgets that there are like 4 time zones east of Moscow to deal with.

    That's the thing with 'what if' scenarios, there is just no way to prove the outcome. Thanks for the insights.

    As for DS's points.
    Yes I agree, Hitler was a viscious monster foisted on the German people. I could, and should, go into the rise of Hitler in another thread.

    However, just let me make these points: Hitler was nothing, a nobody. Then somebody, or some group, funded this rise to power.

    Who?

    Well, a man named Fritz Thyssen wrote a book entitled, "I paid Hitler". Ok, I believe Fritz. Then there was a Hitler cheering section among the elite of Britain who funded Hitler. Of couse, not to be left out were top American industrialists like Ford and Rockafeller who funded Hitler. Last, there was the Grandfather of our previous President, Prescott Bush, who set up a bank in the USA that laundered Nazi loot during WWII that kept the German war effort going.

    Why? Why would they all do that?

    2 reasons:

    1) Build up German military industry and aim Germany at the Soviet Union under Stalin. Stalin was building his own tank invasion force. Use the German army to 'take care' of Stalin. Send a crazy to deal with the other crazy.

    2) In the end, Germany has no option to win and will be destroyed. There goes Germany as a major competator to the Anglo/American Empire.

    Hum.....

    (Ok, this is my last word here)
    Last edited by Trap77; 06-24-2009 at 11:52 PM.

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    Default Re: Things Hitler could have done to win WWII

    Quote Originally Posted by Trap77 View Post
    Yes, Tankograd could still have been reached by a 4 engine bomber from German Occupied territory in the Ukraine. Think, B24's raided Ploesti from N. Africa, not from the bases in England.
    Ploesti was ~1000 NM from the US bases in Africa - about the same distance Chelyabinsk was from the German front line. This raid required the longest-ranged bomber in the Allied inventory at the time, fitted with overload fuel tanks, and hence carrying a minimal bomb load. US casualties were severe on the raid, and the official allied report on the raid concluded that it caused no significant disruption to the production/refining of oil in Ploesti.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trap77 View Post
    2) Ukraine was full of food, they could have brought their own food with them. The territory of Ukraine had plenty of assets that could have been pressed into service to fight the Soviets.
    They were already using this food to feed the German forces anyway - you can't eat the same food twice. What you can do here is change which civilians you are going to starve to death to ensure that the militarily useful ones don't - but how is this going to help you recruit an army of Ukranians.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trap77 View Post
    If not in late '41 then again, with more troops, they try a direct assault in the Spring of '42. At that point in the war the Germans were still within 250 miles of the Soviet capital. Ignore Stalingrad to the south and push all out, with Hoth's tanks in the lead, to Moscow.
    Why? There is nothing of importance in Moscow beyond a railway junction. Napoleon succeeded in taking Moscow, which utterly failed to have any significant effect on the Russians. What is so different in 1941 from 1812?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trap77 View Post
    As for point 4, I think Hitler was indicating by late '41 and early '42 that he would have accepted a Soviet Union behind the Urals so long as he was in control of European Russia. Yes, it seems that everyone who invades Russia forgets that there are like 4 time zones east of Moscow to deal with.
    Really? Source on that one please, it's a completely new one to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trap77 View Post
    However, just let me make these points: Hitler was nothing, a nobody. Then somebody, or some group, funded this rise to power.
    He had a remarkable grasp of rhetoric and public speaking, being described by many as practically hypnotic. That is a major asset to a would-be demagogue.
    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: Things Hitler could have done to win WWII

    If the NAZIs had done the following then they would have had more chance of winning a war.

    Not started the War and left everyone alone.

    Then of course Hitler couldnt do that as Nazism was based on conflict and terror, never mind the concept that the German people were superior to almost all other races and it was their manifest destiny to rule the globe.

    Not declaring war on the US would have been a good move though. Im not even sure that this would have saved them from the Soviets in the end.

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    Default Re: Things Hitler could have done to win WWII

    Moscow was the critical seat of power for the Soviet Elite. I have been to Russia, there is Moscow and there is the whole rest of the country. Take Moscow and you deal the Soviets a death blow. (Hint: Most of Stalin's generals did not like him)

    As for Hitler accepting a 'peace' with Russia in '41-'42, there are many sources. Hitler had figured it out by '42 that Russia was too vast for Germany to finish off. Ukraine was critical to Germany for its strategic assets (food) and he needed a buffer between the Red Army and his Oil in Romania.

    Check out the quotes and source material from the book entitled, "Marching Orders". By '43 Hitler is quoted, on page 138, by a Japanese diplomat saying that he intended to "retire to the fortress". That was Hitler's code, 'fortress', for Germany. Hitler knew that the US and Britain was coming for him.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=FGq...esult&resnum=4

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    Default Re: Things Hitler could have done to win WWII

    Quote Originally Posted by Trap77 View Post
    Take Moscow and you deal the Soviets a death blow.
    It didn't work too well for Napoleon.

    Even if the Germans took Moscow, all that would have happened is that the Soviets would have withdrawn their troops and industry further east, drawing Germany further into a war well beyond Germany's logistical capabilities where in time the Soviets probably would still have gained the upper hand.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trap77 View Post
    (Hint: Most of Stalin's generals did not like him)
    Hitler wasn't exactly universally admired by his generals either, but they still continued to do his bidding when he had brought Germany to its knees and long after they knew he had destroyed it. And Hitler wasn't as big a bastard as Stalin. Despots like them are not usurped.
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    Default Re: Things Hitler could have done to win WWII

    Quote Originally Posted by Trap77 View Post
    Well, a man named Fritz Thyssen wrote a book entitled, "I paid Hitler".
    No, he didn't.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trap77 View Post
    Ok, I believe Fritz.
    Fritz didn't write it. Nor does it accurately reflect his views. It was published in 1941 by its author Emery Reves, a Hungarian emigre hugely opposed to the Nazis and who also happened to be Churchillís literary agent and Churchill's / Britain's / anti-Nazi propagandist in America, while Fritz was imprisoned by the Nazis after trying to escape from Germany and not in a position to challenge Revesí inventions attributed to him.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trap77 View Post
    Then there was a Hitler cheering section among the elite of Britain who funded Hitler. Of couse, not to be left out were top American industrialists like Ford and Rockafeller who funded Hitler. Last, there was the Grandfather of our previous President, Prescott Bush, who set up a bank in the USA that laundered Nazi loot during WWII that kept the German war effort going.
    None of them came on board until long after Hitler had come close to or achieved power in Germany.

    Don't confuse supporting Hitler or taking profits from trading with Nazi Germany with funding Hitler.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trap77 View Post
    Why? Why would they all do that?

    2 reasons:

    1) Build up German military industry and aim Germany at the Soviet Union under Stalin. Stalin was building his own tank invasion force. Use the German army to 'take care' of Stalin. Send a crazy to deal with the other crazy.

    2) In the end, Germany has no option to win and will be destroyed. There goes Germany as a major competator to the Anglo/American Empire.
    You ought to read the American strategic assessments in the decade or so preceding WWII, when it was debated whether Americaís interests were better served by supporting Germany or Britain. There was no automatic support for Britain, while there was support for Germany.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trap77 View Post
    However, just let me make these points: Hitler was nothing, a nobody. Then somebody, or some group, funded this rise to power.

    Who?
    Indeed.

    Who would fund a nothing, a nobody, to do anything on a national scale?

    Apart from a few like Thyssen, the rich and powerful did not come on board until after Hitler had come close to or gained power, which is the natural instinct of the rich and powerful as they donít apply their closely held dollars to nobodies and nothings who canít advance their interests.

    Despite his early support for Hitler, Thyssen opposed many of Hitler's actions from the mid-1930s and later opposed the war. He tried to escape from Germany and was imprisoned by the Nazis. He ended the war in Sachsenhausen and then Dachau. Not exactly a poster boy for a rich supporter loved by the Nazis, is he?
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