Discussion in 'General' started by Eggroy, Mar 16, 2004.

  1. Eggroy

    Eggroy Junior Member

    Please could someone tell me some historians views on: How far was hitler being in control of german strategy responsible for german defeat in world war II. Much appreciated!!!!!!
  2. Friedrich H

    Friedrich H Senior Member

      Please could someone tell me some historians views on: How far was hitler being in control of german strategy responsible for german defeat in world war II. Much appreciated!!!!!!

    This is a very difficult issue indeed. It has taken long time for me to research that.

    The "Hitler-screwed-it-all-up myth" has been lately reconsidered since this theory was made during the 1950s by many German generals who blamed the 'Bohemian corporal' for strategic débâcles —which of course, he is not innocent at all of but not completely guilty as previously believed.

    Hitler was definately not the military genious he thought he was, but nor was he at all the dumb corporal who didn't know a thing about strategy many thought he was. We must not forget that Hitler had many close military advisors and that he didn't take decisions lightly and suddenly. Unfortunately most of his close advisors were interested only about Hitler liking them and getting personal power. If we add to this that Hitler delayed every important decision until critical moments then we get the huge chaos of nazi Germany.

    Hitler also didn't have the academic knowledge of logistics and tactics recquired to be a succesful field commander and of course saw it all through his twisted political eyes: economic richess, thriumph of the superior men's will and German racial might... His ambition of power was also immense and his darwinian viwes of command structure did nothing to improve the situation, but the complete opposite.

    However, Hitler was incredibly clever, had a supperb memory, was always interested in new ideas and audacious plans and had a clear, concise and simple strategical view. He was not different from Churchill in many of this aspects, as a matter of fact.

    Let's remember that it was Hitler who came up with some crazy ideas and supported other that the General Staff didn't quite like: paratroopers, Panzer troops, gliders, commando raids, etc.

    Hitler came up with the idea of glider-airborne troops —Eben Emaël attack—, he thought of fast warships carrying troops into Norway, he supported the idea of paratroopers capturing the bridges at Holland, the Brandenburg troops disguised as Dutch, he supported the daring plan of Manstein into the Ardennes, etc. And when it came the time of the halt before Dunkirk Hitler took the decision after considering it a lot and he listened his most experienced soldier: Von Rundstedt.

    When Hitler turned east, it was the quarrels between OKH and OKW and the many plans and opinions that frustrated the campaign before it even started. This is Hitler's main mistake: creating an environment of inner struggle and non-co-operation and let his generals hesitate. When Hitler decided to go for Leningrad and the Ukraine he followed close advice and at the moment it seemed a good decision. Without the tanks going southwards, the Kiev battle wouldn't have been possible. And the loss of time can be blamed on Halder who trusted others to convince Hitler on the Moscow affair and on Guderian losing his nerve before Hitler...

    His decision to stand by in winter 1941 saved the whole Wehrmacht of an 1812 defeat. The next spring, he ordered the Khárkov salient to be withdrawn and created a huge trap which turned into a great German victory. This, however made him believe himself a great military genious who could run a campaign a thousand miles away. Then followed Hitler's and his staff's military mistakes during the Stalingrad campaign.

    When the airlift came he was convinced it would succeeed because general Jeschonnek —cheif of staff of the Luftwaffe— told him it was possible. He ordered then the VI Army to resist to buy time and withdraw Army Group 'A' as Manstein suggested.

    Hitler lost the Mediterranean campaign because he ignored Kesselring and listened to a mediocre strategist instead: Rommel. He left Malta alone and from that moment on the whole situation was doomed.

    At Kursk Hitler attacked because the OKH and its cheif, general Zeitzler advised him to.

    Not to mention that from 1944 on he was subjected to heavy medication by his doctors, making him even more stubborn and unrealistic.

    The final decision were all Hitler's and most of them were huge mistakes. But Hitler didn't come up with them nor ordered them alone.
  3. No.9

    No.9 Senior Member

    A very good argument Freddy and I found myself starting to write a similar reply. However, I stopped because I don’t think the question is what you or I think, but what published historians have said? :huh:

    ”Please could someone tell me some historians views”

    Nice try though. :P :D

  4. Friedrich H

    Friedrich H Senior Member

    I think he said historians and I considered myself one... :rolleyes: But alright...

    For a very deep, accurate and precise account on Hitler as military leader you must read: "Hitler 1936-1945 Nemesis" by Sir Ian Kershaw. B)
  5. No.9

    No.9 Senior Member

    No argument from me Freddy, I’d write a forward for your book any time. :rolleyes: :P The only problem I foresee, is Egg using your succinct observations in his essay, prefixed by the statement; According to Freddy……………, whereafter the teacher says; Freddy, Freddy………who the **** is Freddy?” :( , or whatever terms teachers use nowadays? :rolleyes: :D B)


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