The Reich's Ex-leaders Explain Why They Were Beaten

Discussion in 'The Third Reich' started by spidge, Nov 10, 2006.

  1. spidge



    From: Nazis Explain Defeat

    From the men who tried to run Germany's armies and factories under the impact of Allied air attacks comes some authentic testimony regarding the effectiveness of our air effort. After all, they should know. Because the following statements were not available for IMPACT, Vol. III, No. 5, May 1945, on "U. S. Tactical Air Power in Europe," comments on tactical as well as strategic air are included:

    [​IMG]Dr. Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht, former German finance minister: "Germany lost the war the day it started. Your bombers destroyed German production, and Allied production made the defeat of Germany certain."

    [​IMG]Generaleutnant Adolf Galland, Chief of Fighters, GAF: "In my opinion, it was the Allied bombing of our oil industries that had the greatest effect on the German war potential. Even our supplies for training new airmen were severely curtailed--we had plenty of planes from the autumn of 1944 on, and there were enough pilots up to the end of that year, but lack of petrol didn't permit the expansion of proper training to the air force as a whole.

    "In the African campaign and in Sicily and Italy, Allied successes were largely due to Allied air superiority. In my opinion, strategic bombing never forced any great change in German strategy and planning until after the opening of the invasion. Then, disorganization of German communications in the west by strategic bombing caused withdrawal to the German frontier. In the last two months of the war, the crippling of the German transport system brought about the final collapse."

    General Jahn, Commander in Lombardy: "The attacks on the German transport system, coordinated with the serious losses in the fuel industry, had a paralyzing effect not only on the industries attacked but on all other German industries as well."

    [​IMG]Generaloberst Heinz Guderian, former Chief of Staff, German ground forces, and Inspector General of armored units: "Lack of German air superiority in Normandy led to complete breakdown of German net of communications. The German Air Force was unable to cope with Allied air superiority in the West."

    Generalmajor Albrecht von Massow, A.O.C. Training, GAF: "The attack on German oil production opened in 1944 was the largest factor of all in reducing Germany's war potential."

    Generalmajor Herhuth von Rohden, Chief of historical section (Abteilung 8) of Luftwaffe General Staff: "The invasion of Europe would have been impossible without strategic bombing. It was the decisive factor in the long run."

    Generalmajor Kolb, formerly in charge of technical training at the Air Ministry: "From the middle of 1940 onward, Germany was forced into major revision of its strategic plans of operation. The power of Allied day and night strategic bombing forced Germany on the defensive from that time on."

    General Ingenieur Spies, Chief Engineer of Luftflotte 10: "Without air superiority, the Allied invasion would not have been successful. The Allied advance in both Africa and France was due to the very effective tactical bombing of all types of targets, including transport facilities. I also consider that the strategic disruption of communications was the vital factor."

    Generaloberst Georg Lindemann, commanding last German troops to surrender in Denmark: "The reason Germany lost the war was Allied air power."

    [​IMG]General Feldmarschall Karl Gerd von Rundstedt, Commander-in-Chief in the West before German surrender: "Three factors defeated us in the West where I was in command. First, the unheard-of superiority of your air force, which made all movement in daytime impossible. Second, the lack of motor fuel oil and gas -- so that the Panzers and even the remaining Luftwaffe were unable to move. Third, the systematic destruction of all railway communications so that it was impossible to bring one single railroad train across the Rhine. This made impossible the reshuffling of troops and robbed us of all mobility. Our production was also greatly interfered with by the loss of Silesia and bombardments of Saxony, as well as by the loss of oil reserves in Romania."

    [​IMG]General der Infanterie Georg Thomas, military chief of the German Office of Production: "Bombing alone could not have beaten Germany, but without bombing the war would have lasted for years longer."

    [​IMG]Fritz Thyssen, formerly first producer of steel in Germany: "I knew what British and American production could do, and I knew that German production would be bombed and destroyed -- as it was."

    [​IMG]General der Flieger Hans-Georg von Seidel, Commander-in-Chief. Luftflotte 10: "I had no first-hand experience in the matter, but it is my opinion that without disruption of German communications, the invasion would have been a failure.
    "The decisive factor in the German defeat was the disruption of German transport communications by Allied air power."

    [​IMG]General Feldmarschall Albert Kesselring, Commander-in-Chief in the West, succeeding von Rundstedt, and formerly Commander-in-Chief in Italy: "Dive-bombing and terror attacks on civilians, combined with the heavy bombing, proved our undoing.
    "Allied air power was the greatest single reason for the German defeat."

    Generaleutnant Karl Jacob Veith, A.O.C. Flak Training: "The Allied breakthrough would have been utterly impossible without strategic as well as tactical bombing. The destruction of the oil industry and the simultaneous dislocation of the German communication system were decisive."

    Generalmajor Ibel, Commander of 2nd Fighter Division: "Without air superiority, the Allied invasion of Europe would not have been possible."

    General Wolff, SS Obergruppenfuchrer and General of the Waffen SS: "The ever-increasing disruption of plant and transport facilities resulted in a supply situation which became more and more unsatisfactory. The front died of slow starvation."

    Generaloberst von Vietinghoff, Supreme Commander in Southwest (Italy): "Insofar as it is possible to judge from Italy, it is generally recognized that Allied air attacks [on the aircraft and fuel industries] were extremely successful. This is especially true with reference to attacks on the fuel industry, which by the end of the war proved to be the decisive factor."

    When asked by interrogators if Allied air power was chiefly responsible for Germany's defeat, answered: "Yes, because industry and transport facilities were greatly reduced, which resulted in a lessening of supplies to all fronts.

    "On the Italian and the Western Front, all freedom of movement for reserves and tanks was denied during daylight hours. Thus counterattacks were impossible. In isolated instances, when we were successful in assembling troops for a major surprise attack, it could only be done at night, and then the Allies were always in a position to bring their air force into action at any desired spot in a few hours and thus frustrate every German attack."

    Oscar Henschel, leading German industrialist, sole builder of Tiger Tanks: "Bombing caused our production figures to drop considerably. The Henschel factories produced only 42 Tiger Tanks (Tiger Royal) in February 1945 instead of the 120 they had been ordered to build.

    "Allied attacks of September 1944 were the most effective, I believe. If the bombers had kept up their attacks on my plants for two or three successive days, they would have been put out of commission for months."

    The director of Germany's steel combine: "If you had started bombing a year later, the Westwall would never have been pierced.

    "The virtual flattening of the great steel city of Dusseldorf, Germany's Pittsburgh, contributed at least 50 percent of the collapse of the German war effort."

    [​IMG]Feldmarschall Robert Ritter von Greim, Goering's successor as head of the air force, said just before taking a fatal bite of potassium cyanide: "I am the head of the Luftwaffe but I have no Luftwaffe."

    The general manager of Junkers in Italy: "The attacks on the ballbearing industry were an unqualified success and disorganized Germany's entire war production. I am surprised, however, that such attacks did not come earlier, when Germany's whole output was centered in two centers, Schweinfurt and Friederichshaven.

    "The Allied attacks on German lines of communication were even more effective than the bombing of factories. Railway traffic was worst hit as, due to the increasing shortage of petrol, the roads were being less used."

    [​IMG]General Feldmarschall Hugo Sperrle, Commander-in-Chief of Luftflotte 3 until the fall of Paris: "Allied bombing was the dominant factor in the success of the invasion. I believe the initial landing could have been made without assistance from the air forces, but the breakthrough that followed would have been impossible without the massive scale of bombing, particularly of the German communications far in the rear.

    "Allied air power was the chief factor in Germany's defeat."

    A high official of the Siemens-Schuckert Company, one of the world's greatest manufacturers of industrial and engineering equipment: "Your bombing was getting steadily more effective after 1943. At the beginning of last year German industry began to be seriously embarrassed by it, although plants in Nuremburg did not really feel its weight until the last six months. We in Siemens-Schuckert had one blow in March 1943, when a bomb ignited the oil tanks in our transformer plant, which we believe is the largest in the world, and completely stopped production of the large type of transformers needed for chemical and steel plants. We were the sole manufacturers of such machines. We were never actually able to make them again."

    General der Flieger Karl Bodenschatz, Chief of "Ministeramt," Air Forces High Command: "The invasion could not have been made without the overwhelming superiority of Allied air power. The German army could not bring up its reserves, as the railways were cut -- troops could not be moved by roads in the daylight, and as the nights were short it was very difficult to move troops at all.

    "I am very much impressed with the accuracy of American daylight bombing, which really concentrated on military targets, stations, and factories, to the exclusion of others."

    Christian Schneider, manager of Leuna Works, one of Germany's largest synthetic gasoline and oil plants: "Up until a week ago (middle of April 1945 ), the Leuna plant was still operating, turning out a pitifully thin trickle of fuel. The output was so small compared with its capacity potential that production officials had difficulty plotting it on a chart. The 8th Air Force twice knocked out the plant so that the production was nil for a period of 15 days, and once the RAF did the same. Once after the attacks started, the plant got back to 70 percent capacity production for a period of 10 days. Another attack, and the plant got hack to 50 percent. But from then on it never got more than a mere drop in comparison to its capacity."

    Alfred Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, leading German armament maker: "Allied air attacks left only 40 percent of the Krupp works able to operate now. These plants of mine, and German industry as a whole, were more hampered by lack of speedy and adequate transportation facilities since the beginning of 1943, than by anything else.

    "The Allies, from their point of view, made a great mistake in failing to bomb rail lines and canals much earlier. Transport was the greatest bottleneck in production. Plants can be and were dispersed, but the Reichsbahn couldn't put its lines underground."

    [​IMG]Dr. Hans Karl Wille, Director, Brabag synthetic oil plant, Zeitz: "We tried to resume production in our bomb-shattered plant, but before we could get started, the American First Army moved in on us."

    War Diary of the 7th German Army High Command (General Dollman), 11 June 1944: "Since the beginning of the Allies' large-scale attack, our transport system has been under constant attack by their air forces. Because of the continuous bombing of the main roads and the constant disruption of the detours, some of which could be driven over only at night and could be kept open for only a few hours, it became evident even after the first three hours that troop movements by rail could not be maintained. Not only did the combat group of the 275th Infantry Division, parts of the combat group of the 265th Infantry Division, and the 353rd AT Battalion have to be unloaded after one-fourth of the distance had been covered, but the 17th Armored Infantry Division and the 8th Smoke Projector Unit, which were being carried by rail, also had to be unloaded because the route was blocked even before they reached the army boundary line.

    "Troop movements and all supply traffic by rail to the army sector must be considered as completely cut off. The fact that traffic on the front and in rear areas is under constant attack from Allied air power has led to delays and unavoidable losses in vehicles, which in turn have led to a restriction in the mobility of the numerous Panzer units due to the lack of fuel and the unreliability of the ammunition supply...

    "The following information, based on the first few days' experiences with the Allied deployment of air power, is reported by the Army Supreme Command to the Army Group B:

    "1. Rail transport is impossible because the trains are observed and attacked in short order: under these circumstances, the expenditure of fuel and the wear and tear on materiel in bringing up Panzer units is extremely high.

    "2. The movement of units by motor transport is possible only at night, and even then the highways and communication centers are continually bombed. The continual control of the field of battle by Allied air forces makes daylight movement impossible and leads to the destruction from air of our preparations and attacks.

    "3. The Army considers it urgently necessary that our own air force be used by day and night in order to neutralize the Allies' now unbearably overwhelming air supremacy."


    [​IMG]Hermann Goering, long-time chief of the Luftwaffe, made the following remarks during the course of several interrogations:

    "I knew first that the Luftwaffe was losing control of the air when the American long-range fighters were able to escort the bombers as far as Hanover. It was not long before they were getting to Berlin. We then knew we must develop the jet planes. Our plan for their early development was unsuccessful only because of your bombing attacks.

    "Allied attacks greatly affected our training program, too. For instance, the attacks on oil retarded the training because our new pilots couldn't get sufficient training before they were put into the air.

    "I am convinced that the jet planes would have won the war for us if we had had only four or five months' more time. Our underground installations were all ready. The factory at Kahla had a capacity of 1,000 to 1,200 jet airplanes a month. Now with 5,000 to 6,000 jets, the outcome would have been quite different.

    "We could have trained sufficient pilots for the jet planes despite oil shortage, because we would have had underground factories for oil, producing a sufficient quantity for the jets. The transition to jets was very easy in training. The jet-pilot output was always ahead of the jet-aircraft production.

    "Germany could not have been defeated by air power alone, using England as a base, without invasion -- because German industry was going underground, and our countermeasures would have kept pace with your bombing. But the point is, that if Germany were attacked in her weakened condition as now, then the air could do it alone. That is, the land invasion meant that so many workers had to be withdrawn from factory production and even from the Luftwaffe.

    "We bombed cities in England instead of concentrating on aircraft and engine factories despite my original intention to attack only military targets and factories, because after the British attacked Hamburg our people were angry and I was ordered to attack indiscriminately.

    "Allied precision bombing had a greater effect on the defeat of Germany than area bombing, because destroyed cities could be evacuated but destroyed industry was difficult to replace.

    "Allied selection of targets was good, particularly in regard to oil. As soon as we started to repair an oil installation, you always bombed it again before we could produce one ton.

    "We didn't concentrate on four-engined Focke-Wulf planes as heavy bombers after the Battle of Britain, because we were developing the He-177 and trying to develop the Me-264, which was designed to go to America and return. Because our production capacity was not so great as America's, we could not produce quickly everything we needed. Moreover, our plants were subject to constant bombing.

    "If I had to design the Luftwaffe again, the first airplane I would develop would be the jet fighter, then the jet bomber. It is now a question of fuel. The jet fighter takes too much. The Me-264 awaited only the final solution of the fuel-consumption problem. According to my view the future airplane is one without fuselage (flying wing) equipped with turbine in combination with the jet and propeller.

    "Before D-Day, the Allied attacks in Northern France hurt us the most because we were not able to rebuild in France as quickly as at home. The attacks on marshaling yards were most effective, next came low-level attacks on troops, then attacks on bridges. The low-flying planes had a terror effect and caused great damage to our communications. Also demoralizing were the umbrella fighters, which after escorting the bombers would swoop down and hit everything, including the jet planes in the process of landing.

    "The Allies owe the success of the invasion to the air forces. They prepared the invasion; they made it possible; they carried it through.

    "Without the U. S. Air Force the war would still be going on elsewhere, but certainly not on German soil."
    Slipdigit likes this.
  2. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Great Post Geoff! I was never of the opinion that Bombing on its own won the war but you cant deny these guys testimonies. It sure helped!
  3. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  4. Kyt

    Kyt Very Senior Member

    These seem in contrast to the Strategic Bombing Surveys carried out under J K Galbraith. As he stated in Guradian:

    "At the end of the second world war, I was the director for overall effects of the United States strategic bombing survey - Usbus, as it was known. I led a large professional economic staff in assessment of the industrial and military effects of the bombing of Germany. The strategic bombing of German industry, transportation and cities, was gravely disappointing. Attacks on factories that made such seemingly crucial components as ball bearings, and even attacks on aircraft plants, were sadly useless. With plant and machinery relocation and more determined management, fighter aircraft production actually increased in early 1944 after major bombing. In the cities, the random cruelty and death inflicted from the sky had no appreciable effect on war production or the war.

    These findings were vigorously resisted by the Allied armed services - especially, needless to say, the air command, even though they were the work of the most capable scholars and were supported by German industry officials and impeccable German statistics, as well as by the director of German arms production, Albert Speer. All our conclusions were cast aside. The air command's public and academic allies united to arrest my appointment to a Harvard professorship and succeeded in doing so for a year."

    The actual Surveys can be found by following the links at the bottom of the wikipedia article:
  5. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Do you notice they only mention the Western Allies?
    No mention of their forces being ground to pulp by the Soviets?
    it seems as if they don't mind admitting being beaten by Western Air power but won't acknowledge their defeat at the hands of Die Untermenschen.
  6. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Excellent point, underlining the fact you've always got to remember who's asking the question in order to get any sort of context to the response.
  7. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    I wonder if the Germans in Soviet Captivity would have agreed with this!
  8. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    It's hard to be interviewed in a salt-mine. ;)
  9. Kyt

    Kyt Very Senior Member

    It also makes you wonder why they responded the way that they did. In Overy's book "Interrogations: The Nazi Elite in Allied Hands 1945", he states that,

    "[the interviews should be] treated with caution. [the interviews] must be viewed not as the truth, but for what they are: statements of a point of view, greatly influenced by the questions the interrogator chooses to ask and by the willingness of the interviewee to respond with candour or deceit" (pg xix) (bold mine).

    Even though he's talkng about the Nuremberg Trial defendents, one can imagine the same statement being made about the above.

    As for the Russians:

    "Soviet interrogators laboured under the disadvantage that they could not use the techniques they were familiar with in Moscow. It was noted with disapproval by the KGB that Alexandrov failed to respond with sufficient vigour to the occassional declaration of anti-Soviet sentiments by those he cross-examined. The prisoners that were captured by the Soviet side proved more pliant than the internees at Nuremberg. The copy of the interrogation of Hans Frizsche, a senior official in Goebbel's Ministry of Propaganda and Popular Enlightenment....betrayed all the hallmarks of Soviet judicial procedure, not only through the use of simple propagandistic language, but because of the willingness of the prisoner to confess everything attributed to him by his interlocutor without demur" (pg 80 ibid)

    These were the high and mighty; but at the time of the IMPACT report, the other prisoners wouldn't have known whether they would be standing trial either.
  10. spidge


  11. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    techniques they were familiar with in Moscow.
    Now there's a grim euphemism.
  12. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Do you notice they only mention the Western Allies?
    No mention of their forces being ground to pulp by the Soviets?
    it seems as if they don't mind admitting being beaten by Western Air power but won't acknowledge their defeat at the hands of Die Untermenschen.

    That is an interesting point as I thought when read the submissions.Perhaps it is also we in the West are also guilty of not giving full credit to Russia because of what it stood for.After the event as Churchill said an "iron curtain" was drawn across one half of Europe.Additionally there is a shortage of Russian documents in the West for serious study although there is now a trickle flow since the fall of communism in the former Soviet Russia.

    The fact that Germany had ineffective Allies was not mentioned.Italy struggled in the Balkans,and had no motivation to fight after being smashed in North Africa.Japan,surprisingly offered no military aid at all, allowing Stalin to pull out Siberian troops from the far east in the autumn of 1941 and relieve the Moscow front.

    No mention of the folly to invade Russia and give Germany an untolerarable burden of fighting on two fronts.The meat mincing machine of the Red Army devoured 150 divsions on the Eastern front.Hitler made the decision to invade
    Russia on the basis that he thought that the war in the West was won in the summer of 1940.His attack on Russia was planned to give a swift victory,he had a track record of swift victories,and he gamble that it would be accomplished before any intervention by the US.(" one kick at the door and the whole house will come tumbling down",such was his confidence.)

    There was no mention of the best General,the Allies had, one Adolf Hitler whose interference down to battalion level caused much confusion at operational level on all fronts.Never a professional soldier,Hitler always asserted himself above his military leadership based solely on his experience in the trench warfare of the Western Front.

    No matter who blamed who for Germany's defeat,there is abundant evidence that those on the Nuremberg scaffold were still loyal servants of Hitler and Nazism to the end.
  13. Gunpowder

    Gunpowder Junior Member

  14. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    I see that the last post before "Gunpowder" resurrected this thread was dated November 2006.

    This accounts for the fact that I missed the original thread.

    The next time "Bomber" Harris is vilified I shall be delighted to give the modern day scoffers the link to this thread as, if nothing else, it demonstrates the immense contribution that Bomber Command made to the ultimate winning of the war.

  15. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Bomber Command will always be the target of the revisionists who with poor focus, never researched deep into Great Britain's plight from the summer of 1940 and the need to carry the war to the German home front.While Fighter Command fought the Luftwaffe to a standstill through the summer of 1940 at the cost of some 500 pilots,Bomber Command continued and took the battle to the enemy to destroy his invasion barges at a cost of something like over 600 aircrew.

    Russia did not have the capability to bomb Germany and adversely affect her means of waging war and this was left to the Royal Air Force and the USAAF when the US entered the war.Speer did comment after the war that had the major German cities received 6 raids resulting in the degree of devastation that Hamburg received in July 1943,then air warfare would have put Germany out of the war.

    Regarding the influence of the Red Army in my previous post of 10/11/2006, quoted 150 German Divsions being destroyed.That estimate is incorrect and I believe that the final toll was 250 Divisions.In the end the Third Reich ran out of manpower,manpower to wage war on its multiple fronts,manpower to keep its war economy effective and by the Allies who denied him the raw materials to keep his war production going.

    Then there was the strength of the Allies's radar R&D which was delivered as a most effective tool of war against the enemy.The Germans were always left in the wake of this technology simply because Hitler did not understand its importance and did not fund it sufficiently for the Germans to gain the upper hand.

    An added point.In hindsight and it should have been obvious to Hitler and his military planners at the time.An analysis of the coordination of the German home front would find it lacking in exerting its priorities to defend Germany.The activities of the SS and their goals appeared to be more important that the defence of the Third Reich.Despite the chaos from 1944 onwards and the ever shrinking of the Hitler Empire, the SS were stll allowed a free hand to requisition transport resources such as the Reichsbahn to shuttle political prisoners and the untermechen through the length and breadth of the Empire.The needs of the German home front defence appeared to be relegated when compared to the need to fullfil the SS ideologies.

    This may have been due to the deference that the likes of the Hitlerites, Keitel and Jodl had towards Himmler and the SS.
  16. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Do you notice they only mention the Western Allies?
    No mention of their forces being ground to pulp by the Soviets?
    it seems as if they don't mind admitting being beaten by Western Air power but won't acknowledge their defeat at the hands of Die Untermenschen.

    I have read a few German general's memoirs, including the well-known v.Manstein's Lost Victories, as well as Liddel-Hart's interviews in The Other Side of the Hill. I also read a number of postwar US Army documents on the German view and it's always the same incomprehension.

    The bombardments were important? Certainly, no one sane will deny that, but we also have to take account of timing. Disasters like Stalingrad, Kursk, the Tunisian surrender, Op. Bagration (at a pinch) were certainly not influenced by the Western Allied airpower. The Germans were already taking heavy kicks in their Reichsarse long before the economy was taking blows in the earnest.

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