Why was a German victory in WW2 impossible?

Discussion in 'General' started by Lindele, Oct 11, 2020.

  1. Lindele

    Lindele formerly HA96

    Just read an interview the British historian Richard J. Evans had with a German Internet Platform about: What would have chapped if?

    If Hitler would have died in a car crash, Evans stated:
    "Would Germany in the end won the war? No, the key factor was the power of economy by the US, GB and the Soviet Union.
    It was simply much greater than that of Nazi Germany."

    Any thoughts by the members?

  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    He was doing ok until he attacked the USSR.
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  3. Lindele

    Lindele formerly HA96

    so what if he crash happened before Stalingrad?
  4. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    Hitler was never going to win. The sheer economic power of the US was going to see to that. At no point in the war did the US commit more that 26% of their economy to the war effort - and yet they supplied the British and Soviets with vast quantities of everything.

    John Ellis, in his book ‘Brute Force’, argues that the Allies won for exactly that reason.

    Worth a read.


    Last edited: Oct 15, 2020
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  5. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    Yeah. Maybe if he stopped after Compiegne and ruled less malevolently, you never know. Getting into what if though.
  6. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    But still doomed
    Germany could not fight a long war and feed herself. She might just have been able to do one or the other but not both.

    German agriculture needed more manpower and material inputs - the alternative was to use imports but
    Germany lacked the foreign exchange (Whereas Britain entered the war with many times more realisable assets overseas)
    Germany could not export to earn such finance as production of war material took priority and Britain was running a tight naval and commercial blockade which cut off overseas markets. Buying food from the USSR 1939 -1941 helped but it cost and Germany was running out of things to sell the Soviets. Selling technology was running out of steam as the USSR began to realise that Germany wasn't as far ahead of them as had been boasted. They did buy the machine tools they needed to make the next generation of tanks.
    Germany could and did plunder food from occupied territories but this still took manpower in the form of occupation forces and was very inefficient. Even when they ravaged parts of the Ukraine and Russia they got less food than they had been able to buy and they wrecked the food system so this source dried up.

    Churchill had been right when he pronounced that for Hitler to win he had to "break us in this island". Germany's real chance would have been if the British cabinet had bottled it after the fall of France and sought terms but apart from Halifax the War Cabinet held its nerve. Germany could not bring down a naval and commercial power. The defeat in France forced Britain to revert to what Liddell Hart defined as The British way of Warfare. Defend the island with her naval power. Blockade the enemy with her marine and commercial strength. Engage the enemy on the periphery. Build alliances. It had worked in Napoleon's time.
  7. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Size, I keep being told, isn't everything. The 'British' economy was spread all over the globe and the US's was half a world away. Both powers tied up a significant chunk of their economies in lines of communication and their security.

    It does make me want to ask the question: to what extent did Hitler leave Britain to wither on the vine because it was not, in itself, resource- or lebensraum-rich?
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  8. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    Because of the spread of the British Empire a good deal of Britain's resources were beyond the reach of Axis action and the US was indeed the "arsenal of democracy" which is why Britain would not wither on the vine and could wait until Hitler made one forced error or another.

    Without the ability to face Britain on the high seas what else could Germany have done when Goring was unable to frighten her into surrender?
  9. Lindele

    Lindele formerly HA96

    Absolutely, did he even admire the British Empire?
  10. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    Well the tripartite pact had a plan to dismember it amongst themselves. India was offered to Stalin in late 1940 to try to get the USSR to take part. Germany was going to take her African colonies back, Italy would get Egypt (technically not part of the BE but a protectorate), Cyprus and Malta. Japan got Malaya etc. Australia, Canada and New Zealand would be left alone. I think Franco would have got Gibraltar for Christmas. The document proposing all of this to Molotov is in the captured German FO archives in Washington and an English translation exists.

    I wonder how Gandhi would have fared dealing with Stalin and his goons?
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2020
  11. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Absolutely Stefan.

    Manpower... I would add numbers that could be mobilised for the battlefield and very importantly a continual stream of manpower to cover battlefield losses.In the end,Germany was bled white of manpower to put into the field.

    Further, a war economy requires manpower to support it and from early in the war,it was increasingly evident that the Third Reich had a shortfall and had to resort to slave labour from occupied countries.

    Hitler did not harness the contribution to the war economy that women made for the Allies...British,the USSR and the US.For German women,they were looked on as "Kinder,Kirche and Kuche" according to the NS ideology which Hitler proclaimed when he rose to power in 1933..."women's place is in the home".There were many women's organisations "owned" by the NS title, but they were regarded as auxiliaries and not surprisingly were ranked as inferior to male formations.

    A burden on Germany to wage war, was to fight on two fronts.The Germans had defeated the Russians in 1917 and were confident that they could accomplish it again. The gamble was to achieve it before there was any Involvement in the war in Europe by the US as had happened in the Great War.

    Germany suffered in the Great War by the Allied sea blockade,a nation with restricted outlets to the high seas.On the victories of western Europe,particularly France,Hitler,aided by Donitz thought that with U Boat bases set in the occupied countries with direct access to the Atlantic would be a distinct advantage to challenge Britain on the high seas.This,he reasoned would lead to the breaking of any blockade to be imposed.He had already laid down a policy of autarchy for Third Reich self sufficiency which he based on his military intentions,a self sufficiency which he envisaged would lead to Germany becoming immune to the likes of the blockade,it was burdened with in the Great War.

    Car crash,,,had the Wehrmacht followed Ludwig Beck's lead and opposed Hitler in 1938,Hitler would have been removed from power and it is unlikely that Europe would have been drawn into war.The USSR would then have had to be considered in the balance of power within Europe.

    As it was in 1938,the Wehrmacht gave it's sole loyalty to Hitler and it's loyalty continued to the end of the regime.The attempt on Hitler's life in the July Plot by the junior officer Claus Stauffenberg as the leader of the Kreisau Circle stands out as the only worthy and valiant attempt to overthrow the regime.

    Perhaps the emergence of the Third Reich could have been neutered had the whole of Germany been occupied,when in the chaos of November 1918,Pershing advocated a drive on Berlin rather than settle for an armistice.An occupation that might have lasted until 1930 but wars are expensive and an easy road to bankruptcy as Great Britain found in 1945.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2020
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  12. jonheyworth

    jonheyworth Senior Member

    The Germans were never going to win because , contrary to popular belief , they were run by incompetents and couldn’t build shit, coupled with geography and sheer lunacy .

    Hitters death , would I think , have possibly given them a microscopically better chance

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  13. Trackfrower

    Trackfrower Member

    Not forgetting that they all hated and distrusted eachother.
    how many mysteriously got "disposed of"?
    Dr. Todt for starters
  14. idler

    idler GeneralList

    They came close enough for my liking. The incremental improvements in their performance don't bode well for the next attempt...
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  15. Lindele

    Lindele formerly HA96

    By the way, only recently I spoke to 2 95 + ex Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe men.
    Walter, 97 was next door in another hut when the Stauffenberg bomb exploded.
    And he made some interesting comments.
    But may be that is another thread?

  16. JDKR

    JDKR Member Patron

    In short and as others have said: Dollars, dollars, dollars and a world war being fought by a bunch of criminal gangsters. Amazing Germany remained in the fight as long as she did.
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  17. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    The position of German women and industry has been subject to some myths. Nazi discouragement of women in industry did exist and had contributed to a significant decline in working women outside of agriculture by 1939, but it was primarily a pre-war phenomenon which had begun as early as 1928 and attempts to get more women into the munitions industry began in earnest in February 1940. By this time the armaments industry was 250,000 men short of requirements. The head of the War Economy Staff a General Thomas noted "'the labour shortage has become the crucial issue of the war" and set in motion attempts to bring women in to fill the gap. One measure was to reduce the separation allowance paid to the wives of German forces to make staying at home unattractive. However this had morale implications for serving men. It did indeed force some women to work but absenteeism was very high and indiscipline rife to the point that in some cases the Gestapo was called in. Numbers were insufficient and the Ministry of Labour created a conscription plan for women in April 1940 and produced a draft decree to enact it. This then fell into a dispute involving the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of the Interior who said that the impact on morale would be unacceptable and the military High Command who demanded its immediate implementation. Eventually in June 1940 Goring refused to sign it on the grounds that it would create "'far too much unrest among the population at the moment" and POWs could be utilised instead.

    Despite the use of forced labour shortages still occurred and demands were again raised for female conscription and twice rejected by Hitler not as has often been averred for ideological reasons but again because of a fear of unrest. Finally in January 1943 he approved female conscription for women between 17 and 45. By December 1943 Speer's ministry stated that "We must record a total failure to mobilise German women for work in the war effort". German womanhood had proven remarkably adept at fulfilling conditions for exemption. This was not Hitlerean ideology at work
    "The eugenic argument against forcing women to work that it would weaken the racial stock, slow down population growth, cause miscarriages, disrupt the delicate balance of male supremacy - was, it seems, merely a piece of ritualistic rhetoric, behind which embarrassing domestic political considerations arising out of the weakness of the regime and its fear of the people, could conveniently be hidden." Simply put the employment of women in industry was very unpopular with both men and women in Germany and a populist regime was frightened to face this and take the risks of enforcing conscription.

    In any case the decline in female employment since 1928 meant that very few women had the skills and experience to start anything but the most unskilled tasks and a massive training programme would be required which by this time Germany could not mount.

    One should add that away from industry large numbers of women were employed - in agriculture on small inefficient family farms trying to fill the ever increasing gap as men were conscripted into the armed forces

    see Tim Mason, Women in Germany, Oxford University Press 2013
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2020
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  18. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

    No resources, no concept, no expertise
    But mess with the rest of the world, because you have conquered France and Poland
    hold my beer....
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  19. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    ...plus, it not very clever to base your decisions on an irrational ideology... reality will catch up with you one day...
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  20. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    Why was it impossible? Well, Alberk there is close to the core of the answer: the whole idea was nuts in the first place. When you have an ideology based on insane premises to begin with, all the other insanities which follow are just subordinate clauses.

    1. The Germans leaned some tactical and technical lessons from their defeat in WWI, but they learned little or nothing about strategy and war economy. At the policy level Hitler learned some low cunning and succeeded in keeping his enemies separated for a time, but in 1941 he threw this last advantage out the window. (Though I do think we and the Russians would have come in before long anyway--as I said, the Whole Idea Was Nuts.)

    2.On the Allied side it was not just money, not just resources. You can have all the superior assets in the world and still screw up, as the French did in 1940 and the Russians nearly did in 1941. The important thing is that the Allies learned to make superior use of what they had and to make it count on the battlefield. Making use of numbers and of firepower is a vital military skill, worth in the end far more than any amount of successful platoon counterattacks or fancy panzer dances. Montgomery WON; Manstein didn't.
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