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What is the most overlooked, undervalued, underestimated aspect of WWII?

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  • #16
    The overlooking of economy ..but whose?

    [QUOTE]
    Originally posted by cbo View Post
    One of the most overlooked, undervalued, underestimated aspect of WWII is that the war was basically over by 1943, won by the allied powers.
    Not so. It had been essentially and overwhelmingly won by the Soviet Army, who were the mainstay of the 'allied powers' and whose operations dwarfed those in the West.

    The last two years was just a mopping up operation.
    Only true of the land war in the West, where it never was anything more than mopping up, with the great bulk of the Germans still engaged in the East.
    The war on the Eastern Front was massive, ferocious and deadly critical from June 1941 to the ruins of Berlin.
    The only time the Western Front was centre stage for the Germans was 1940 when THEY were attacking.

    Planners of war-production were already adjusting production towards peace-time needs, like accepting a certain in-effeciency in tank production in order to secure the necessary post-war production facilities, but not ending up with too many tanks on their hands.
    Once again only in the West. A luxury they could afford with the Soviets still bearing the overwhelming burden of the fighting

    Another is that the "victory" of British strategy at the Casablance conference was not brought on by clever British manouvering or a change in US views. It was brought on by the fact that the US economy could not support an attack on Western Europe earlier than the summer of 1944. So just pull out the chapters on Casablanca in 99% of your books
    If you are implying this state of affairs was crucial in winning the war then may I remind you that it was a large-scale, albeit difficult mopping up operation.

    Someone said logistics - I'd say economy.
    Agreed. 'Economy' is a greatly overlooked aspect of the war....it just wasn't the Western economies that were crucial.

    Regards lodestar

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    • #17
      Originally posted by lodestar View Post
      If you are implying this state of affairs was crucial in winning the war then may I remind you that it was a large-scale, albeit difficult mopping up operation.
      I didn't say it was easy. What I am saying is that those planning the economy in (some?) allied countries were sufficiently convinced that the allies would win to start adjusting their economy and production towards that fact.

      I find it interesting, because it shows how we often tend to get bogged down in the events of history, the surface of things, ignoring how the big cogs of economy slowly grinds their way towards an inevitable end. It also sheds some light on the whole what-ifs and counterfactual history - that particular form of history only makes sense if you can identify the nodal points where events can actual throw a spanner in the transmission of history.

      As an example, all the drama about D-Day being in the balance and Eisenhowers alternative radio broadcast in case of failure in Normandy is just a superficial ripple on the surface.

      Agreed. 'Economy' is a greatly overlooked aspect of the war....it just wasn't the Western economies that were crucial.
      Certainly not

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by Kurt Knispel View Post
        Do you think that they could have opened a second front 1 year earlier instead of launching operation Torch and then the subsequent operations in Sicily and Italy?..
        Torch was in 1942, Casablanca conference early in 1943. So Torch was not at stake at Casablanca.

        What killed any notion of the Allies landing in France in 1943 was the fact that the US economy could not support the equipping of the forces deemed necessary. In November 1942, Marshall had to reduce the planned size of the US Army by more than 10% and cancel the organization of 14 divisions that Marshall had expected to be equipped and ready in June 1943.

        Basically, the idea of a 1943 invasion of North West Europe was based on the US Army having far more troops than it could produce the necessary equipment for.

        This came as a rude surprise for Marshall because bureacratic infighting had left him relying on dubious data until that time.

        I'd recommend Jim Lacey: "Keep From All Thoughtfull Men" as an interesting read on the subject.

        On top of that was the issue of shipping, which would likely not sustain an operation in NW Europe while at the same time keep things moving in the Pacific.

        But I guess you could build an argument around the idea that the allies did not launch Torch in 1942 and saved all the troops used there + whatever the US Army could raise until the summer of 1943 and use that for a landing in NW Europe.

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by cbo View Post
          I didn't say it was easy. What I am saying is that those planning the economy in (some?) allied countries were sufficiently convinced that the allies would win to start adjusting their economy and production towards that fact.

          By start 1944 there was no doubt the war was going to be lost by the Axis and had Germany not been run by Hitler she would have sued for terms just like in 1918. Germany did not 'last' until May 1945. She expired in 1944 and the corpse kept twitching until 1945.

          In 1944 The UK started culling weapons research projects and any that were not expected to deliver by 1945 were cancelled. They also had June 1945 pencilled in as the expected date of victory.

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by Half Pint John View Post
            Woman in the work force in large numbers. The Home front during peace hasn't been he same since. The full integration of American Forces.
            There were cultural changes that grew out of the war and you rightly point out two of them.
            Women took jobs that just a year before would have been considered one they could not possibly carry out.
            The need for child care and health care also came to the forefront because of that same experience.
            Dispite our best intentions, the system is dysfunctional that intelligence failure is guaranteed.
            Russ Travers, CIA analyst, 2001

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            • #21
              Originally posted by m kenny View Post
              By start 1944 there was no doubt the war was going to be lost by the Axis and had Germany not been run by Hitler she would have sued for terms just like in 1918. Germany did not 'last' until May 1945. She expired in 1944 and the corpse kept twitching until 1945.

              In 1944 The UK started culling weapons research projects and any that were not expected to deliver by 1945 were cancelled. They also had June 1945 pencilled in as the expected date of victory.
              THEY DID 'LAST' till 1945 !!! Copses twitching do not kill and maim and that is what was happening still, believe me mate!!!! Have you ever lived beyond that bloody desk.?? lcm1
              'By Horse by Tram'.


              I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
              " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

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              • #22
                Originally posted by lcm1 View Post
                THEY DID 'LAST' till 1945 !!! Copses twitching do not kill and maim and that is what was happening still, believe me mate!!!! Have you ever lived beyond that bloody desk.?? lcm1
                I live in the world of cold hard facts. There was no way Germany could win after 1944. All her 'counterattacks' did was delay the inevitable and the fact that shooting continued up until may 1945 did not mean victory was only assured in May 1945.
                Germany sustained over half her total dead in late 44-45 so the pain was overwhelmingly inflicted upon herself. Insanity like I said earlier.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by lodestar View Post
                  Not so. It had been essentially and overwhelmingly won by the Soviet Army, who were the mainstay of the 'allied powers' and whose operations dwarfed those in the West.
                  So WWII is East Front alone, that's your point ?

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by lodestar View Post
                    What is the most overlooked, undervalued, underestimated aspect of WWII?

                    I’m developing this as a companion and contrast piece to my earlier thread-starter:
                    What are WWII’s most over-used and overwrought clichés?
                    It behoves me to do so …....ergo it is done.
                    It would amuse me to do so ……ergo it is done
                    As it has been said by lodestar. Let it be as lodestar has said.

                    Everyone okay with that?
                    Thought so.

                    If push came to shove there’s not a man or woman on this Forum or any other who would even contemplate defying my will.
                    The path to enlightenment is always ‘the way of lodestar.
                    Blah, blah blah …God I’ve become a self-parodying, repetitive bore.
                    Sorry about that. It happens to best of us.
                    Guess that’s why happened to me.

                    But enough of prologue.

                    Seriously what I’m interested in is what posters consider the wars most undervalued, little-known/publicised and or unappreciated aspect of WWII.
                    By ‘aspect’ I’d like people to put forward their ideas for categories such as: campaigns, weapons, personalities, developments, social and national movements, strategies, units etc.

                    My top picks in some categories:
                    Campaigns: . US Submarine war against Japan’s Merchant Fleet and her Empire’s shipping lanes.
                    What the U-boats failed to achieve in the Atlantic, the US ‘Silent Service achieved and then some in the Pacific. Crippling Japan’s capacity to supply it's Pacific garrisons and effectively destroying its merchant Navy.
                    . Orde Wingate’s controversial Chindit ‘behind the lines’ operations in Burma.
                    . Tito’s brilliant and eventually triumphant Partisan war against the Axis occupying forces (in terms of Axis divisions eventually engaged it dwarfed for example, the North African campaign).

                    Developments: . Usung advances in medicine, science and technology

                    Historical movements: . The basic advancement of liberal ideals and subsequent decline in overt racism, anti-Semitism and straight up, moron-level ‘My Country Right or Wrong’ nationalistic pride.
                    . Spread of Communism for several decades after the war.

                    Decision: No contest. The most crucial ‘allied’ side decision made in WWII was made by Stalin (his army actually WAS fighting in 1941-43 not planning on and deciding what to do) to simply stay in Moscow come what may in mid-October 1941 as the panzers crept closer.

                    Weapon: . V2 Long-Range guided ballistic missile (please don’t tell me the allies were ‘developing’ something similar like that nit-picking argument recently about WWII jets)

                    Military unit: .Tito’s Partisans (again), defenders of Leningrad, Brandenburgers, German attack force that took Fort Eben-Emael

                    Intelligence war: . Once again no contest, Lucy Spy ring (sorry Enigma and Ultra fan boys).

                    Personality: . Tito (again - hey I see a lodestar thematic developing here, this is good stuff)

                    Get the idea?

                    Anyway, I’m sure posters will have their own suggestions and even extra categories (pigeon-hole) they may want to share.
                    However please, nothing which you think can’t be pigeon-holed. I detest pretensions of individuality.

                    Please keep in mind I’m looking for the: unsung, the undervalued, the under-recognised and the overlooked etc - no picking something completely mainstream and trying to pretend it has been much underestimated. (I came close with the V2 choice but hey, it’s my thread so I get some leeway).

                    Looking forward to your input.

                    Regards lodestar
                    The European Union.

                    Probably saved millions, if not tens of millions of lives.
                    How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
                    Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by m kenny View Post
                      By start 1944 there was no doubt the war was going to be lost by the Axis and had Germany not been run by Hitler she would have sued for terms just like in 1918. Germany did not 'last' until May 1945. She expired in 1944 and the corpse kept twitching until 1945.

                      In 1944 The UK started culling weapons research projects and any that were not expected to deliver by 1945 were cancelled. They also had June 1945 pencilled in as the expected date of victory.
                      I believe you can see indications that the UK was considering post-war economy as early as 1943.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by cbo View Post
                        I believe you can see indications that the UK was considering post-war economy as early as 1943.
                        Even earlier:the Beveridge Report ,which was an essential precursor of the post war Welfare State with its attendant economic implications, first saw the light of day in November,1942.
                        "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
                        Samuel Johnson.

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                        • #27
                          A discussion of the EU, a post war political organization was moved from the WW2 section to the Europe section as it is better suited for that section of the forum
                          Thank you ACG Staff

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Kurt Knispel View Post
                            1. The failure of Britain, and especially France to immediately attack Germany after Hitler seized Poland. What is the sense of declaring war and then sitting around for months and months so you could organize properly and bring all your forces to bear in a set piece attack leaving nothing to chance. Two thirds of Germany's forces were deployed in Poland after the fall of Poland. This was the time for action by the French and British. 
                            I used to think so, but keep in mind the horrors of WW1 were still fresh in everyone's mind. There was still the very faint hope the Germans would come to their senses, or after defeating Poland, and extracting some concessions, like regaining all the land they lost after WW1, they would withdraw, thus avoiding a general European wide conflict. A generation of young men were wiped out in WW1, and they would do anything to avoid it.

                            Tactically, the smart move might have been to attack Germany after Poland, but if they had done so, we would be second guessing their actions to this day, kind of the way we do with the dropping of the A-bomb. This way, at least morally, their was no question of who was in the right, and all the Allied leaders could at least know they had tried their best to avoid war

                            2. The Soviet Red Army's will to persevere no matter what happened 22 June 1941-November 1941. They were a determined bunch totally underestimated by Hitler and his General Staff and their intelligence department. 
                            If the Germans were smart, they would have tried to make allies of the Russians and Ukranians they conquered, many of which had no love for the communist government and Stalin. But the Nazis contempt and treatment of the native peoples turned most of them to support the devil they knew. But even with the Nazis contempt of the Slavic people, they still managed to find Ukranians to fight against the Soviets, so great was their hatred against the Communist.

                            3. United States listening to Churchill's "soft underbelly" theory of defeating Germany in Africa and by creeping up Italy at a snails pace instead of an invasion in NW Europe 1 year earlier.

                            Regards,Kurt
                            US didn't have the landing craft or the experience in sea based landings to invade France a year earlier. It took time to build up the invasion force required, the Allies were not ready to invade NW Europe a year earlier.

                            I think the single thing not fully appreciated was the superior technology of the Allies. While German rockets and jets and such get all the press, none of the areas where the Axis possed a technological did it make a decissive difference in combat. Jets, rockets came too late to change the outcome of the war, and in planes, ships the Axis really weren't any better than the Allies, submarines included (until near the end, when it was too late.)

                            But Allied superioty in technologies like radar and computers did make a difference. Britains radar played a vital role in the Battle of Britain, as much as the Hurricane and Spitfire. And radar gave US submarines a key edge over their Japanese foes. The radio proximity fuses helped defeat the Japanese suicidal air attacks, and the Allied computers helped crack the Axis codes. Radar might not be sexy, but it played a key part in Allied victory.
                            Last edited by bart dale; 23 Jan 17, 18:27.

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                            • #29
                              [QUOTE=lodestar;3317528]
                              Not so. It had been essentially and overwhelmingly won by the Soviet Army, who were the mainstay of the 'allied powers' and whose operations dwarfed those in the West.
                              Only if you rig the comparison by excluding the Allied Navies and Air Forces and completely ignore the Pacific War.

                              Originally posted by lodestar View Post
                              Only true of the land war in the West, where it never was anything more than mopping up, with the great bulk of the Germans still engaged in the East.
                              Rubbish.
                              You conflate 'German Army' with 'German Ground Forces'. I suggest you look again at the numbers and whilst more than half of the 'Army' was in The East it was never 'the great bulk' of the ground force. I suspect you also ignore the Italian Front.


                              Originally posted by lodestar View Post

                              The only time the Western Front was centre stage for the Germans was 1940 when THEY were attacking.
                              Incorrect. Again you have to ignore the high-tech/expensive German Flak and Fighter arm. The Western Front got priority in terms of tank production in early 1944. So much so that there were as many tanks in the West as there were in the East in June 1944.That is also ignoring all the panzers in Italy.


                              Originally posted by lodestar View Post
                              'Economy' is a greatly overlooked aspect of the war....it just wasn't the Western economies that were crucial.
                              If we go by GDP then this is one area where the Allies come out way on top. The UK GDP alone was greater than The Soviet Union's

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Metryll View Post
                                China. Front size and human losses were equivalent to East Front.
                                You already have 700 pages that address this topic and such arguments. How can one have such a strong opinion when they don't even read about the subject at hand?:

                                https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...ive+operations

                                Many portions of the eastern front have not yet been covered- a 1,000 page book on The Battle of Belorussia 1943/1944 just came out days ago.
                                Zhitomir-Berdichev, West of Kiev: 24 Dec 1943-31 Jan 1944
                                Stalin's Favorite: The Combat History of the 2nd Guards Tank Army
                                Barbarossa Derailed I & II
                                Battle of Kalinin October 1941

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