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The German's greatest mistake in WWII

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Sun Tzu
    I'd have to vote for figthing on two fronts being the biggest mistake. I do believe the declaration of war on the US was a huge mistake, but it almost seems more like a symptom of the two front war rather than a huge mistake in and of itself. Would there have been as much tension with isolationist America if there still hadn't been shooting going on between Germany and England? My WWI history is a bit shaky but wasn't the whole two front war deal something that everyone agreed was a mistake for Germany in that war?

    Secure your rear before you charge off on a major operation.
    Yes, but also the Germans always assumed their opponents were weak like France and Russia.

    As far as the tension without America, the Germans could have been victorious. America, in both wars, supplied their allies with personnel, logistics, etc.
    VonMoltke

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    • #17
      Attacking Russia was Germany's biggest mistake, but it was inevitable. Really Hitler's incursions into Czechoslovakia, Poland and Romania were just to get the resources and production capability to allow him the ability ultimately attack Russia.
      Lance W.

      Peace through superior firepower.

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      • #18
        There are a LOT of mistakes the Germans made during World War II. To me the biggest and worst was starting the war too early. If Hitler had waited till Plan Z was completed the Kriegsmarine would have been a far more capable. I grant that the RN would have kept pace. But the Kriegsmarine wouldn't have been a transitional force like it was during 1939.
        Eagles may fly; but weasels aren't sucked into jet engines!

        "I'm not expendable; I'm not stupid and I'm not going." - Kerr Avon, Blake's 7

        What didn't kill us; didn't make us smarter.

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        • #19
          I would have to say, starting a war at all was their mistake.
          They didnt need to do that.

          Assume they didnt start a war. Assume they didnt persecute
          the Jewish elite. (Two VERY big assumptions)

          Hitler, with his police state insuring secrecy, could have easily
          developed an atomic weapon all by itself. Once he had such a weapon, no one would dare to push him on it.

          We can assume it would be used eventually in the USSR.

          In fact the weapon the Germans were pursuing would have bypassed the fission stage and proceeded directly to fusion.

          Then they could have blackmailed the world.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Irreverent
            I would have to say, starting a war at all was their mistake.
            They didnt need to do that.

            Assume they didnt start a war. Assume they didnt persecute
            the Jewish elite. (Two VERY big assumptions)

            Hitler, with his police state insuring secrecy, could have easily
            developed an atomic weapon all by itself. Once he had such a weapon, no one would dare to push him on it.

            We can assume it would be used eventually in the USSR.

            In fact the weapon the Germans were pursuing would have bypassed the fission stage and proceeded directly to fusion.

            Then they could have blackmailed the world.
            It is not possible to have a Fusion bomb with out Fission
            Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy. -- Ernest Benn

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            • #21
              German blunders

              I'd have to say Germany's biggest blunder was the infamous halt order that stopped Guderian's panzers on the outskirts of Dunkirk and quite possibly saved the British Expeditionary Force from annihilation. You have to wonder what kind of defense the British would be capable of in guarding their coastal borders had the BEF been unable to return home. At that time in May of 1940, the BEF accounted for more than half of the British land forces. It is quite plausible that Hitler would have been much more determined to launch Sea Lion, the German invasion of the British Isles, than he was had the BEF been defeated in France. You also have to wonder how the American Army would have contributed such massive forces to the European theatre of operations had the use of the British Isles been denied them because of German intervention there. Hitler's lukewarm response to the plan for Operation Sea Lion surely would have been much warmer had the BEF been wiped out in the Dunkirk perimeter and though it is still possible a proper British defense of the perimeter could have been successful it was clearly quite impossible that any large scale sea-borne evacuation could have been undertaken had the German panzers advanced to within artillery range of the beaches. This infamous halt order was clearly Hitler's first catastrophic blunder of WWII. One even has to wonder if Barbarossa would have been necessary had the BEF been destroyed on the beaches of Dunkirk. One even has to wonder if a German-British settlement may have been reached if the BEF been wiped out in northern France and if they had made a settlement who could blame them, it was already quite obvious that the French Army was close to capitulation at the same time.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Dann Falk
                The most unforgivable mistake was declaring war on the US.

                If Hitler had let things be, the US would have been involved in an exclusive war in the Pacific. This would have prevented the US from becoming involved in Europe for several years.
                If Germany hadn't declared war on the USSR he could have taken the US and the UK simultaniously (sp?). While we were a powerful advisary against the Germans, it could have been a lot different.

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                • #23
                  I think the worst German mistake was failing to mobilize their economy. If Speer or someone like him had put German society and industry on a rational war basis in 1940, there's a good chance they'd have won.

                  Their second biggest mistake was trying to implement their occupation policies in Russia while the war was still being fought. They'd have been a lot smarter to cynically exploit the anti-governemnt feelings that existed in the Soviet Union until after a surrender.

                  And Hitler's biggest mistake personally was his inability to listen to advice he didn't agree with. One crucial factor that helped decide the outcome of WWII was that every time Stalin lost a battle he became more willing to listen to his generals and every time Hitler lost a battle he was less willing to listen to his.

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                  • #24
                    His huge mistake was not giving rommel at least one more panzer Divsion In the early part of the war. I think with just one more panzer Divison he could have beaten the British in Egypt and taken control of the one asset he needed most unlimited mid east oil. But luckly he horted most of his panzer divisons for his invasion of russia.

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                    • #25
                      two words - Adolf Hitler
                      Mens Est Clavis Victoriae
                      (The Mind Is The Key To Victory)

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                      • #26
                        Starting the war in 1939.
                        He (And his Generals) were planning to begin in '40 or '41, to allow more industrial output and military build up, but Hitler, being his egotistical-meglomaniac self, pushed forward too early. Imagine if he had begun the war with Panzer IIIs and IV's! And since the German scientists were further ahead in thier Atomic research, well, that isn't something I want to think about....

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by daemonofdecay
                          Starting the war in 1939.
                          He (And his Generals) were planning to begin in '40 or '41, to allow more industrial output and military build up, but Hitler, being his egotistical-meglomaniac self, pushed forward too early. Imagine if he had begun the war with Panzer IIIs and IV's! And since the German scientists were further ahead in thier Atomic research, well, that isn't something I want to think about....
                          Actually the plan was to not go to war before 1944. So he would have had Panthers, and Tigers. Except that those tanks were designed to counter the T-34, and KV1. Hitler never really got behind atomic research so the chance of them getting Atomic weapons is slim.
                          Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy. -- Ernest Benn

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                          • #28
                            I tend to agree with two of the major threads here. Industrial mobilization (without interference on pet projects) was a crucial miscalculation. When one is going to war the economy and industry needs to be behind you. The factories did not accomplish "real" output until 1943. By then the allied bombing campaign (in its early inaccurate guise) had begun to damage the effort.

                            The other mistake is of course Russia. The what-ifs in regard to this issue are numerous and the only convincing bit in regards to Hitlers possible success here are over the discussions regarding the peace proposal that Stalin attempted to persuade Hitler with in 41.
                            The mistake of invading Russia is compounded with the mistake of racially motivated civilian policies and the Germans find themselves in a worse predicament then in World War One (an organized army in the East and West and an usympathetic civil population in the rear areas).
                            The hesitation at Dunkirk is certainly a major mistake but I Britain alone could never have taken Germany. If I was to opt for another mistake it would be the declaration of war on the US but by then the Battle of Moscow was on and after the defense of the capital it was just a matter of time - the US entry was convenient and beneficial (eventually) but not neccessary. Russia was never as threatened as they were in Dec 1941.
                            "Give a soldier an anvil, just a hunk of metal, and drive him out into the desert and leave him. In two weeks - when you go to get him, the anvil will be broken."
                            General Creighton Abrams on the need for a soldier proof tank.

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                            • #29
                              lodestar revives eagle101's old post on Germany's biggest error

                              Latest in my review of all posts from day one on the WWII Forum.
                              Now this topic has no doubt been covered and debated to death in the intervining years since eagle101 first posted his little missive.

                              Not a lot of responses back then but posters at least STAYED ON TOPIC! Which is something we now seem to have a lost of problem with.
                              Lets revive the subject yet again and see if we can keep on track.

                              Regards lodestar

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                              • #30
                                I don't see the utility of a such thread,IMHO,such thread is a danger :it will reinforce the belief of the HCH boys that Germany lost the war there (not elsewhere),that day (not the day after),at 11.11.11 PM (not 11.11.11 AM)

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