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Illusions about WW2

Discussion in 'Alley of Dangerous Angles' started by Malaqai, Jun 23, 2003.

  1. Malaqai Gems: 4/31
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    Having spent some time lately reading about WW2, I realized that my understanding of what happened was false. Because of the propaganda American films and the like exert upon Europe, I grew up thinking that the US and the UK are responsible for the fall of the Reich. While their contribution is not to be overlooked, the truth is still in----Moscow.


    Of all the german soldiers killed from 1941-1945, more than 80% were killed in the Soviet union. More than 3 million german soldiers were called into action when the attack on the USSR began, and more than 2,6 million were called in from France and western Europe. The coast of France was guarded by a "skeleton crew". The Soviets took heavy losses (only 5% of all soviet males age 16-21 were left alive after the war), but they managed to stop the overpowering german army. D-day is, contrary to popular belief, not an operation that was meant to liberate Europe, but one that was to drive some of the german forces in Russia away from the Eastern front, and to enable the Soviets to start an effective counterattack.


    Under the influence of the discovery, I ask the question: how many other thing are completely different than what we perceive them to be.
     
  2. Iago Gems: 24/31
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    Well, is this a general WW2 thread ? In my view, one of the most interesting questions concerning WWII, why attack Russia and the USA ?

    Japan attacked America, which was at that time about factor 10 bigger as Japan (which achieved it's full industrial status not until the 1970ies)

    Germany attacked Russia, one giantic ice-field.

    Why ? Both attacked their doom. What was the reason ?
     
  3. Oaz Gems: 29/31
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    Illusions. Propaganda.

    If I did reading on World War 2 from an decent, trustworthy source (mostly likely from governmetn archives or encyclopedias), and I believed it, than it wouldn't seem like propaganda to me. On the other hand, if it wasn't, say, "nationalistic/corporate lies", then I'm not sure if it would be trustworthy information.

    I am sure that a few people, decades ago, in the Soviet Union said that there were illusions about the Soviet Union doing most of the work during World War 2.

    Many historians speculate (and this is also pure speculation on my part) that Hitler helped lose his war. It is said that he had an intense dislike for Communist Russia, and attacked it when he had the opportunity. They say that Hitler made the same mistakes as a certain French ruler did a few centuries ago, and that the Russian General Winter was a big factor in defeating the Germans.

    Maybe you're right; we wouldn't have won the war without the Soviet Union, not because it attacked the Axis forces, but rather, because it was attacked by them.

    Once again, this is pure speculation on my part. I'm sure the History Channel has its propganda too.
     
  4. Late-Night Thinker Gems: 17/31
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    The Russian and Germans had no love lost since WW1. In fact, German troops traveled miles and miles to surrender to the Americans instead of the Ruskies. I believe the battle of Stalingrad in which the Germans starved the Russian citizens to the point of cannibalization was never forgotten, and German POW's and citizens paid the price. The Germans vs. the Russians was deffinetly the ugly 3/4 of the war and the Americans vs. the Germans was the romanticized remaining 1/4.

    However, American air-power was vital to the war. The Russians were not nearly as advanced when it came to aerial warfare. In fact, I don't even think they had radios in their planes! The Americans conducted daylight bombing raids over all of Germany for a year or two prior to any troops hitting the streets.
     
  5. Mathetais Gems: 28/31
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    Dang, if D-Day was "romantic" I would never want to see the action on the other front.
     
  6. Sir Belisarius

    Sir Belisarius Viconia's Boy Toy Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder

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    That's funny. I actually live in the US and I KNOW we talk about how ALL our allies combined to defeat the Axis. Any "propaganda" films I've seen always show Stalin, Churchill & Roosevelt meeting at Yalta. I've seen the footage of the Red Army blowing up the nzai symbol over the Reichstag, and raising the Soviet flag.

    Please don't talk about American propaganda. You have no idea what you're talking about.
     
  7. Splunge

    Splunge Bhaal’s financial advisor Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I am reminded of the phrase “history is written by the victors”. Most nations have a tendency to misstate their role in world events by exaggerating the positive aspects of their involvement and downplaying the negatives. In the case of the U.S., this becomes more significant due to its sophisticated media and entertainment industry which often (but not always) tends to portray the U.S. in a more positive light than the “reality” (whatever that actually means) justifies; thus the rest of the world (or at least western civilization) is more likely to buy into the American version of events. The U.S. isn't alone here, though; they're just better at it than most.

    The difficulty lies in attempting to determine what the true historical facts really are. About the only way to do that is to look to a number of different sources from a number of different nations and attempt to find something in common. Even that isn’t foolproof, however, nor is it likely to give you a complete and accurate picture.
     
  8. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    Well, the about heftiest battle in the west, not that far away from my town, the battle of Hurtgenwald, the "meat grinder", cost the US some 33.000 dead, and some many more wounded, and some 13.000 to 28.000 german defenders lives. The US there lost in three months more than half as many men as in the entire Vietnam war - not even against elite units. More on that here and here and eventually here .

    In comparison the battle of Kursk, or Prokhorovka, the largest tank battle in history, cost 50.000 germans and 200.000 russians lives - within the first ten days of fighting. The russians almost always had the higher losses but so many more soldiers to recruit. Compared to the west the fighting in russia was incomparable in scale and intensity.
     
  9. BOC

    BOC Let the wild run free Veteran

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    @Oaz
    It's not speculation, it's a fact. The "halt order" in Dunkirk, the shift from bombing of airfiels and factories to the bombing of cities in the battle of England, the action of the Einsatzgruppen in Russia, the refusal to Paulus' request to withdraw from Stalingrad,the delay of "Operation Citadel" (Kursk), the decision not to use paratroopers after the battle of Crete and many many more.

    @Yago

    Lebensraum and Drag nach Osten, two of the basic doctrines of nazi. Also, Hitler and Himler saw themselves as "reincarnations" of the teutonic knights who fought Slavs some centuries before.
     
  10. Iago Gems: 24/31
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    Yes, that was their plan. But their timing couldn't be worse. Why not first take certain control over West-Europe instead of moving all forces to russia ? Well, then I think it was an idea of the "highest-leadership", because, I can't see no urgent reason to attack russia. They could have waited 2 or 3 years. The armament opportunity which the Russians would have had that way, would have been neutralized by the frim grip over western Europe. True, they maybe believed, that they would have conquered Russia in 6 months, but still, I see no ugrent need to take that risk at that time.
     
  11. BOC

    BOC Let the wild run free Veteran

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    The initial plan of the german generals was to start the war in 1942, when Wehrmacht would be fully mechanized and the development of the heavy tanks would be completed, but Hitler's gambling in Poland forced them to change their plans since after the fall of Poland they had common frontiers with the soviets. It was just a matter of time for Stalin to order an attack against Germany and Hitler just chose to make the first move.

    It was impossible to clear the west after the escaping of 300.000 British and French troops in Dunkirk. This was the unique chance of Hitler to force British to surrender and he missed it. The operation "Sea Lion" (the invasion of England) simply could not take place, because of the superiority of the Royal Navy, even if Luftwaffe had won the battle of England and Doenitz, because of Hitler's desire for a surface fleet, didn't have the 300 submarines he wanted in order to lead England to starvation.
     
  12. Late-Night Thinker Gems: 17/31
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    My numbers may be slightly off...but I believe for every one American killed during WW2 (including both campaigns) 18 Russians were killed and 11 Germans.

    However, Americans laid innumerably more French chicks.
     
  13. Pac man Gems: 25/31
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    Did the Russians also mention the numerous amounts of materials and foodsupplies they received from the west, just so they could keep the war going on ? If it wasn't for those supplies, the Russian army would have collapsed, and the final outcome might have been slightly different.
     
  14. Mithrantir Gems: 15/31
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    IIRC Germany (Hitler) and Russia (Stalin) had signed an agreement of no attack between the two nations. And if i am not mistaken Russia at that time was in a pretty bad situation and especially the Russian army so logically he would not dare to attack first since he most obviously Russia would have faced a defeat.
    But again IIRC Hitler was worried about his deposits in oil and he thought that the oil well in Kaspian sea would be an invaluable asset to his war so seeing that the russian army was in a very bad situation in personell (Stalin had started to put away many officers that were not so fond of him and his tactics, and most of them were the veterans of previous wars) and technological field he trully believed he had a very good chance taking over the Russians.
    But his personall ego was trapped by the tricks of Stalin and was virtually forced to fight battles he would not fight if he was thinking rationally.

    [ June 24, 2003, 13:10: Message edited by: Mithrantir ]
     
  15. Iago Gems: 24/31
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    Well, that sounds reasonable. But I personally think still it was a bad decision. Only reasonable, because they thought, Barbarossa would be over in a matter of months, due to Blitzkrieg. But the chances of success of a Russian-attack on western-europe, would have been, more guessing here, minimal. No matter how many soldiers the Russians could have recruited, how could they have stormed a fortified western Europe ? The outcome of the Russian war was, that in 1942, the German troops were spread from the atlantic, to north-Africa, greece and the caucasus.

    Edit: Oh, yeah, I forgot. In the first world war, Russia, UK and France allied to contain Germany. Due to problems with the UK and Russia, a similar treaty between France and Russia was ended in the mid of the 30ies. The Germans then went and made a pact with the Russians. So, all joker on Germanies side. The UK and France without help from Russia. Ok, there must be a reason to change that situation, so favourable to Germany. Oil in Grosny ? That sounds reasonable.
     
  16. Subra Gems: 8/31
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    The agreement was called the Warsaw Pact. It gave to Russia a large strip of land through eastern Europe, parts of Poland, Bulgaria and Romania I believe it was. This was in exchange for an agreement that Russia wouldn't mobilize against Germany. If my recollection is right, this agreement was signed in 1939 or 1940. Russia surely had a large force poised on the German border but honored the agreement to not attack German held territory. They pretty much respected the border established by the Warsaw Pact. After the fall of France, Germany moved against Russia and that was the strategic downfall of the Reich.
     
  17. Iago Gems: 24/31
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    The other pact was the Hitler-Stalin pact = Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact

    And the former pact was between France and Russia.

    [ June 24, 2003, 17:25: Message edited by: Yago ]
     
  18. BOC

    BOC Let the wild run free Veteran

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    @Yago

    It was another one of Hitler's gamblings and I believe that it had good chances of success but Hitler did some crucial mistakes.
    1)He sent his troops without winter uniforms, totally unprepared for a winter war.
    2)Because of bad intelligence the german HQ was totally unaware of the number of soviet tanks.
    3)One of the major german problems was their overstreched supply lines, problem that becomes worse because of the partisans' activity behind the german lines. At first stages of the war in the east, many people in the western areas of Soviet Union welcomed Germans as liberators but then the butchers of the Einsatzgruppen came and the positive feelings became hate. If Hitler didn't let his butchers to start massacring everybody in the conquered areas and tried to use the hatred of local population to Stalin and his regime, he would have minimal partisans'activity behind his lines and thousands volunteers.
    4)He failed to convince the Japanese to attack Russians from behind

    In France the Germans proved that static fortifications like the fortress Eban Emael or the Maginot line were not obstacles that could stop a fast moving mechanized army. In addition the soviets had an advantage that Germans didn't have in France. The russian T-34 and KV-1 tanks were the best tanks of the first stages of the war and until the appearance of Panther and Tiger I, there wasn't a single tank that could face them, and western allies never had a tank that could face the russian tanks. The major drawback for the Russians would be the motivation of their soldiers. It is something totally different to fight for the survival of your nation than to fight for the spreading of communism.
     
  19. Iago Gems: 24/31
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    Instead, the Japanese attacked the USA. Which opened yet another front.

    My understanding is, that the Japanese forcers were not made for a land battle like in Russia. They hadn't much tanks but a lot of artellery. Ideal for the pacific, wrong for Russia. So, they didn't want to attakc Russia again.
     
  20. BOC

    BOC Let the wild run free Veteran

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    This is correct but Russians would have to face a war in two fronts and their pressure against Germans would be reduced.

    As far as the russian-german pact is concerned, it is better known as the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact and it was for the benefit of both sides since it gave more time to soviets and let Hitler to gather the majority of his forces in the western front.
     
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