What went wrong most for Germany?

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Senior Airman
Aug 8, 2005
What went wrong most for Germany?

Attacking Russia, oil being bombed, Italy switching sides, supporting Japan etc.
What went the worst for Germany? I'd say that'd have to be ...the war.

The Battle of the Atlantic would have to be my choice though. It allowed Britain to stay a capable enemy which ultimately led to the loss of North Africa, Italy and the invasion of Normandy.
I'd agree with that Evan especially after the July 20th Plot when a lot of the Generals who where in command where loyal Nazi's rather than capable Generals. Though the loss of the Battle of the Atlantic and Goering's incompetence in the Battle of Britain ultimately helped Hitler to lose the war.
Not exterminating the BEF in and around Dunkirk, when the table was served to have a juicy banquet.
It looks to me like the main culprit was Hitler, too. It looks like the German army and it's leadership was very capable but he continued to change the objectives and override his generals.
Oh yeah. Its Hitler's fault. He didnt listen to the Generals that were winning the battles. Like Rommel for instance, Hitler deinied Rommel for more tanks at Normandy. Also, everyone was to afraid to wake up Hitler at D-day so he could send the few tanks they had to crush the oncoming allies.
Taking a different view, Germany didn't have the economic ability to win the war. It wasn't self sufficient in food or raw materials and never took the oppertunities that came their way to redress the balance.

A good example being the invasion of Russia. They captured large parts of Russian including the most productive farming areas. The people hated Stalin for forcing them into collective farms with the famine that followed. If handled differently, they would have been staunch allies of anyone who got rid of Stalin for them. This would have fed a large proportion of Germany and its dependancies and given it valuble manpower in the fight against Stalin. As we know, they threw it away.

They had the Technology and the designs, but lacked the means to take on more than one enemy.

Strangely they also lacked the planning. The navy for one was planning on a war two years later. The U Boat war was the one thing that worried Churchill. Can you imagine what would have happened if the war started with a Hundred boats at sea?

Strangely this also applied to the Army. It started the war with a large number of Pz 1s which were never as good as they should be. Even at the end of the war the German army still relied on horse drawn transport to a significant degree.
Not exterminating the BEF in and around Dunkirk, when the table was served to have a juicy banquet.

Not so easy Udet, with what happened at Arras etc.

Yes Hitler was bad for micro-management, but if he had been listened to pre '41 all PzIII's would have carried the 50mm L60 for e.g, giving the MatildaII, Char Somua T34 less of an advantage etc.

Also Hitler had to act as a mediator between Guderian and Rommel etc.

The Battle of the Atlantic's a good point, but he had no real interest in Africa at that time. He should have ignored Russia untill Britain was finished, but then Stalin definately would've attacked.

The Russian people part Glider is my belief.

The U Boat war was the one thing that worried Churchill.

Yes, but it spurred on the development of countermeasures.

Even at the end of the war the German army still relied on horse drawn transport to a significant degree.

There was a plan by Rommel which would have allowed Germany to win, or at least come to a favourable agreement, it involved horses and AT-guns.

BTW: Like your sig lesofprimus 8) , is it big guns/green hearts?

I'll add another, what about the He112 instead of the Me109 for the BoB?
Crushing the BEF would have been an easy task for the Wehrmacht. They would have suffered a lot of casualities trying to do so but they would have been able to. The British forces had few Matildas left and the Matildas were what carried the couter-offensive at Arras.
Although, the German forces didn't completely abandon attacks on the Dunkirk area. The 26th Coldstream Guards did a remarkable job holding the line around Dunkirk and it's beaches while the Germans tried to breakthrough.

Guderian and Rommel didn't come into clash until April 1944. Rommel was wrong in that instance. As he seemed to believe the tanks should be placed behind the beaches, which as history shows left them open to Allied aerial and naval bombardment.

The German offensive in North Africa was important even if Hitler didn't have interest in it. It was security for Hitler's Europe, it contained oil fields and it also had the Suez Canal which allowed easier shipping to South-East Asia.
I think the number of mistakes were too many to name. Some most notable was Hitlers idea in 1940 that no new serious aircraft designs needed to be made because the designs they had were eneogh to win the war within 2 years. Another being Dunkirk. The most serious though I still believe was Russia. I also think Hitler not allowing his military commanders to run the war was a deadly mistake. As others have posted the Wehrmacht was very capable to win a war just not against so many enemies and not with Hitler commanding it.
You have to admit though he was a good leader at the start, would anyone else have listened to Guderian etc?

The no retreat orders he gave later were where he went wrong, also saying let the Germans rot was a pretty daft thing to say.

I heard it said that Hitler turned into Stalin, Stalin Turned into Hitler - very true.

Hitler also replaced the successful BlitzKrieg with copied Maginot Line tactics - durr!

What gets me is why did Hiler listen to Goering and let him off so easily when he tried to usurp him and fled the Reichstag etc (perhaps he'd got past caring?).

Also did Goering really think the air war could be won in 2 years and the RAF smashed in 4 weeks?

Most German pilots highly respected their British counterparts and Ernst Heinkel revered Reginald Mitchell. And his obsession for zerstorers (Me110) WTF? He must have known??

This is where something Hitler said that made sense, Britain had superior sea/air power so why not concentrate these efforts against someone with worse (Russia) and of course he never thought his ground forces could lose...

He would have been better off with North Africa, but then he exposes himself to Stalin...

I don't think surrender at Dunkirk would be an option, not with the (truthful) Totenkoph rumours flying about. But if they were taken prisoners I believe they would want to irritate the war machine whenever possible.

Another mistake of course could be the Maus (or not!).
Hitler was a good political leader, not military leader. Guderian was accepted by quite a few German General Staff officers by 1939. Hitler was only amazed by his work because it was new and technical.

Hitler into Stalin? A raving Communist that purged his Generals and threw men in pieces at the enemy with no tactics? The war made Hitler a fantasist and Stalin a realist.

Replaced the Blitzkrieg with Maginot Line tactics? What are you going on about? Maginot was not a tactic. And if you're refering to Hitler wanting static warfare, then that's wrong also. The lines of defence in Germany were much more intelligent. They relied on counter-attacks, mobile reserves and block defence rather than a static line.

Goering was a high Nazi official and a friend of Hitler. That's why he didn't bother him. Guderian requested that Goering be replaced in 1944 but Hitler explained the situation while admitting he knew that Goering was incompetant.

He'd have been better off with Russia but North Africa was a loss. Royal Navy supremacy secured his defeat.

And it's already been discussed about the Maus. It was a pointless and wasteful design. With no tactical or operational use.
I agree with everything that you said there. I think it is ironic though how Hitler would not replace him until 1945 right before he committed suicide because he disobeyed his orders. I believe he fired Himmler at the same time also.
No he never sacked Himmler, or even Goering I think?

He stopped Goering being executed though at one point.

Both said they had "urgent business", Himmler was really going to secret talks with the Jewish council-somethingorother, Goering was just crapping himself IIRC?
You mean right at the end? Goering reported to Hitler that he had taken over as Fuhrer...but then Doenitz became Reich-Fuhrer and Goering...waddled away. Himmler was too busy killing himself to care what people were doing.
No on April 29, 1945 Hitler dictated his personal will and his political testamen. Hitler expelled Goering and Himmler from the Nazi party because of there disloyalty to his last minute commands. He then appointed Karl Doenitz President of the Reich and Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces. He then concluded "I myself and my wife - in order to escape the shame of overthrow or capitulation - choose death." Hitler then had his dog poisoned and poison was distributed to his secretaries. (most if not all did not take the poison though). At 3:15 PM of April 30th Eva Braun (whom he married on the 29th) took poison. At 3:30 PM Hitler blew a bullet through his mouth (so the story goes).

From my understanding the disloyalty that Goering and Himmler committed was sending SS General Karl Wolff to Northern Italy and Switzerland to try and make a peace with the Allies through Allen Dulles the head of O.S.S operations for Europe. One of the people he tried to work with Lyman Lemnitzer who became the U.S. Joint Chief of Staff and later the NATO Commander.

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