Reasons why Germany didn't win the war

Non-naval discussions about the Second World War. Military leaders, campaigns, weapons, etc.
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RF
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Re: Reasons why Germany didn't win the war

Post by RF » Thu Jan 28, 2010 2:54 pm

lwd wrote: Indeed the Nazi regime may well have collapsed if htey had waited until 44 or later and of course their opponents would also have been far stronger.
This is a very good point, often overlooked by historians, particulary given the nazies' policy on education and true business enterprise.

I think collapse by 1944 itself unlikely, more certainly by then peace would have left German Nazism as corrupt and inefficient as Italian fascism was in 1940.
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Re: Reasons why Germany didn't win the war

Post by lwd » Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:19 pm

RF wrote: ...I think collapse by 1944 itself unlikely, more certainly by then peace would have left German Nazism as corrupt and inefficient as Italian fascism was in 1940.
I'm not sure how likely it was but Hitler had been promising the German "Vold" guns and butter. Given the crunch that was coming in 1940 by 44 (actually a fair bit earlier than that) how he would be able to give them either. I'm still working my way through Wages of Destruction but it doesn't give the impression of great stability as far as the German economy is concerned.

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Re: Reasons why Germany didn't win the war

Post by RF » Fri Jan 29, 2010 8:54 am

Don't forget that Hitler was relying on Schacht to run the government finances and regulate the economy, despite interference from Goering.

If peace had continued beyond 1939 I would assume that the appeasement policy of Britain and France would have continued; economic appeasement of Germany that started in the 1930's would have brought some benefits to the strain on the German economy in the early 1940's which Schacht would have exploited to the full. Also the ''Strength through Joy'' and the ''People's Car'' projects would have come to a greater fruition, giving more scope for acceptance of the nazi rule in Germany.
Large scale production projects such as the Z Plan would also have major spin offs for the large private sector contractors in the early 1940's.
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Re: Reasons why Germany didn't win the war

Post by lwd » Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:51 pm

RF wrote:... and the ''People's Car'' projects would have come to a greater fruition, giving more scope for acceptance of the nazi rule in Germany.
My impression from reading Tooze was that the "People's Car" project was essentially a sleight of hand and most of the funds had been redirected elsewhere. The longer this went on the more likly it would be discovered/publicised/
Large scale production projects such as the Z Plan would also have major spin offs for the large private sector contractors in the early 1940's.
If they could aford them. It's not clear that they could.

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Re: Reasons why Germany didn't win the war

Post by RF » Fri Jan 29, 2010 7:03 pm

The ''Volkswagon'' in reality did not really get off the ground, had it continued I think it could have developed as a Third Reich version of what the Trabant and Wartburg was for the DDR under Honecker.

As for the private naval contractors - well if the charges they levy are high enough it could still be made a profitable activity, as the Fuhrer was not one for finance and budgets, and certainly wouldn't worry about a bout of inflation.....
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Re: Reasons why Germany didn't win the war

Post by RF » Tue Apr 13, 2010 7:49 am

boredatwork wrote:My random and not extensively researched opinion as to additional reasons why Germany didn't win the war, beyond simple numerical inferiority and the poor leadership of one individual:
This thread has been inactive for a few weeks now, so perhaps it is now opportune to make the observation that no one has asked the question why Japan didn't win the war. Do forum members therefore consider that the Japanese were reliant on Germany winning their war for them?
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Re: Reasons why Germany didn't win the war

Post by VeenenbergR » Tue Apr 13, 2010 9:54 am

Japan did not win the war for the same reasons Germany lost it, but then even more pronounced:

- bad leadership
- inferior numbers
- materially inferior to the US alone
- bad intelligence systems (Midway!)
- too many adversaries instead of trying to win 1 against 1 (but not the US!)
- too ambtious goals in relation to the resources available
- shortsightedness: if reaching the outer perimeter, what then?
- racial superiority (making enemies instead of friends).

For Germany most of these aspects are likewise true.
The German "powerbase" however was technologically better and larger than the Japanese.

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Re: Reasons why Germany didn't win the war

Post by alecsandros » Tue Apr 13, 2010 10:02 am

RF wrote: This thread has been inactive for a few weeks now, so perhaps it is now opportune to make the observation that no one has asked the question why Japan didn't win the war. Do forum members therefore consider that the Japanese were reliant on Germany winning their war for them?
Have you considered the importance of the Zaibatsus in Japan's involvement in the war?
And if so, what do you think their final goal was ?

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Re: Reasons why Germany didn't win the war

Post by Bgile » Tue Apr 13, 2010 1:43 pm

alecsandros wrote:
RF wrote: This thread has been inactive for a few weeks now, so perhaps it is now opportune to make the observation that no one has asked the question why Japan didn't win the war. Do forum members therefore consider that the Japanese were reliant on Germany winning their war for them?
Have you considered the importance of the Zaibatsus in Japan's involvement in the war?
And if so, what do you think their final goal was ?
Perhaps you can tell us what that is. If I've heard of it/them I don't remember it ... ok, I looked it up.

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Re: Reasons why Germany didn't win the war

Post by alecsandros » Tue Apr 13, 2010 3:02 pm

Bgile wrote:
Perhaps you can tell us what that is. If I've heard of it/them I don't remember it ... ok, I looked it up.
Zaibatsus are major business clusters... Most zaibatsu's integrated 1 bank, 1 brand, 1 retailer, 1 (or more) suppliers of raw material, and so on, so that the entire business chain could be coordinated as a whole. Matsushita, IIRC, was one such cluster.

Japanese companies relied heavily on exports to the US (pretty much the way China today depends on them) and they antagonized the early militaristic expansion of the empire (1930s) because it was bad for business. In time, most of the decision factors came under the influence of the zaibatsus, and thus much of the war had been directed not by armchair generals, but by directors and managers...
The decisive blow given by the zaibatsus to the militaristic aristocracy was the second world war, which cleansed society of much of the influence the army had over it (many leaders died, while achieving mostly nothing for the country) AND paved the way towards the Holy Grail of Japanese business - state level partnership with the USA, which supplied money, technology and knowledge to the great Japanese holdings.

It was a fact very well known in pre-war Japan that the USA's industrial capability and overall military might was incomparable to that of their own country. The decision to attack the USA was thus completely out of touch with reality, its only aim being to consolidate business power (a derivate of fascist power in fact) in Japanese society...

If you;ll look into it, you;ll see that the Emperor was "on leave" for most of the war, thus his influence was dim.

There are many, many other things to say about this...

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Re: Reasons why Germany didn't win the war

Post by RF » Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:59 pm

The main commercial interests in Japan as the 1930's unfolded did become increasingly subordinate to the military, in much the same way as the civilian political parties. Indeed new business combines were created to feed the apetite of the military (such as Honda, for building tanks for the IJA), but while it is correctly stated that industry favoured trade rather than militarism the zaibatsu's lost out very heavily in the depression of the 1930's because of the collapse in world trade together with a fall in export prices. Japanese mnanufacturers found western and US markets largely closed to them because of import quotas and tariffs so particulary for the heavy industries the demands of the military to some extent substituted for lost export markets.
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Re: Reasons why Germany didn't win the war

Post by RF » Tue Apr 13, 2010 6:08 pm

alecsandros wrote:
If you;ll look into it, you;ll see that the Emperor was "on leave" for most of the war, thus his influence was dim.

There are many, many other things to say about this...
I don't think that Emporer Hirohito was ''on leave'' or uninvolved in the war as has been the popular ''politically correct'' view after the war. He endorsed the decision of Tojo to go to war in late November 1941 and let the militarists get on with it. Only in 1944, after the fall of Tojo did the Emporer realise Japan couldn't win, leading up to his personal decision for Japan to surrender.
No, I believe the original evidence of Tojo at his war crimes trial about Hirohito was the correct one and not the made up evidence actually given in court which was done to avoid putting Hirohito on trial as the master war criminal in Japan.
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Re: Reasons why Germany didn't win the war

Post by alecsandros » Wed Apr 14, 2010 3:13 pm

@RF
- About the influence of commercial arguments in Japan's foreign policy 1930s-1940s:
though the militarist (far right) wing wanted an imperial Japan, I am under the impression that their influnce wasn't decisive, at least in respect to Pearl Harbor: the decision to attack was only taken in late Nov 1941, after 2 months of political bak-and-forth. The reason for the 2 months of furious discussions was the freezing of Japanese assets in the USA (bank accounts for example) and Roosevelt decision to stop delivering oil to Japan.

It is possible that the military used this opportunity as a pretext for war, but I find it rather unlikely. That is because the senior officers, both in the ground forces and especialy in the navy, had a very good grasp of American industrial power and were all to certain that victory against "the great grizzly bear" as they called it was next to impossible.
The military leaders, backed by Hirohito, were more akeen to a "Asian solution" to their problems: conquest of S-E Asia through southern China.
At the time, only a fraction of the Indonesian islands were held by American troops, and it was thought that they could be evacuated without confrontation, after a forcefull invasion of Thailand, Vietnam, North India and Malaysia.
This way, in less than 6 months, the imperial army would have almost complete control of Indonesia and S-E Asia, China, and they could deliver an attack against the Soviet Union, in accordance to the Tripartite Pact.

However, history tells us that this strategy was never put into practice. On the contrary, Japan's actions (especialy from mid-1942 onwards) were a series of strategic, operational and tactical defeats, that almost destroyed the elite of the Japanese military.

This is why I think that the war in the Pacific wasn't started by the militaristic side, but instead by the "commercial side", eager to get rid of the military elite, and to re-tie the commercial links with the USA.

P.S: I may have some mistakes in my text. I'm writing from memory, from what I've learned several years ago during the military history classes.

All the best,
Alex

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Re: Reasons why Germany didn't win the war

Post by Bgile » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:44 pm

alecsandros wrote:
This is why I think that the war in the Pacific wasn't started by the militaristic side, but instead by the "commercial side", eager to get rid of the military elite, and to re-tie the commercial links with the USA.

Alex
I suppose you could say they succeeded over the very long term (i.e. the Honda in my driveway), but at what cost!

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Re: Reasons why Germany didn't win the war

Post by RF » Thu Apr 15, 2010 7:52 am

Alex, the war in the Pacific, specifically against the US, was planned and started by the IJN, to support the operations in south east Asia. The influence of commercial interests was not specifically relevant to this, they were concerned with exploitation of the newly conquered territories.

The IJN considered that it had to attack and eliminate the US F leet to prevent the US from interfering with the operations in south east Asia. Neither the IJA or any body outside the IJN was aware oif what Yammamoto had planned, certainly not Tojo, all they were aware of was that the IJN would deal with the Pacific Fleet without being told how.
Last edited by RF on Thu Apr 15, 2010 8:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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