Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Did the Soviets singlehandedly defeat Hitler -- revisited.

By Aussiegirl

A reader has posted a new and particularly informative comment on a May 6 Post on UT entitled: Did the Soviets Singlehandedly defeat Hitler? The comment is so well written and chock-full of history that I wanted to post it on the main board for all to read.

Anonymous wrote:

I would have to say that the Soviets owe their victory to several blunders made by Hitler, and most of all to the reknowned Russian winter. To begin, the first and foremost resource Hitler failed to fully utilize was the disaffected people of the Soviet Union. At the beginning of Barbarossa, it was a known fact that many of the peoples of the USSR, primarily the Ukranians, welcomed the Germans as liberators. Stalin's purges and collectivisation of the peasantry contributed to millions of deaths throughout the breadbasket of the USSR. This feeling of hatred also would have resonated with the people of the Baltic regions which had been under Soviet occupation since 1939. Whatever welcome mat that was rolled out for the Germans was quickly removed once the front lines had been pushed further east by the initial successes of the Wehrmacht and after the Einsatzgrupfen (German death squads) moved in. These particular units were responsible for the enslavement, deportation and extermination of the communist commisars, jews and slavs. Thus Hitler squandered the opportunity to utilize the oppressed peoples of the USSR in his effort to conquer the part of Russia that lay west of the Ural mountains. Second, Hitler did not believe that the war against Russia would last very long. He was quoted as saying "All we need to do is kick in the door, and the whole rotten mess will come crashing down". Given this belief, he failed to prepare his armies for a campaign that could last into winter. In fact, he admonished his high command's request for winter clothing, antifreeze for engines, etc as being counterproductive to German morale. There were also many logistical problems associated with the rapid advance of German forces across the immense land of Russia. A critical oversight by the German army was the fact that Russian railways were gaged to different sized rail cars than that of the Germans. So in many instances, the German army had to rip up the old Soviet lines and replace them with rails that would fit their cars as the army advanced. The concept of the blitzkrieg could only be sustained with concentrated force supported by a continuous and flexible chain of supply. The immense size of Russia itself also would have hampered the hammer blows the German army was so used to incurring on the enemy at this point. Another factor was Hitler's wavering or lack therof of a strategic objective in conducting the Russian campaign. Hitler vascilated for 2 to 3 summers and squandered many months of favorable battle weather on what the final objective for his armies should be. First, it was Moscow. When he couldn't crack that nut in 1941, he turned his gaze to Stalingrad and the natural resources of the Caucuses in 1942. Hitler also failed to provide the Lutwaffe with long range strategic bombers that would be able to destroy the factories and plants that Stalin had removed from western Russia and reassembled further east in Siberia. With these plants safely out of German bomber range, they could continue to supply the Reds with new equipment for the war effort. Finally, Hitler's own stubborn orders to hold territory at any cost squandered thousands of German lives that could have been used to counterattack the advancing Russian spearheads after a strategic German withdrawal. His failure to make provisions for an elastic defense, as von Manstein had suggested following the defeat at Stalingrad, quickened and possbily altered the outcome for Germany on the eastern front.


COMMENTS:

BonnieBlueFlag comments:

Is this our own dear McAnonymous?
Hitler's failure to provide for winter clothing for his troops in Russia, reminded me of watching a scene from a WW II newsreel, of the US Army walking across France and Germany in the snow with my father.

The German soldiers had white camouflage uniforms, and the Americans did not.� Our troops went into the villages and found everything they could wear that was white.� The women even gave them their good white linen table cloths to drape over themselves.

As I sat and listened to Daddy talk about the women giving up their fine linens for our soldiers, I felt my spine tingle with a shiver.

And, then he began to laugh, as he remembered someone in particular who was traipsing along with him.� This soldier had received a tablecloth that was just a little finer than some of the others, because the fancy fringed edge came down across his face.� Daddy said it was kind of hard not to laugh at the sight of the war weary and muddy soldier, with his face completely framed in fringe.

1 Comments:

At 7:50 PM, Blogger BonnieBlueFlag said...

Is this our own dear McAnonymous?

Hitler's failure to provide for winter clothing for his troops in Russia, reminded me of watching a scene from a WW II newsreel, of the US Army walking across France and Germany in the snow with my father.

The German soldiers had white camouflage uniforms, and the Americans did not. Our troops went into the villages and found everything they could wear that was white. The women even gave them their good white linen table cloths to drape over themselves.

As I sat and listened to Daddy talk about the women giving up their fine linens for our soldiers, I felt my spine tingle with a shiver.

And, then he began to laugh, as he remembered someone in particular who was traipsing along with him. This soldier had received a tablecloth that was just a little finer than some of the others, because the fancy fringed edge came down across his face. Daddy said it was kind of hard not to laugh at the sight of the war weary and muddy soldier, with his face completely framed in fringe.

 

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