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1 John Vreeland  Thu, Feb 6, 2014 12:05:21pm

More important than some of these would be the complete failure of Japan and Germany to coordinate any strategy whatsoever. Instead they engaged in mutual backstabbing.

2 aagcobb  Thu, Feb 6, 2014 4:36:22pm

I believe that the worst mistake in human history up to now was when Hindenburg made Hitler Chancellor of Germany. I can’t think of any other single error which directly caused more foreseeable harm.

3 SteveMcGazi  Thu, Feb 6, 2014 4:44:13pm

Geez, what a mess. First, the failure of the Western Allies to attack Germany didn’t give the Germans a year, it only gave them six months. Second, the reason the Allies didn’t attack was because only th eBritish had any capability for an offensive. Also the Maginot Line wasn’t intended to stop the Germans, just funnel the attack north. The big mistake by the Western Allies was to assume the Ardennes was impassable.
Wait a second, this was supposed to be AXIS mistakes…

WTF?

4 SteveMcGazi  Thu, Feb 6, 2014 4:44:59pm

Oh, wrong link!

5 SteveMcGazi  Thu, Feb 6, 2014 4:51:22pm

It’s hard to call Germany’s invasion or Russia a strategic mistake. They had no shot at winning, but that was the whole point of the war. Also, Japan had little choice but to attack Pearl Harbor. War with the US was inevitable, and it gave them a chance to get in a quick victory.
As far as Hitler declaring war on the US, it probably didn’t matter. Russia would have eaten him up anyway. Hitler was hoping the Japanese would return the favor and declare war on Russia. (as if!)

6 CriticalDragon1177  Thu, Feb 6, 2014 6:24:07pm

re: #5 SteveMcGazi

How was it not a strategic mistake if they had no shot at winning? Whats the point of going to war if you’re destined to loose? What’s the point of war if not to win anyway? I doubt Hitler would have gone through the trouble of launching an invasion of Russia if thought he would loose. The last thing Hitler wanted was for his “thousand year Reich” to be destroyed. At the very least the Nazis might have been able to carry on fighting the war, and hold out much longer his Hitler hadn’t been dumb enough to attack Russia and underestimate both the resolve of the Russian people and the harsh Russian winter.

7 Dark_Falcon  Fri, Feb 7, 2014 6:42:52am

It’s noteworthy that the photo (a color photo from the WWII German army magazine Signal) shows a major mistake that cost Germany dearly in 1941-42: The continued reliance on the 37mm anti-tank gun after it had been shown to be inadequate in France. That was bad enough in 1940, but by the following year things had gotten even worse, as both the Soviet heavy KV tank and the medium T-34 were impervious to the 37mm not only on the front but on their sides as well. It was not until late 1942 that Germany finally had enough large-caliber anti-tank guns to field panzerjager battalions able to halt Red Army tank attacks.

8 aagcobb  Fri, Feb 7, 2014 7:03:39am

re: #5 SteveMcGazi

It’s hard to call Germany’s invasion or Russia a strategic mistake. They had no shot at winning, but that was the whole point of the war. Also, Japan had little choice but to attack Pearl Harbor. War with the US was inevitable, and it gave them a chance to get in a quick victory.
As far as Hitler declaring war on the US, it probably didn’t matter. Russia would have eaten him up anyway. Hitler was hoping the Japanese would return the favor and declare war on Russia. (as if!)

Well Japan did have a choice not to go to war with the US. They could’ve renounced militarism, brought their troops home and developed peacefully, which has worked brilliantly for them since the end of the War. Of course, given the people who were in charge in 1941 and their ideology, that wasn’t an option they would’ve considered. But Hirohito could’ve. He could’ve looked at the men who brought him the proposal to start a war with the US and said, “a few years ago you told me we would win a quick victory against China, and now we are mired in a conflict with no end in sight, and your solution is to start another war with the greatest industrial power on earth when we can’t even defeat the Chinese? Please explain to me exactly how and when we will achieve victory, and if you can’t, go away and don’t come back until you have some realistic options for me to consider.”

9 RealityBasedSteve  Sun, Feb 9, 2014 4:50:51am

Good article, and the sidebar pieces it links to are also interesting. I reciently read the book “How Hitler Could Have Won WW 2” and it touches on some of those same items. The author’s position is that if Hitler had focused on North Africa, which was poorly defended, he could have swept easily all the way into the Russian oil fields and then swung North. It’s a good read, and while I don’t agree with all the conclusions by any means, it was more than worth the time spent.

RBS

10 aagcobb  Tue, Feb 11, 2014 7:26:49am

re: #9 RealityBasedSteve

Good article, and the sidebar pieces it links to are also interesting. I reciently read the book “How Hitler Could Have Won WW 2” and it touches on some of those same items. The author’s position is that if Hitler had focused on North Africa, which was poorly defended, he could have swept easily all the way into the Russian oil fields and then swung North. It’s a good read, and while I don’t agree with all the conclusions by any means, it was more than worth the time spent.

RBS

If Hitler had defeated the Soviet Union, then the US would’ve faced the hard decision as to whether to use atomic bombs in Europe to defeat Germany. Horrifying to contemplate.

11 SteveMcGazi  Wed, Feb 12, 2014 9:57:08pm

There’s no way in heck the Germans could have marched from Suez to the Caucasus, even assuming they defeated the English in Egypt. It’s at least 1000 miles from the Suez to the Caucasus. Could you imagine supplying such a force? First, the Germans would have had to totally clean the British out of the Mediterranean. Then, there was that dirty trick by us Americans, namely Torch, that would have occupied the Axis rear hundreds of miles behind the front. Other than that, sure the oil fields were just a drive in the park.


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