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Heil Manstein! - A different 3rd Reich, a different war?


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Hitler could have won WW II easily, says former Nazi general and strategist

 

 

 

A recent report out of Germany and a new book about Hitlers master strategist, Erich von Manstein, sheds new light on how the Nazis could have won World War II; while, at the same time, students here at the University of Oregon in Eugene and elsewhere ask why its taken so long to expose yet more secret files from van Manstein that reveal a dark cause thats sweeping the world today.

Field Marshal Erich von Manstein is viewed by many students who prize themselves in being experts in World War II lore as more brilliant than Hitler, Patton, Rommel, MacArthur and Montgomery. Whats so crazy is nobody seems to know too much about von Manstein. And, its now revealed decades and decades after the war that he was the top dog for Hitler. He was Hitlers brain, his strategist, says Eugene student Mark Klein whose studies German military history.

The secret files points to von Manstein being so cocky as to exclaim that we could have won World War II easily if not for the Fuhrer. And, that the destruction of the Jews in Europe was just one small part of a massive plan to not only conquer but rule the world with von Manstein, and not the mentally ill Hitler in charge.

Lofty pronouncements. Not sure I agree. From what I've read, Manstein's military acumen is not in question - but a different outcome in WW2 would have required a different man in the Fuhrer's Headquarters almost right from the get-go. That wouldn't have worked, because it really did take Hitler and his messianic ideology to bring the third reich to its high water point in the spring of 1940, though with no small help from his gifted generals. By the time things began to fall apart for him, it was too late. After December 1941, once Germany was at it with the British Commonwealth, the Soviets AND the Americans, there's no way anyone could have won.

 

Thoughts?

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Well of course Germany could've won WW2, but it would've required Germany focusing solely on the UK and not attacking the USSR, as well as, Japan launching an offensive in the East somewhere in either the USSR once war broke out between Germany/USSR, or perhaps even better, Japan launching an offensive in South/Central Asia, while Germany decides instead of initiating an offensive in North Africa, they launch it in the Mid-East. In either case, when war eventually came in the Eastern Front, which it probably would've, the USSR would be in a two front war and Germany would be fighting a defensive war on one front, having defeated the UK.

 

LK, unfortunately the article is not particularly helpful. It says there's this new book out there that explains how von Manstein had a great plan for easily winning WW2, but it doesn't say anything about what that plan was. So it makes it difficult to give an evaluation. Obviously von Manstein was a brilliant general, but I need to know more before I can comment.

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I'm not huge on history, but Carrie expressed my thoughts very well. Hitler sealed the deal when he attacked the Soviets. If he could have consolidated his aggression in Europe prior to stretching himself into a two-front game, things might have gone differently. But hindsight is 20/20.

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A lot of historical figures have made mistakes when going towards the Russian steppes in their attempts to conquor the world. Napoleon comes to mind readily. However there are other historical pillagers too who were not successful in Russia either.

 

I think this is more ego feeding than truth. Hitler had a great start because essentially the beginning of his land grabs didn't even require actual war but simply going into a country and taking it. I always thought they just over extended themselves and made bad alliances. If he'd settled for what he took before outright war broke out he'd have been a successful little despot.

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The catch-22 facing any general thinking of ousting Hitler and taking the top dog's seat is that they'd have had no reason to so in the early stages of the war, when doing so could actually have done some good. The point of no return was December 1941, when they failed to take Moscow, and then declared war on America. After that, it didn't matter who was in charge because Germany could not have resisted such overwhelming odds in manpower and economy. Before that, Hitler was winning, and so a general like Manstein who had aims to take Hitler's place would have found the necessary support impossible to drum up when the Hitler mystique was still strong.

 

As such, I don't think what the article is suggesting was actually possible.

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It almost pays homage to the idea that absolute power breeds insanity. It's like...Doh, didn't take Moscow. Who else can we fight?

 

As to taking Hitler's place...If you were in the upper echelon of the Third Reich towards the end, you had to be "in the know." Who would want to stage a coups and be responsible for the Holocaust (unless your intent was to put a stop to it, I guess)?

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As to taking Hitler's place...If you were in the upper echelon of the Third Reich towards the end, you had to be "in the know." Who would want to stage a coups and be responsible for the Holocaust (unless your intent was to put a stop to it, I guess)?

I read a fictional account in which Rommel does it after successfully repelling the Normandy landings and forcing a treaty on the British and the Americans. He does halt the final solution. His real problem, though, is the Soviets, who are understandably a little annoyed about the whole Barbarossa thing. It turned out pretty nasty. Cool story.

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The catch-22 facing any general thinking of ousting Hitler and taking the top dog's seat is that they'd have had no reason to so in the early stages of the war, when doing so could actually have done some good. The point of no return was December 1941, when they failed to take Moscow, and then declared war on America.

I agree that there is a catch-22 here and the article fails to adequately address that.

 

However I disagree that the point of no return was Dec '41. The war was lost way before then. The key date was Dec '40. After that point, it becomes rapidly clear that it is impossible for the Axis powers to win and it's just a matter of going through the motions.

 

In Dec '40, the Axis stood at a crossroads. Japan had yet to invade the US and was in a stable situation (if somewhat of a stalemate) in China. Germany had clearly lost the Battle of Britain at this point, but still had a dominant position in continental Europe and had not committed any forces to either Barbarossa or the North Africa Campaign. The decisions the Axis makes right here are what win or lose the war for them. Instead of making the right decisions, they make immense strategic miscalculations and so losing the war was never really in question by early 1941.

 

In Dec '40, Hitler had already decided on moving against the USSR. By Feb '41, Germany was launching Sonnenblume in Africa. The war was over by then. I've argued this before on the forum, but it really doesn't matter if Germany took Moscow or not. The very minute Germany decided to fight the USSR one on one, while already involved in a war against the UK in Africa, is the minute they lost. If Germany takes Moscow, all that happens is the battle of Stalingrad happens later, and probably somewhere around Moscow, but the USSR is still able to move production beyond the Urals, as they actually did, and the USSR will always win with that resource and manpower advantage. The problem is, the battle of Stalingrad has to be fought; it's inevitable. It doesn't matter whether it's in Stalingrad, Moscow, somewhere else, or in 1941, 1942, '43 or later. In other words, Germany has to confront and defeat the Soviet Army and their war production at some point, but the question is where? And on who's terms?

 

The problem is Germany ended up fighting that battle in the worst possible circumstances and they never were going to win it. For Germany to win, you have to go back to Dec '40 and make different decisions at that time. Instead of launching the North Africa campaign, Germany has to essentially realize that Italy is useless as an ally and doesn't deserve to be reinforced, but rather, launch an offensive somewhere helpful to Germany- such as the Mid-East, with its oil reserves. This also would probably end up helping Italy more, since it draws away British forces to defend their possessions there. Additionally, Germany has to coordinate with Japan more. This was one of their bigger mistakes in the war; not having a unified vision for how to strategically help one another and basically not working together at all. If Germany coordinates that Mid-East attack with a simultaneous campaign by Japan in Southeast and South Asia through India.. well, now the UK is in the fight of their life to hold their empire together, and if the real-life battles in 1941 tell us anything, it's that Japan will have absolutely no trouble taking all of Britain's possessions in Asia.

 

So you start with something like that. And then don't start Barbarossa (on Germany's side), and don't attack Hawaii (on Japan's side). By Summer of 1941, the Axis is in a completely different position than they were in real life. They probably hold the Mid-East, Central Asia, East Asia, and likely India. The UK is hanging on by a thread. At some point war is likely inevitable in the Eastern Front- this much was clear by late 1940, but in this hypothetical, Germany actually is now in a dominant position- they are fighting a defensive war with vast resources to draw upon from the Mid-East, with the entirety of their Army untouched in Eastern Europe, and on top of that, the USSR likely has to deal with a two front war if Germany coordinates an attack from Japan in the East. So the battle of Stalingrad still happens, but it happens on Germany's terms now- likely somewhere closer to Germany, such as Poland, where Germany can just dig in and draw upon short supply lines from Germany. Axis likely wins at this point, although the wild card is still how the US plays into everything... but if Japan never attacks Hawaii, well then, who knows? Maybe the US still gets involved and the Axis lose anyway, but at least in my scenario, the Axis were put in the best position to win.

 

In sum, the problem is the Axis did not recognize who the weakest of their opponents were (i.e. the UK), and work together to isolate and defeat that country through a combined effort. Instead, they decided to attack their strongest enemies, the USSR and the US, in one-on-one fights with no coordination whatsoever. It is impossible for the Axis to win with that awful strategy, or really, lack thereof.

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I don't think focusing on the UK would have lead to a win. I've heard it argued that if so, the US would have stepped in sooner as everyone loves a martyr if England had fallen completely.

 

Otherwise, spot on in several of your points.

 

One course I took in college focused on Africa and the Middle East and I really enjoyed that course as we mostly hear about the Northern European drama plus the Pacific.

 

I think that Italy, Spain and Russian politics that were happening at that time were really players in the defeat of the Axis.

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I suppose one could go back further still and suggest that in order for Carrie's plan to be carried out, someone other than Hitler had to be in the Wolfsschanze right from the get-go. That's really the crux of it. You needed a Manstein or someone like him running things back to the 30s. Unlikely since Hitler's oratory skills and ability to seduce people with his wild eyed rubbish were what were needed to get to the Chancellery as he had in the first place.

 

Otherwise, the master race doesn't bother with things like diplomacy and foreign relations, especially with inferior races out of Asia. It was Judeo-bolshevism that needed to be wiped from the face of the planet, and Aryan supermen seeking lebensraum in eastern Europe can't be stopped once the door is kicked in and the whole rotten edifice collapses in on them, as it were. It wasn't enough that Manstein actually mastermind the invasion of France, he needed to be in a position to mastermind it all. And he wasn't and never could have been, because it really was Hitler who had gotten them to that point.

 

Germany's single fatal flaw was that Der Fuhrer actually believed his own s**t. As such, they were likely doomed from the get-go. In an abstract military sense, there's naturally a LOT Germany could have done differently to obtain better results for themselves - allowing the Polish autonomy in exchange for their participation in the anti-Comintern pact being a good place to start (thereby negating Britain and France's casus belli for entering the war). Doing the same for the Ukrainians once the invasion was in progress would have been another, as was the aforementioned Japanese co-operation which would have been easier to obtain since Germany would not have signed a non-aggression with Russia since, in this case, they'd not have had the western allies to worry about for reasons already mentioned. This was the scenario Stalin feared above all.

 

But lebensraum seeking Aryan supermen don't do any of that either. The Polish and Ukrainians were slavic untermensch after all. As it was, it could not have happened because, at that time, only Hitler could have brought them to where they were even in September of '39, and the only way Hitler could have gone from there given his character and ideological fanaticism was where he ended up in the spring of 1945. A Shakespearean tragedy of truly epic, global proportions if there ever was one.

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Otherwise, the master race doesn't bother with things like diplomacy and foreign relations, especially with inferior races out of Asia.

Some good points in your thread, but this is untrue. Have you actually read over the policies by the NSDAP Office of Racial Policy? The Japanese were considered honorary Aryans. In fact, Hitler said, and I quote from his Political Testament, "I have never regarded the Chinese or the Japanese as being inferior to ourselves. They belong to ancient civilizations, and I admit freely that their past history is superior to our own." Also it's well known that Himmler was absolutely fascinated by Asian culture, Samurais, and what not.

 

 

Not saying you don't have some other good points, but this part above isn't true. Hitler certainly could've worked more closely in a unified strategy with Japan, they just chose not to (and neither did Japan for that matter).

 

 

Also-

 

Thanks Ev! :)

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I always figured Hitler's "liking" of the Japanese and considering them honorary aryans was more a propaganda thing, to rationalize his alliance with Japan more than anything sincere on his part.

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I don't think focusing on the UK would have lead to a win. I've heard it argued that if so, the US would have stepped in sooner as everyone loves a martyr if England had fallen completely.

Not sure why you think this. I'd like to hear a more detailed argument.

 

I think you're forgetting that until Japan attacked Hawaii, isolationism was the popular view in the US. The US' support for the UK up until 1941 had been pretty lukewarm at best, including throughout the Battle of Britain and the Blitz. If Japan and Germany focused on isolating UK territories in the Mid-East, India, and South Asia, why in the world would the US care?

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