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Could WWll have been avoided
Tojo72
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Posted: Sunday, December 06, 2015 - 08:43 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Hello Biggles, one aspect of ww2 history we were taught in school has always made me wonder was the Russian treaty with Hitler. Stalin had his way when he attacked Finland without much of an outcry from the rest of the nations in the west. Also, he attacked Poland and occupied half of the country that we went to war to support.Not much of any attention was paid to this fact in the history that I was taught in school,and when Hitler invaded Russia, Stalin became good old uncle Joe. I think if Germany was not treated so badly at the end of WW1, then there would not have been a Hitler or a Nazi party. Regards.....Dale



I always thought that it was hypocrisy on the part of France and Britian,that they declared war on Germany for invading Poland,but not the Soviet Union for doing the same 3 weeks later.
Armorsmith
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Posted: Sunday, December 06, 2015 - 08:51 PM UTC

Quoted Text

I always thought that it was hypocrisy on the part of France and Britian,that they declared war on Germany for invading Poland,but not the Soviet Union for doing the same 3 weeks later.



War and the dictates of national interest. As a statesman once said (Cavour of Italy I think) "If we did for ourselves what we do for the state what scoundrels we would be."
johhar
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Alabama, United States
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Posted: Sunday, December 06, 2015 - 09:02 PM UTC
What if the U.S. never entered WWI as a combatant? While I am still sure Germany could never have prevailed militarily over France and England, it seems France and others also would have been too weak to threaten invasion, perhaps not depose the Kaiser, and impose the Treaty of Versailles. Then what? History is a path through time and changes anywhere could produce innumerable possibilities and probabilities for future outcomes. Maybe if everyone just ended WWI exhausted with any "victory" being relatively meaningless compared to the cost, the waste and horror of war might have had a chance to actually sink in. Or not.
Bonaparte84
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Hessen, Germany
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Posted: Sunday, December 06, 2015 - 09:15 PM UTC
In reply to the original question, I say "defeinitely yes", as any other reply would imply that WW2 was fate. Yet history is man-made: there had to be a way the war could have been avoided. I simply don't believe in fate.
The only question then remaining is at which point(s) one would have had to act/ interfere differently than what has been done


Quoted Text

Personally I think we shouldn't dwell on if WWII could've been avoided, it already happened, we can't change anything about it. I think what we should instead ponder is how to prevent WWIII. Learn our lessons from that era and apply them to prevent another war from breaking out.



Sorry, but I find it hard to understand the line your drwaing between dwelling on the past and learning its lessons. You cannot learn any lesson without looking at alternatives that might have been better. Learning from the past (which you approve) means dwelling on it (which you disapprove)... Don't you think?
bill_c
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Posted: Sunday, December 06, 2015 - 09:29 PM UTC
I don't believe the war could have been avoided. I forget the name of the historian who is interviewed in one of the extra episodes of "The World at War," but he describes the two world wars as really one long civil war fought by the Europeans, but ultimately decided by two non-European powers: Russia and the US, who emerge in 1945 as the dominant entities both there and throughout the world.

Regarding WW2 in particular, the Versailles Treaty basically guaranteed that there would be another war, both for the ways it rewrote the map of Europe, and because it punished Germany in ways that invited revenge and renewal of hostilities.

Those who argue that the West should have stepped in when Germany remilitarized the Rhineland, or when she annexed Austria are looking back with 20-20 hindsight IMO. Yes, it might have checked Hitler then, but it would have only delayed a violent reckoning that had to come. What's more, we overlook the fact that both England and France were exhausted by the First World War, and were unprepared to rearm and fight another war quickly. France was knocked out of the Second World War with an alacrity that surprised even the Germans. The only reason the English weren't forced to surrender at the same time was the Channel. That, coupled with Hitler's inability to focus on any one problem, meant the UK had time to recover from its defeat in France, and indeed to be defeated a second and third time in the Balkans and then in North Africa without losing the war.

Of course, Germany would have triumphed if the US had not been drawn into the conflict in Europe by Hitler's rash decision to support his partner, Japan (who conveniently failed to attack the Soviets in the East, thereby dooming Barbarossa almost from the get-go).

So the notion that France & Britain could have stood up to Germany early is one of those myths we use today to justify our own intervention in conflicts around the globe, as if every war or crisis is another potential "Munich."
firstcircle
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Posted: Sunday, December 06, 2015 - 11:37 PM UTC
Bill, the historian you refer to was, I believe:

Headhunter506
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Posted: Monday, December 07, 2015 - 12:41 AM UTC
Stephen Ambrose had his own issues with originality. So does Doris Kearns Goodwin.
Hohenstaufen
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Posted: Monday, December 07, 2015 - 05:07 AM UTC
No one has mentioned the economic aspect here. By 1939, after 6 years of Nazi "reconstruction", Germany was bankrupt. Schacht, the Nazis economist and head of the Reichsbank resigned in disgust. Nazism relied on expansionism. The only way Hitler could sort the economy was by invading other countries and plundering theirs.
Yes Hitler could have been stopped by concerted action in 1939 (by attacking in the West while he was busy in Poland), or 1938 (Munich), or 1936 (remilitarisation of the Rhineland), but the will was lacking, and the Nazi propoganda about the strength of the Westwall (Siegfried Line) and the "rightness of their cause" previous to Poland was swallowed whole by Britain and France.
BTW when Hitler annexed Czechoslovakia, Poland grabbed territory also - "not a lot of people know that" (in Cockney accent). So are there really no goodies and baddies in history?
kandahar
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Tokyo-to, Japan / 日本
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Posted: Monday, December 07, 2015 - 05:43 AM UTC
The simple answer is no. The personalities involved and the imperatives and pressures on them meant that no other course of action would have been possible. The original poster postulates that we ignore the French indecision but that isn't possible as the personalities in charge of the military machine were anchored in that mindset. To change the outcome we need to take out or ignore factors that were already there and in effect move into an alternative universe. Fun activity but with no grounding in reality.
joepanzer
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Posted: Monday, December 07, 2015 - 06:00 AM UTC
I don't think that Barbarossa was doomed because Japan didn't attack from the East. More because Sea Lion was cancelled.
steviecee
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Posted: Monday, December 07, 2015 - 06:59 AM UTC
Hitler struck first against the USSR but Stalin was looking to control Europe much as Hitler and he would have started it eventually
PzDave
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Posted: Monday, December 07, 2015 - 07:00 AM UTC
No. Hitler would have moved east at some point. That was his major goal from the start.
acebatau
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Posted: Monday, December 07, 2015 - 07:42 AM UTC

Quoted Text

No. Hitler would have moved east at some point. That was his major goal from the start.


True, Hitler's all previous actions was just preparations for his ultimate goal to destroy Russia ( Soviet Union ) to get The living space for german nation
acebatau
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Posted: Monday, December 07, 2015 - 08:20 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Hello Biggles, one aspect of ww2 history we were taught in school has always made me wonder was the Russian treaty with Hitler.



Hi,
When we were studying WWII in school, for me most astonishing part was Munich Treaty, where big guys (Germany, Italy, UK and France) were making decisions on small country's fate, not even consulting them. Exact same situation repeted on Yalta Conference, regardless what they say about UN, 3 big guys (Soviet Union, USA and UK) again were making decisions on new World order. Nothing haven't ever changed since, the strongest and most powerful nations still running the show, nobody cares about small countries
highway70
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Joined: November 27, 2004
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Posted: Monday, December 07, 2015 - 10:09 AM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

Hello Biggles, one aspect of ww2 history we were taught in school has always made me wonder was the Russian treaty with Hitler. Stalin had his way when he attacked Finland without much of an outcry from the rest of the nations in the west. Also, he attacked Poland and occupied half of the country that we went to war to support.Not much of any attention was paid to this fact in the history that I was taught in school,and when Hitler invaded Russia, Stalin became good old uncle Joe. I think if Germany was not treated so badly at the end of WW1, then there would not have been a Hitler or a Nazi party. Regards.....Dale



I always thought that it was hypocrisy on the part of France and Britian,that they declared war on Germany for invading Poland,but not the Soviet Union for doing the same 3 weeks later.



The Soviets Union publicly claimed that their invasion was to save the Poles from the German aggression in Poland although everyone knew that was false.

Britain and France could not get troops and supplies to Poland to assist them but the could attack Germany. They actually did make a small incursion (Saar Offensive) into Germany during the "Phoney War" (Sep 1939-May 1940)

Geographically there was no way for Britain and France to attack Russia directly. Since Poland was overrun in about 5-weeks, there was really nothing they could do about Russia and there they really wasn't any point in declaring war.

Britain and France did plan to send troops to assist Finland in the Winter War (Soviet invasion of Finland - Nov '39 to Mar '40) but that war ended before the troops could be sent. Of course ultimately Finland became a co-belligerent with Germany against the Soviet Union. The Continuation War June 1941 - September 1944.
Schwarzadler
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Posted: Monday, December 07, 2015 - 02:45 PM UTC
"Could WWll have been avoided?"
Apparently not. Absurd question.
Wellsbourne
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Posted: Monday, December 07, 2015 - 04:32 PM UTC
Some interesting comments on this subject.....however there was no hypocrisy on the part of France and Britain declaring war on Germany...there was a pact (a treaty the sort of thing the US Government made with Indian territories to prevent them being invaded), that if Germany invaded Poland, there would be no option than to declare war....Neville Chamberlain made that famous speech....Germany had been given the option to pull back, but having taken over other territories, without opposition, it was probably thought it was another empty threat from Britain and France.
There was sufficient military force to counter the German army, prior to the expansionist ideals, but bad decisions were made.
It is a matter of history, but as the saying goes.."those who ignore those lessons are doomed to repeat them".
So to answer the initial question, yes Germany could have been defeated early on, but could a war have been avoided, I very much doubt it.
As for WW1
Without doubt, the injection of a million fresh troops were a threat to Germany, hence their Operation Michael in 1918, a lot of hard won territory was lost. The fact remains that by that time the calibre of the German army was quite low, but the blockade of Germany made things things worse, that eventually the leaders had lost the will to continue. Britain had the will to continue, France was in a bad shape, but still fought to expel the invaders, but those German operations were running out of steam.
As the German forces were still on foreign soil at the end, it was thought they had not been defeated militarily. This was the main drive for circumstances that arose in the 30's.
Pershing wanted to continue on into Germany, but the armistice made that impossible.
Here again is a case of history repeating.....IF the coalition had continued into Iraq in Gulf war 1, and deposed Saddam at that time....would Gulf War 2 have happened??

George.
Molentik
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Noord-Brabant, Netherlands
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Posted: Monday, December 07, 2015 - 06:53 PM UTC
Another interesting thought/theory is that by supporting Franco in the Spanish Civil War Hitler lost the war before it even started.

By Hitlers intervention in Spain he started the clock on invading the Soviet Union because around 1937 Stalin ramped up arms/tank production, starting the clock by which Hitler had to have the Soviets under control before they outmatched Germany.

In 1941 the German Army wasn't ready for the invasion of the Soviet Union, but it was now or never. Imagine Operation Barbarossa in spring 1942, where the Soviets had more time to build KV-1 and T-34's...
Biggles2
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Posted: Monday, December 07, 2015 - 09:03 PM UTC
The reason Hitler didn't invade Spain is that he wanted a friendly "neutral" country as a back door, in case things went sideways. It's true! All "proven" on History Channel!
steviecee
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Posted: Tuesday, December 08, 2015 - 07:10 AM UTC
My point about Hitler just beating Stalin to the punch was not that Hitler did not intend to move east, but that Stalin intended to move west
tatbaqui
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#040
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Posted: Tuesday, December 08, 2015 - 07:41 AM UTC

Quoted Text

The reason Hitler didn't invade Spain is that he wanted a friendly "neutral" country as a back door, in case things went sideways. It's true! All "proven" on History Channel!



M4A1Sherman
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Posted: Wednesday, December 09, 2015 - 03:13 AM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

Hello Biggles, one aspect of ww2 history we were taught in school has always made me wonder was the Russian treaty with Hitler.



Hi,
When we were studying WWII in school, for me most astonishing part was Munich Treaty, where big guys (Germany, Italy, UK and France) were making decisions on small country's fate, not even consulting them. Exact same situation repeted on Yalta Conference, regardless what they say about UN, 3 big guys (Soviet Union, USA and UK) again were making decisions on new World order. Nothing haven't ever changed since, the strongest and most powerful nations still running the show, nobody cares about small countries



Let's remember that the US was ranked in SEVENTEENTH place as a World Power in 1940. The US didn't influence much at all in that early period of World War II. It was Churchill, and HE ALONE, that realized to the fullest extent of what America had the potential to become...
bill_c
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MODEL SHIPWRIGHTS
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Posted: Wednesday, December 09, 2015 - 06:14 AM UTC

Quoted Text

In 1941 the German Army wasn't ready for the invasion of the Soviet Union, but it was now or never. Imagine Operation Barbarossa in spring 1942, where the Soviets had more time to build KV-1 and T-34's...


I disagree.

The Germans were unaware of the T-34 and were shocked at how superior it was to their tanks. The Army certainly was against invading on a second front (since Britain had not surrendered), yet Hitler's string of successes was too seductive for anyone to oppose (just look at the elated faces on the crowds of the victory parade in Berlin after the fall of France).
panzerbob01
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Posted: Wednesday, December 09, 2015 - 08:54 AM UTC
VERY interesting bloviations going on! I personally have no solid (let alone half-baked or raw) opinions I'll offer on whether or not this, that, or the other COULD have happened if only parties x, y, and z did option a, b, or c... Like alluded to waaaay up front in this discussion... the initial question kicked over a (truly humongous!) can of worms! There's certainly been a lot of energy flowing and vibes vibrating...

I do wonder... Has any modeling been done along the way? Probably the amount of plastic cleaned and sanded and stuff cemented would, if it was in a can, amount to a smallish tuna tin hiding in the dark shadow cast by the drum of squirming oligochaetes we are kicking!

PS: MY answer to my question is a solid YES! I've managed to do about 95% of the Trumpeter Russian KV "Big Turret" kit (read; KV-2 early version)! Bought it in Glendale AZ for 20 on Friday, started Monday PM, couple - 3 hours in for M, T, W, and it's almost all assembled! It's a nice, if older kit - and apparently actually substantially accurate and it really has almost "fallen together" with minimum fuss and little clean-up. Oh, and yes, I did snoop this discussion along the way! One has to do something to take up the mind while sanding away on road-wheels!

Cheers!

Bob
KurtLaughlin
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Posted: Wednesday, December 09, 2015 - 10:10 PM UTC
There is a book, "If the Allies Had Fallen" (originally published as "What If?") that explores the original scenario and many (100+) others in detail.

The most interesting items to me were with respect to Allied codebreaking. First, that codebreaking is considered to have shortened the war by two years, and second was that one of the reasons we kept the codebreaking secret for so long after the war was that we did not want to give the Axis an excuse that could be exploited by another political movement as the Nazis did with the "stab in the back" legend. Given the life even today of the "The Germans should've won because they had better soldiers and technology" arguments on this and other sites, it seems to have been a wise decision.

KL