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Thread: What was the point of Hitler's project?

  1. #61
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    perhaps, but i still don't find this the likeliest scenario.

    my guess is that if the japanese were dumb enough to try their luck against the Soviets in Dec 1941 instead of the US, the Soviets inflict a bad defeat on the japanese, somewhere between khalkin gol and August Storm.

    japanese high command probably slags down in some bloodletting between the Navy and Army factions. japan probably wouldn't surrender but the kwantung army is toast.

    the Soviet counteroffensive is delayed by several months, and when it does kick off they lose considerably more soldiers. but it'd likely succeed anyways.

    overall soviets lose maybe 3 months and another 500,000 or so men (mostly inflicted by the germans).

    on the plus hand side (for the soviets that is), when the immediate emergency is over, taking all of manchuria and korea would be pretty easy clean-up operations in 1943-1944. in this scenario i can't see the japanese daring to attack the US/UK after getting so thoroughly trashed by the Soviets.

    by far the biggest factor here is whether or not Hitler declares war on the US, and when. without US intervention, both sides are pretty much exhausted by mid-1945 at pre-war (1939) borders.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    my guess is that if the japanese were dumb enough to try their luck against the Soviets in Dec 1941 instead of the US, the Soviets inflict a bad defeat on the japanese, somewhere between khalkin gol and August Storm.
    Two things work against that scenario. The Soviets had already infiltrated the Japanese High Command and determined the Japanese had chickened out. It would be more than likely that they would see a Japanese attack coming months before hand and would be waiting ... or more likely, strike first.

    2nd, the Americans were already preparing for war. Yeah, the Japanese may not do Pearl but that doesn't mean the US was going to stay out. And the Japanese knew that. Pearl Harbour by all reckoning was a pre-emptive strike.

    So, that part of the calculus would not change.
    Chimo

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    Senior Contributor Mihais's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    by far the biggest factor here is whether or not Hitler declares war on the US, and when. without US intervention, both sides are pretty much exhausted by mid-1945 at pre-war (1939) borders.
    Without US intervention,the Germans win without breaking a sweat.They have time and resources to clear the British out of ME and Africa and without a second front the Soviets don't stand a chance to reach the border.Secondary fronts in 1943-1944 mean those German forces that can turn the tide of the defensive battles in the East.Even in an attrition war goes on,at the rate the Axis was killing Soviets,with more axis forces in the East,the Soviets may reach Kiev and be spent.
    Those who know don't speak
    He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. Luke 22:36

  4. #64
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    col yu,

    Two things work against that scenario. The Soviets had already infiltrated the Japanese High Command and determined the Japanese had chickened out. It would be more than likely that they would see a Japanese attack coming months before hand and would be waiting ... or more likely, strike first.
    yeah, but we're playing a what-if game. i completely agree the Soviets would have seen a Japanese attack coming a mile away, it's hard to mass in that type of space without being completely obvious.

    on the other hand if the Soviets were going to absorb or pre-empt that attack, then the Siberian divisions would have remained in place, delaying the Moscow counter-offensive against the Germans.

    2nd, the Americans were already preparing for war. Yeah, the Japanese may not do Pearl but that doesn't mean the US was going to stay out. And the Japanese knew that. Pearl Harbour by all reckoning was a pre-emptive strike.
    the US was -slowly- preparing for war before pearl, and that was because FDR was doing everything he could behind the scenes to make it happen, and to dare the Axis to piss the US off. FDR -wanted- wholescale US involvement to happen soon, because he knew if the UK or USSR fell, the US strategic situation was going to be a lot worse.

    but politically he couldn't make it happen without the other side doing something first. extended conscription passed by ONE vote in August 1941, and most of the country was highly isolationist. that's why churchill was so damn happy when Hitler decided to pile on and declare war on the US, because otherwise even with Pearl, it could have very easily just been a Pacific War between the US and Japan.

    in this case if Japan didn't declare war on the US/UK, then FDR doesn't have a lot of options. there weren't many Americans who were enthusiastic about fighting japan for UK/French colonial possessions.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  5. #65
    Senior Contributor Mihais's Avatar
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    Off-topic,its damn interesting to read these considerations on motivation of the people and the impact of domestic politics,considering the current events in Russia&Ukraine.
    Problem for the Axis is they took the long view on what the US could do theoretically,tried for a temporary advantage that worked for a short period.But at the same time they did it at the cost of ignoring going for short term benefits that could have helped long term vs the US.
    Those who know don't speak
    He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. Luke 22:36

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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    in this case if Japan didn't declare war on the US/UK, then FDR doesn't have a lot of options. there weren't many Americans who were enthusiastic about fighting japan for UK/French colonial possessions.
    But you're ignoring the Japanese read. The fleet was at Pearl and a bomber wing in the Phillipines. What were they doing there? Sight seeing?

    The last thing the Japanese needed was an American attack on their rear when they were being clobbered by the Soviets.
    Chimo

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    mihais,

    Without US intervention,the Germans win without breaking a sweat.They have time and resources to clear the British out of ME and Africa and without a second front the Soviets don't stand a chance to reach the border.Secondary fronts in 1943-1944 mean those German forces that can turn the tide of the defensive battles in the East.Even in an attrition war goes on,at the rate the Axis was killing Soviets,with more axis forces in the East,the Soviets may reach Kiev and be spent.
    USSR and UK would still be getting LL.

    recall up to June 1944, the biggest US factor in the war was tying down (IIRC) a million men through the bombing campaign with the requisite number of 88mm flak guns, and that only ramped up in mid-1943.

    so basically the war would be unchanged through 1942 and the first half of 1943. i doubt the germans would have tried to clear the british out of ME and Africa. that would require all the men, and more, that were tied down by the bombing campaign by the Americans...especially as Montgomery had already beaten back Rommel (Operation Crusader).

    seizing the ME, turkey, and Africa -before- taking on the Soviets would have been a war-winner. by 1942-1943 the germans were already too locked in with the Soviets for that campaign to be worthwhile.

    on the plus hand side, without the US the germans would have had another 1-1.5 million men to fight with from 1942 onwards. that would probably be enough to force an exhaustion by both sides somewhere in Poland. i suppose if the USSR didn't get any lend-lease they'd probably be stopped around Kiev instead.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  8. #68
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    The fleet was at Pearl and a bomber wing in the Phillipines. What were they doing there? Sight seeing?

    The last thing the Japanese needed was an American attack on their rear when they were being clobbered by the Soviets.
    but the main reason why Japan attacked the US at pearl harbor was because they foresaw the US coming to the UK's aid if the Japanese seized Brunei/Malaysia. (this was a mistaken assumption; FDR had his doubts that he could even raise domestic political support even if Japanese attacked the Philippines). in fact, that's exactly how the Japanese saw US deployment of air assets to the Philippines- to interdict a Japanese southern attack.

    i don't know why the Japanese would assume the US would attack Japan if they invaded red USSR. the US never put the USSR on par with the UK as a friend and ally. after all, the US didn't attack Germany when Germany invaded the USSR.

    the japanese calculus in 1941 was that they could take on the UK while the UK was involved in fighting germany. and that with a surprise attack, they could take on the US for six months.

    i don't think they actually seriously considered taking on both the USSR and the US at the same time offensively. hell, in 1945 the japanese were -begging- the soviets to help stop the war right before the soviets plunged the knife in.
    Last edited by astralis; 03 Feb 15, at 19:04.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  9. #69
    Senior Contributor Mihais's Avatar
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    Stalingrad was damn important.And it was a close call.With a few more mobile divisions around,there is no Stalingrad defeat and there is no withdrawal from the Caucasus.By mid 1943 there is no way the Soviets can dislodge the Axis from the Don-Volga area.Meanwhile,the Soviet army dies trapped in Caucasus.
    Without US there is no Torch and without Torch the Brits can't beat Rommel in Tunisia.In this scenario,the Germans can take whatever troops they sent in Italy historically and send them into ME via Turkey.
    With LL or without,the Brits lose ME,while the Soviets lose a bunch of oil.They could live without Caucasus,but they tried to talk with the Germans after Manstein dealt with them.That is after Stalingrad.They stood in the defense at Kursk in part because they were correct,but also because they were afraid to attack.
    Btw,it was American landing in sicily that decided Kursk.1st SS PzKorps had just finished the 5th Tank army,the Soviet reserve.The Germans were finally through the lines,but Adolf was busy winning the war for his foes and he cancelled the attack.

    The thing with wargaming is that if you change a variable,you change everything influenced by that variable.
    Those who know don't speak
    He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. Luke 22:36

  10. #70
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    Stalingrad was damn important.And it was a close call.With a few more mobile divisions around,there is no Stalingrad defeat and there is no withdrawal from the Caucasus.
    eh, even without a full defeat at stalingrad, a successful Operation Winter Storm would have meant a badly savaged Sixth Army anyways. i think it's too much of an assumption to state that an extra 150,000 men would have prevented the dislodging of the Axis and the Soviet army "dies trapped in the Caucasus". it'd probably just mean a bloodier 1943 for the soviets, and perhaps a small reserve for the Germans.

    Without US there is no Torch and without Torch the Brits can't beat Rommel in Tunisia.In this scenario,the Germans can take whatever troops they sent in Italy historically and send them into ME via Turkey.
    actually even before Torch, Montgomery had already beaten Rommel. not for good, but bad enough that Rommel was basically stalemated without extra reinforcement. and Montgomery was getting reinforced all the time.

    the overall sense I get is that the ME was seen as Rommel's playground, a secondary theater that didn't become important until it became clear after the Tunisian campaign that Italy was next.

    i highly doubt that absent a shocking defeat, Rommel would have gotten significantly more reinforcements-- even the reinforcements necessary to seizing Suez, let alone the rest of the ME. those forces were needed immediately to fight the Soviets. Rommel never got the forces he wanted to pursue Operation Herkules against Malta, for instance-- and most of the troops that were tasked to take it were going to be Italians.

    for all this talk, though, i don't think we actually disagree on the overall outline of the war. even without US overt involvement in WWII, i don't think it would have ended with hitler parading stalin's head on a pike through Berlin....or vice-versa.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    but politically he couldn't make it happen without the other side doing something first. extended conscription passed by ONE vote in August 1941, and most of the country was highly isolationist. that's why churchill was so damn happy when Hitler decided to pile on and declare war on the US, because otherwise even with Pearl, it could have very easily just been a Pacific War between the US and Japan.
    I am surprised by that. I find it hard to imagine European involvement depended on Hitler's declaration of war once the Attack on Pearl Harbour occurred.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post

    in this case if Japan didn't declare war on the US/UK, then FDR doesn't have a lot of options. there weren't many Americans who were enthusiastic about fighting japan for UK/French colonial possessions.
    A Japanese South Strike without Pearl Harbour. Do you think the US would have stayed on the sidelines for long?

    As OOE pointed out, once the Japanese looked south, it was a risk allowing the American fleet in Pearl Harbour intact, for if they left, the Japanese would have problems quickly.

    But as you and Mihais have alluded to, it may have been a drastic miscalculation if the Americans were likely to stay on the sidelines anyway.

    My original point is that a North Strike definitely keeps the Americans out for an extended period. I hadn't considered that a South Strike without Pearl could have met the same outcome.

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    Ok, maybe I was not clear. The Japanese clearly lost confidence against the Soviets after 39. 45,000 men is an entire army and the Soviets did it extremely efficiently. The only way I see the Japanese willing to take on the Soviets again was when they were smitten with the Victory Disease.
    Chimo

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    tantalus,

    I am surprised by that. I find it hard to imagine European involvement depended on Hitler's declaration of war once the Attack on Pearl Harbour occurred.
    FDR had tried and tried to goad the Germans into doing something stupid for about a year, things such as authorizing USN escort for Allied convoys and ordering shoot-on-sight for German U-boats and ships. it's actually a bit of a wonder that Hitler didn't take the bait until Pearl.

    even after Hitler declared war, there was a very, very vocal segment of the populace that wanted to focus on Japan first.

    A Japanese South Strike without Pearl Harbour. Do you think the US would have stayed on the sidelines for long?
    yes, short of an attack on the Philippines (and as I noted, even FDR was not sure if that would have been enough to mobilize the US populace). Pearl Harbor was the mother of strategic miscalculations, because it was the one thing that turned the populace from deep isolationists to full-on revenge war.

    for a North Strike, i can't see for the life of me why the IJN would get booted into action. i don't think the japanese were -so- blind that they would think the US would begin to conduct an island-hopping campaign to save Soviet Siberia.

    the entire point of Pearl Harbor was to buy the Japanese military time to seize everything they wanted and to present the US with a fait accompli without USN interference. but the whole assumption behind it was that the US -would- intervene, and that just wasn't true.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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    Ok, maybe I was not clear. The Japanese clearly lost confidence against the Soviets after 39. 45,000 men is an entire army and the Soviets did it extremely efficiently. The only way I see the Japanese willing to take on the Soviets again was when they were smitten with the Victory Disease.
    that's pretty much the Kwantung Army, 1933-1945.

    besides, the entire Japanese military command was in a vicious cycle of self-delusion. if you think about where the Japanese strategic situation was in 1941, where they couldn't even finish off -China-, logical decisionmakers probably would not include "attack the world's strongest industrial power and hope to frighten them into surrender" as a good COA.

    it's really strange that they must have known that attacking the USSR would not be a good idea, but attacking the US would be.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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    Senior Contributor Stitch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    by far the biggest factor here is whether or not Hitler declares war on the US, and when. without US intervention, both sides are pretty much exhausted by mid-1945 at pre-war (1939) borders.
    IMHO, one of the dumbest things Hitler ever did; what point did that serve?

    He had to have known that the US would eventually enter the War (for all intents and purposes, the US was already participating in the War, albeit indirectly), but delaying the entry of US into the War as long as possible would've been to his advantage; declaring War on the US just sped things up. Considering the timeframe, it is conceivable that Hitler could've successfully prosecuted Operation Barbarossa before the US entered the War.
    "There is never enough time to do or say all the things that we would wish. The thing is to try to do as much as you can in the time that you have. Remember Scrooge, time is short, and suddenly, you're not there any more." -Ghost of Christmas Present, Scrooge

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