Why Germany lost WWII



  •  hello I just watched a utube vedio with GHG and he was asked what he thought the biggest reason Germany lost was.  He thought it was hitlers use of resources killing jewish people instead of using them in his war effort.  it was a hour long vedio and this was just one question he answered .  the way he talked about it made think he is right. all the reasons I thought they messed up and I never thought about it liked he did. now I think he’s right.  anyone else" ideas on this?


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    The Second World War was the most gigantic and destructive military conflict in history, and arguably one of the most complex ones ever fought in terms of the number of factors and actors that were involved.  It’s generated an enormous volume of historical examination in the decades since it ended, and there are no signs that the research and analysis of this topic is going to end anytime soon, if ever.  Even if one looks just at the serious scholarship on the Second World War, there is still much debate, disagreement, and variance of interpretation among analysts about many aspects of the war.  Saying that Hitler’s loss of the war can be pinned on any single cause, or primarily on that cause, and that he would have won if he had decided to do Y rather than X in that particular case, is at best an oversimplification and at worst potentially incorrect.


  • 2018 2017 '16

    You’re right, Marc. There are a number of reasons and the debate will go on endlessly. I was asked to give my opinion of the biggest reason and that was the one that I cited. I explained that besides the enormous cost and effort of rounding up and murdering millions of people, the loss of the scientists who developed the atom bomb was, in itself, a game changer. If those 2 bombs were dropped on London and Moscow instead of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, The Axis would’ve won the war. That was my explanation simplified.

    Can you think of a bigger reason than that?


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    My basic point was that changing a single variable in the course of WWII – even something as huge as the development of nuclear weaponry – doesn’t necessarily or automatically translate into a fundamantal reversal of the war’s outcome.  One has to look at the details of such hypotheses, and one has to consider that other variables might change too as a result…and that those changed variables could themselves affect the outcome of the war.

    Let’s take as an example the hypothesis you’ve just mentioned: “If those 2 bombs were dropped on London and Moscow instead of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, The Axis would’ve won the war.”  Well, would that necessarily have been the case?  If we assume that Nazi Germany had managed to mass-produce (not just produce) a nuclear arsenal (which it could not have; even the US, despite its massive nuclear program, only managed to crank out enough fissile material for a few bombs before the war’s end), then yes that would probably have been fatal to Britain and the USSR.  Adding the further assumption that Nazi Germany also had a trans-oceanic bomber or missile delivery system for its A-bomb arsenal of dozens and dozens of weapons, having both the required range and accuracy, then this could potentially have been compelled the US to sue for peace.  But would just two first-generation fission bombs, one aimed at London and one at Moscow, have produced an Axis victory?  That’s less obvious.

    Losing London and Moscow would have hurt Britain and the USSR badly, of course, but the relevant question is whether it would have been fatal to those two countries, especially if the British and the Soviets would have been aware (in this hypothetical scenario) that Germany only had two bombs and had shot its bolt.  Countries at war stop fighting when they lose either the material ability to fight or the psychological will to fight, or lose both simultaneously.  In June 1940, France folded because it lost the will to fight, even though it still had some substantial ability to do so.  In 1945, Germany and Japan folded because they lost the ability to fight, even though they still had some substantial will to do so.  Geographically and politically, both Britain and the USSR were theoretically in a position to continue prosecuting the war despite the loss of their capitals: Britain because of its hard-to-invade position as an island and because of its oceanic connections to a vast network of colonies, Commonwealth territories and allies such as the US, and the USSR because of its huge size and because of the fact that the invading Germans had done such a good job of motivating the Russian population to fight them at all costs.  (Japan, it should be noted, was already collapsing economically and militarily when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were A-bombed.  It was already on the brink of a precipice in August 1945; the A-bombs didn’t drive Japan there, they just pushed it over the edge.)

    Moreover, if we assume that the state of preliminary nuclear research in the 1930s had been far enough advanced to allow Germany to produce two A-bombs by, let’s say, 1943, this could also mean that the US might itself have been nuclear-armed (and to an even greater degree than Germany) in 1943.  In such a scenario, the nuking of London and Moscow by Germany would probably have soon resulted in the US nuking Berlin and Hamburg and every other German city for which a bomb was available.  That would hardly have resulted in an Axis victory.

    If I had to think of a plausible “bigger” cause for the Axis loss in WWII, I’d have to go with something so broad that it would encompass the many, many, many consitutuent factors of the war, and thus which could not be translated into a staightforward “if only they had done X rather than Y…” statement.  To me, the fundamental error that Germany and Japan made was to bite off more than they could chew, without having a coherent set of “victory conditions” (to put it in A&A terms) that took into account the possibility that their enemies might have both the skill and the determination to resist.  Some related points are that Germany and Japan both thought too much in military terms revolving around short-term maneuver warfare, and not enough in economic terms revolving around long-term attrition warfare, and that they both had a faulty psychological portrait of their enemies.  Japan’s game plan for the Pacific, for example, was basically, “Attack the US by suprise, grab a bunch of territories quickly, inflict a few painful early defeats to the decadent, soft, isolationist, unmilitaristic and undisciplined Americans who have no convictions for which they’re willing to die, then sit down with them and negotiate a peace treaty that will allow Japan to keep all of its gains.”  To most Japanese leaders of the time, whose understanding of Americans was (to put it mildly) thin and inaccurate, it seemed perfectly plausible that the Americans would dutifully go along with this game plan.  When the Americans (again to put it mildly) went off-script after Pearl Harbor, Japan’s leaders basically ended up in a situation where their Plan A had been shot to hell and where no effective Plan B could be devised to replace it.



  • As a YouTuber, you get asked many questions on all varying topics… giving an answer to any of these questions in the light of public transparency, will immediately make you vulnerable to viewers that don’t agree, and that’s fine. My point is, knowing and accepting that this might happen, you still put yourself out there and gave an answer.

    Well done GHG.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @Young:

    As a YouTuber, you get asked many questions on all varying topics… giving an answer to any of these questions in the light of public transparency, will immediately make you vulnerable to viewers that don’t agree, and that’s fine. My point is, knowing and accepting that this might happen, you still put yourself out there and gave an answer.
    Well done GHG.

    Just to be clear, in case I caused any misunderstandings: I wasn’t criticizing GHG nor his video (which I haven’t even seen).  My first post was an answer to Fowhead’s question asking whether anyone else concurred with the theory that Germany would have won if it hadn’t wasted resources on its genocide program.  My second post was an answer to a question that GHG asked me specifically.


  • 2018 2017 '16

    As Marc said there are a lot of variables and none of us can really say for absolute certain what the biggest reason was. Would America have created the bomb in the same time frame without the German scientists? Would Germany have done things differently if they had been working towards building the bomb? They were still trying but they refused to use Jewish scientists and of course would not let them teach at universities thus lowering their intellectual capacity.

    It wasn’t just the bomb that led me to my on the spot conclusion. The disruption to German society with Jewish people in many civilian leadership roles, the distraction of focus and resources, and the effects on the psyche of the German people who were then feeling superior (giving them an unrealistic assessment of their ability to conquer the world).

    On the other hand, if that stupidity had never happened, Germany would have had millions of capable citizens working towards their ultimate goals and that might have made the difference. We will never know for certain.


  • Customizer

    The problem is that in the English speaking world we tend to think of “WWII” as a single big event. That’s not how it’s seen in Russia (Great Patriotic War), Germany (The Hitler War), Japan, China or India.

    It was an accumulation of regional wars that coincided; because the UK and USA were involved in most of these it is a "World " war.

    As far as Germany is concerned the biggest mistake was the gross underestimation of the quality and quantity of Soviet military resources. Failing to meet the aspirations of anti-Soviet nationalities in the USSR was another crass error, largely due to Hitler’s narrow political outlook. Aligning with Japan brought no benefits but dragged Germany into a war with the USA that otherwise Roosevelt could not have sold to the American people.


  • 2019 2017 '16

    @GeneralHandGrenade:

    You’re right, Marc. There are a number of reasons and the debate will go on endlessly. I was asked to give my opinion of the biggest reason and that was the one that I cited. I explained that besides the enormous cost and effort of rounding up and murdering millions of people, the loss of the scientists who developed the atom bomb was, in itself, a game changer. If those 2 bombs were dropped on London and Moscow instead of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, The Axis would’ve won the war. That was my explanation simplified.

    Can you think of a bigger reason than that?

    Even if that had have happened, it’s hard to imagine that a few years of peace would have been followed by a re-escalation of hostilities, unless Germany abandoned and renounced its racist genocide etc. Or perhaps I have too much faith in human nature there.

    Operation Barbarossa was probably the main thing that cost the Germans the war though. Executed competently, or not at all, things may have turned out significantly differently.

    Pearl Harbour was a similarly disastrous move for the Japanese. Do it when the CVs are in port, next time! Although even if that had been done, the USA would have ultimately prevailed if peace terms could not have been negotiated. It just would have taken a lot longer.


  • 2017 '16

    The fact that Nazi Germany devoted a ton of resources to the Holocaust instead of military matters is undeniable… the thought that this fact alone caused Germany to lose the war is ludicrous…

    The Holocaust wasn’t even in full swing until well into the war… to be fair, the war was more or less already lost by the time the Germans were going full tilt on the Holocaust. Did Germany’s devotion to resources dedicated to the Holocaust hurt Germany militarily?  Yes… did it shorten the war? Yes… did it make them LOSE the war? Not at all… it was already over by the time they were devoting so much to the Holocaust (short of some kind of wonder weapon breakthrough like the atomic bomb).

    Germany bumbled through the war in many well-documented disasters that the Holocaust had nothing to do with… Dunkirk… the Germans could have wiped the British Army off the map had they not made some stupid decisions… this saved the British Army… the Battle of Britain… by England’s own estimates the RAF was close to being non-existant if the Germans kept focus on the RAF bases and production… but they switched to morale bombing of London and stayed on London for most the rest of the BoB, which gave the RAF a chance to recover and eventually repel the attack… once again, poor decision making by Germany that had nothing to do with the Holocaust…

    If not for some really bad decisions at Dunkirk and at the BoB, England would be out an army and an air force by 1940 and the Navy couldn’t operate in the Channel with no air support… the Germans go ahead with Sea Lion, there’s no army left (captured at Dunkirk), England knocked out in 1940?  Bad decisions by Germany, that weren’t effected by a Holocaust that wasn’t even underway in 1940.

    Many things about Barbarossa could be debated too… also, in 1941, the Holocaust wasn’t in full swing… once again, really bad decisions were made that made the campaign fail… no nation is impervious to being defeated, and that includes Russia… it COULD have been defeated in 1941, but the right conditions didn’t occur, and bad decisions were made… once again… not caused by the Holocaust.

    England and Russia could have both been defeated had the right decisions been made and a little luck here and there, and none of those things were effected by a Holocaust that wasn’t really a thing yet that early in the war. To say the Holocaust cost Germany the war is (in my view) a pretty silly thing to say… it certainly was a terrible, terrible atrocity, and it certainly hurt them militarily LATE in the war, but by then, the war was already lost… their dedication to the Holocaust over military matters speeded the ending of the war, but it didn’t (alone) cost Germany the war.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Another point to keep in mind is that the potential outcomes of WWII aren’t just limited to the binary option of either “Allies win + Axis loses” or “Axis wins + Allies lose.”  There are many possible gradations of outcomes in between those extremes; for example:

    • The Allies still win (as they did historically), but it takes them longer

    • The Allies still win (as they did historically), but they win more quickly

    • The Allies win in one theatre but lose in the other theatre

    • The war (in one or both theatres) turns into an extended, messy stalemate, with neither side being able to force a decision (or at least not by 1945)

    The stalemate scenario is actually a fair description of what the actual state of WWII was around mid-1942.  Basically, the Axis steamroller had been halted, but the Allies were not yet in any position to push back on any large scale.  The two sides spent the following year or so trading punches (including some pretty powerful ones), and trying to wear each other down, but it was only around mid-1943 that the Allies started building up some substantial momentum towards driving the Axis back towards their corner of the ring.

    In my opinion, if Germany had avoided making several of its well-documented major mistakes, this might perhaps have resulted in an Axis win – but, alternately, it might have simply resulted in a more protracted war, and perhaps even in an extended stalemate.

    Also keep in mind that it’s not plausible to have Germany avoiding making mistakes X and Y and Z that they made in actual history, while on the Allied side the Allies limit themselves to faithfully replicating all of their historical actions.  Major changes to the course of events on the Axis side would almost certainly have resulted in major changes of events on the Allied side as well, and those changed Allied actions have the potential to scramble the cards when it comes to predicting the course and outcome of the war.


  • 2018 2017 '16

    I never said that was the only reason they lost the war, Wolfy.

    I was asked a question if there was any way they could have won and off the top of my head I suggested that perhaps that might have been something that could have turned it around. By no means do I believe that it would have been the sole reason. In fact, in the video my actual answer was " maybe if Hitler wasn’t crazy." Then I started talking about the holocaust and pointing to that as evidence of his mental state. Many of the mistakes that people can point to could of been avoided if he wasn’t nuttier than squirrel sh*t. I was asked to give one reason and you gave several. Pick one and say for absolute certain that it is the correct answer. I know, it’s not possible to defend or prove. Like I said to Marc in a previous post, we will never know for certain because in order to prove it we would have to change the circumstances and see how it plays out. All we can do is speculate and debate.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @GeneralHandGrenade:

    Like I said to Marc in a previous post, we will never know for certain because in order to prove it we would have to change the circumstances and see how it plays out. All we can do is speculate and debate.

    Very true.  One of the reasons why “what if?” speculations are interesting and fun to debate is that – unlike, let’s say, a chemistry experiment – history can’t be re-run to see how it plays out if the variables get changed.  Many historians enjoy “what if?” discussions, and treat counterfactual exercises as a kind of parlour game.  Marxist historians, however, usually frown on counterfactuals because counterfactuals tend to reflect the classic assumption that the course of history is shaped primarily by the actions of a small number of important individuals, and that it can be influenced in a major way by random events.  Marxist historians who believe in dialectical materialism prefer to think that the course of history is shaped by social forces arising from the actions of the masses, and that its ultimate outcome is predetermined (kind of like an A&A game with no bids).



  • Hitlers main error was he started a fight, but had no idea how to end it.

    Racism works if you want to dominate a small country, but it sure backfire if you want to conquer the world, and you expect 80 million Arians to ethnical cleanse billions on billions of other people and steal their soil. Hitlers only realistic object would be to capture and subdue Europa and Russia to the Archangelsk Volga line. After that it would be a stalemate between the great sea powers US and UK, and the great land power Germany. This stalemate could go on for decades, maybe generations, kind of like the Cold War against the commies. But I figure Hitler would never be prudent and patience enough for that.


  • 2017 '16

    To me, while its clear the Germans hurt themselves militarily by devoted so many resources to the Holocaust, it’s a moot point when it comes to discussing if it cost Germany the war. Its the equivalent of sending the Japanese fleet to Leyte Gulf and failing miserably… win or lose, the war was already over for Japan by 1944… the only question left was “how long would it take”. Sending or not sending the fleet to Leyte… winning or losing at Leyte… matters not… the war was already decided… like Marc says, its more a question of when it ends in defeat for the Axis, not if.

    I would argue the EXACT same thing for resources dedicated to the Holocaust… it really wasn’t in full swing till late in the war, and by then, most of the major deciders of the war were already played out. Had Germany ceased the Holocaust in totality and devoted everything to the war effort… they could have prolonged the war surely… but it would not have changed the outcome (once again, short of some other major game-changer like the A-bomb).

    No nation is invincible in war… NO NATION… anyone thinking England or Russia was completely immune to defeat might as well book a ticket on the HMS Titanic. Having said that… there’s tons of variables in play, and some really stupid decisions took Germany out of the running for the war… by mid 1942 the writing was on the wall, and by 1943, Germany was in retreat on all fronts.

    The Holocaust was a late-player in the war… at least as far as resources devoted to the effort, and as previously mentioned, it was already too late… Germany’s resource allocation to the Holocaust sped the ending of the war to some degree (what exactly, I don’t know, but it definitely shortened the war)… but it didn’t cost Germany the war, not even close. I think while it was a terrible, terrible atrocity to mankind, it should never be considered a major reason why Germany lost the war… it was lost well-before.


  • 2018 2017 '16

    You’re only looking at the cost in terms of money. Think of all of the human resources that were lost not only in the final solution, but the lead up to that that began even before the war did. None of the Jews worked towards their war effort.



  • I find it quite optimistic for anyone to assume “no internment of Jews” results in “Jews aiding German war effort”. A reason(whether it is believed or not) that the Germans said they were interning them was to reduce the cases of partisan terrorism. If you respond to the 1933 pic- that I hope posts- by saying, “Well that was a response by Jews because of Antisemitism. I mean if Germany didn’t discriminate against them at all.”, but removing Jews from influential positions, and then increasing nationalism, tossing out the crippling Versailles Treaty, economic miracle, everything that makes the Third Reich the Third Reich never happens and you have the despair-ridden Weimar Republic indefinitely.

    My point is Holocaust or no Holocaust, the Jews were largely not going to help the Germans.

    j d w.png


  • 2019 2017 '16

    @Narvik:

    Hitlers main error was he started a fight, but had no idea how to end it.

    Quite.

    He thought he’d won the fight against Britain when he took down France, according to one documentary I saw. He never even considered that Britain would fight on.


  • 2017 '16

    @GeneralHandGrenade:

    You’re only looking at the cost in terms of money. Think of all of the human resources that were lost not only in the final solution, but the lead up to that that began even before the war did. None of the Jews worked towards their war effort.

    I never once mentioned cost in terms of money… not once… not sure where you thought I said that. “Cost Germany the war” isn’t a monetary statement. I debated the initial post (Fowhead’s) which basically blamed Germany’s loss of the war primarily on the Holocaust, which is what I countered with deliberate and specific counterpoints to the conclusion that while the Holocaust was terrible, it wasn’t the main reason they lost, or even a major contributing factor… I debated that the war was already lost by the time it kicked into full gear.

    Also, the original post (not you) tied “The Holocaust” as a major (if not the) reason they lost the war… The Holocaust is a very specific thing… its the rounding up and killing of the Jews under German access/control (and the things tied-into it, like infrastructure, trains, etc)… if someone wants to debate “not allowing people of Jewish descent to work in certain jobs”… that’s NOT “The Holocaust”… don’t try and change the original post I was actually debating, with something completely different because the original post I was debating about (the Holocaust) isn’t holding water as the main reason Germany lost. I mean at least say “okay, well what about this other subject here…”, because job discrimination is a little different then mass-scale ethnic cleansing.

    Before you go off on a different tangent (job discrimination of Jews as the major reason Germany lost the war), i’ll shoot that down too… There’s a LOT of reasons Germany lost the war… if you’re going to go over the whole “Jews not working for Germany” angle, while that might look good on paper, there’s far greater reasons why Germany lost the war if you’re going to blame job loss… Germany never took the war seriously until (once again) it was already lost… Germany didn’t really go to full war-time production until 1943, roughly 4 years after the war started. Germany was still producing luxury goods for several years into the war, and German women by-and-large stayed home during this same time… ie: Germany’s female population, a lot more bodies than just those of Jewish descent, stayed home instead of working. For all that Germany blamed Jews for everything, its almost ironic that trying to blame the Jews (ok, just kidding here, it’s really the Nazi’s obsession with blaming Jews), doesn’t really have a major impact on why they lost the war… there’s SO MANY bad decisions the Germans made, on the battlefield and in production that cost them the war, the Jewish contribution (or lack thereof) is pretty minor in-comparison. This last paragraph is to a completely different subject though, because I was originally debating blaming THE HOLOCAUST as the major reason why they lost the war, that’s a very different thing than job discrimination.


  • 2018 2017 '16

    The original post was about a statement that I made. If your going to answer it correctly then you should find out what I actually said.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @GeneralHandGrenade:

    The original post was about a statement that I made. If your going to answer it correctly then you should find out what I actually said.

    And on that point: the link for the original material is here…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2rUe3j2QFE

    …and the part being discussed runs from 1:02:00 to 1:05:40, in case this is helpful to the discussion.


  • 2017 '16

    @GeneralHandGrenade:

    The original post was about a statement that I made. If your going to answer it correctly then you should find out what I actually said.

    This is the post I saw, so that’s why I mentioned Fowhead

    @FOWHEAD:

    hello I just watched a utube vedio with GHG and he was asked what he thought the biggest reason Germany lost was. He thought it was hitlers use of resources killing jewish people instead of using them in his war effort. it was a hour long vedio and this was just one question he answered . the way he talked about it made think he is right. all the reasons I thought they messed up and I never thought about it liked he did. now I think he’s right. anyone else" ideas on this?

    Yes, it mentions you on rereading it, but it still doesn’t change one word I said… THE HOLOCAUST is not why Germany lost the war… I based my statements on what FOWHEAD stated at the beginning of THIS thread, and my initial reply was to FOWHEAD, not you.

    FOWHEAD summarized that the Holocaust is why Germany lost the war, that’s what I responded to… your defenses eventually brought up no Jews working as a main reason… it’s all irrelevant, because blaming the Jews (not literally, but by about the loss of Jews) as the main driver why Germany lost the war is a false narrative.

    It doesn’t matter if you say the Holocaust is why Germany lost the war or if you say its because they weren’t in the workforce as the main reason why they lost the war… in EITHER CASE, the Holocaust or Jews not working is NOT the main reason (or even a major reason) why Germany lost the war… Read MY DETAILED RESPONSES to BOTH narratives, and you’ll see it doesn’t matter who comes up with this idea about Germany’s Jewish population, neither is the main or even a major reason why they lost.

    Germany made a lot of really bad decisions… not going to a total war production footing until 1943 was a very major reason (and far more important than not having Jews working) if you focus on production, and if you focus on infrastructure and/or diverting of resources to the Holocaust, the war was already lost before then. Not even to count the massive blunders on the battlefield in multiple instances where Germany through things massively beneficial to the German war effort out the window.

    The Holocaust was a terrible thing… what they did to the Jews (and other ethnic groups) was a terrible thing… and while a case can be made that the war may have been shortened by things tied into their ethnic policies concerning jews, it being either the most important, or even a major reason why they lost the war, just isn’t reality.


  • 2018 2017 '16

    None of us can prove or disprove any theories on this topic. We can only offer our opinions.



  • While something as big as WWII with so many angles can’t be said to be decided by one thing. I thought ghg was asked what one thing not a bunch of things. And I quess my first thought would have been invading Russia before settling the war with UK. And my second answer might have been declaring war on usa after pearl harbor. His answer just came out the blue to me.  Never even considered that one. Posted this to see if anyone else thought of one decision that might have turned the war in Germany’s favor. I know as many of you have said that can’t be done with just  one change. So far I don’t think I have seen one other theory talked about. If mentioning your vid was a no no then I am very sorry GHG. If you make a hour long vid about why it’s not good to mention your vids in this forum I promise to watch it and press like button.



  • I posted this in the hopes that someone else would throw something else at me I that never considered. Looks like this thread is about why one theory is wrong.


Log in to reply
 

20th Anniversary Give Away

In January 2000 this site came to life and now we're celebrating our 20th Anniversary with a prize giveaway of 30+ prizes. See this link for the list of prizes and winners.
Axis & Allies Boardgaming Custom Painted Miniatures
Dean's Army Guys
T-shirts, Hats, and More

Suggested Topics

  • 21
  • 63
  • 8
  • 5
  • 72
  • 4
  • 2
  • 30
I Will Never Grow Up Games
Axis & Allies Boardgaming Custom Painted Miniatures
Dean's Army Guys

54
Online

14.8k
Users

35.5k
Topics

1.4m
Posts