The easiest thing Germany could have done to win the war.



  • We have talked to death about what the biggest mistakes were that Germany made, but they are rather macro in size.  “Don’t attack the Soviet Union”, “Don’t waste resources on the Holocaust”… stuff like that.  And while those things may be true, it does change the whole context of the war had they not happened.  My question is what relatively minor thing could the Germans have done that would have had the most impact but failed to do.

    For example saying don’t do the Holocaust fundamentally changes the war, but saying ‘Treat the Ukranians better’ is more minor, and would have cost the Soviet Army 4.5 million troops.

    For my part, I think based off of cost to the German war effort with the least impact on German policy during the War the easiest thing they could have done to benefit themselves would have been to get Spain involved in the War.  Spain wanted the debt forgiven from their civil war, and a bit of territory.  That is a small price to pay IMO to get them involved.  Even w/o the Spanish military the Germans would have had access to attack Gibraltar by land, and that would have been huge. You could even argue that move may have gotten England to surrender had it happened right after the fall of France.  Between the Blitz and the U-boats, the fall of Gibraltar may have broken them, and if not that getting supplies to N. Africa would have been even more of a nightmare than it already was and could have led to the fall of the Suez Canal.


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    Hitler taking steps back from total command, or proxy command of the front.

    If the generals had been able to do their jobs; with less fear and interference by Mr. H;  I think overall they would have performed better; and the Germans wouldn’t have suffered from “Stalingrad” syndrome as often.

    Trust in the generalship; instead of political power plays, and the miracle at Dunkirk doesn’t happen.



  • While I do agree with you, you also have to remember some times Hitler was right.  None of his generals wanted to attack France, but Hitler insisted and France fell in 6 weeks.  Hitle was famous for his “No retreat” policy, but that probably was a good policy in the winter of 41.

    I think Hitler was a fool, but some times he got it right.  Not from any great military thinking of his own, but because he just ‘wanted something’ and his generals found a way to get it for him.

    I kind of look at him like how Steve Jobs was.  A jerk who had no real talent other than yelling at people demanding that they do better.  But ultimately Jobs created the largest company on earth despite his lack of personal ability.

    Ultimately though I do agree.  Hitler should have shut the hell up and let his generals do the planning.


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    Probably the easiest thing then, would have been not to start some of the wars in the first place.

    Finish off France and keep the pressure on London.  No need to pick fights with Russia or later DOW on USA.


  • 2017 '16 '15 '14 '12

    @Zooey72:

    ‘Treat the Ukranians better’

    Anti-communists of any race should have been used until Communism was exterminated.



  • NOT to have fought a 2 front war. -I once read a history book from some Austrian fellow who said the exact same thing. can’t remember his name, angry little fellow


  • 2017 '16

    @Zooey72:

    For my part, I think based off of cost to the German war effort with the least impact on German policy during the War the easiest thing they could have done to benefit themselves would have been to get Spain involved in the War.

    Had Hitler gotten Spain involved in the war it would have changed almost nothing, certainly not the outcome… Spain was no super power, they had no massive military, even the most beneficial thing getting Spain involved in the war could do, possibly take Gibraltar, would have been nothing in the grand scheme of things.

    Spain was militarily and emotionally depleted after the long Civil War… they were in no-condition to take on America, the US and Russia alongside Germany. If anything, adding Spain would have actually weakened Hitler’s position, as adding the entire Spanish coastline as a possible landing spot for Allied forces in continental Europe would have been yet another further manpower drain on Germany.

    Nope, sorry… there’s many things you can argue that would have given Hitler a better chance at winning the war, major or minor… getting Spain to join-in is not one of them.


  • 2017 '16 '15

    support Rommel with a half dozen more panzer/mech divisions. Throw another Luftwaffe wing in as well. Probably would need to have whacked Malta or just more U-Boats and planes anyway, so they could supply the original/extra divisions properly.

    Basically support Rommel enough to take Egypt and the Middle East before getting rid of the commies in Russia


  • 2017 '16

    Oil is the blood of war.

    Maybe a whole annihilation of British Expeditionary Forces at Dunkirk might have change the public opinion of UK, so they would have made an armistice with Germany?



  • Better winter gear on the eastern front. Allowed rommel to countet attack dday landings with armor.


  • 2017 '16

    @Bob77:

    Better winter gear on the eastern front. Allowed rommel to countet attack dday landings with armor.

    There wasn’t much armor near the beach to counterattack with… due to the compromise, most of it was inland and unable to reach during the day due to aircover… the other thing that wasn’t there was Rommel himself… he was on vacation in Germany on June 6.


  • 2017 '16 '13 '12

    The big issue was that the German industry didn’t become fully mobilized until 1944. They let the Soviet Union outproduced then for tanks and the UK outproduce planes.

    Not enough U-boats in 1939 was also a big mistake. The ~30 that they had really did cause a lot of damage. More “Condor” long range patrol planes to attack allied shipping would have been good as well.


  • 2017 '16

    It takes time to adjust from old ways to the new ways of war requirements.
    Even Blitzkrieg in France seemed a combination of discoveries made during war in Poland and stubborness of Guderian.



  • “Total War” earlier than 1943.


  • 2017 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    All Hitler would need to do is after finishing off France, be the best of friends with Stalin and even use him to take the UK colonial assets within reach with the spoils going to each party in a fair way. Make peace with UK or bomb them into rubble and never get allied with Japan or DOW USA. After this just let the holdings percolate for at least 20 years.


  • 2017 '16

    @Imperious:

    All Hitler would need to do is after finishing off France, be the best of friends with Stalin and even use him to take the UK colonial assets within reach with the spoils going to each party in a fair way. Make peace with UK or bomb them into rubble and never get allied with Japan or DOW USA. After this just let the holdings percolate for at least 20 years.

    Not the dumbest thing Hitler could have done to be sure… there is merit here…



  • @Wolfshanze:

    @Bob77:

    Better winter gear on the eastern front. Allowed rommel to countet attack dday landings with armor.

    There wasn’t much armor near the beach to counterattack with… due to the compromise, most of it was inland and unable to reach during the day due to aircover… the other thing that wasn’t there was Rommel himself… he was on vacation in Germany on June 6.

    Two hours before the seaborne landings began, Rundstedt ordered the two reserve panzer divisions available for counterattack in Normandy, the 12th SS Panzer and Panzer Lehr, to move immediately toward Caen. The only place such landings could come in lower Normandy were on the Calvados and Cotentin coasts. He wanted armor there to meet the attack.

    Rundstedt’s reasoning was sound, his action decisive, his orders clear. But the panzer divisions were not under his command. They were in OKW reserve. To save precious time, Rundstedt had first ordered them to move out, then requested OKW approval. OKW did not approve. At 0730 Jodi informed Rundstedt that the two divisions could not be committed until Hitler gave the order, and Hitler was still sleeping. Rundstedt had to countermand the move-out order. Hitler slept until noon.

    The two panzer divisions spent the morning waiting. There was a heavy overcast; they could have moved out free from serious interference from Allied aircraft. It was 1600 when Hitler at last gave his approval. By then the clouds had broken up and Allied fighters and bombers ranged the skies over Normandy, smashing anything that moved.
    There were armor units available. When i think of dday and the atlantic wall, i think of rommel ( wether there or not).


  • 2017 '16 '15

    even if D-Day failed, which it easily could have, I don’t see the Germans stopping the soviets no matter what. Would’ve taken longer and some different after war stuff, like the soviets owning all of europe, but stopping the invasion I don’t think could have won them the war



  • I will concede to that


  • 2017 '16 '15 '14 '12

    @barney:

    even if D-Day failed, which it easily could have, I don’t see the Germans stopping the soviets no matter what. Would’ve taken longer and some different after war stuff, like the soviets owning all of europe, but stopping the invasion I don’t think could have won them the war

    Operation bagration as going on at the same time and the Russian army was several times greater than what the allies had in the west. Almost all of the German army was fighting them. I know this hurts everyone’s feelings, and not to diminish what our soldiers did, but it was a sideshow.  The Russians won the war in Europe.  America won the war in the Pacific.


  • 2017 '16

    The real achievement of Allies is a successful D-Day, keeping the surprise effect.
    There was so many details which could have turned bad or worse.
    It was such an incredible strategic and logistic feat.



  • A steady stream of cement into the English Channel should turn it into dry land after six years.  A lasting peace treaty w Stalin allows the panzers to roll up the big island / peninsula.



  • I always said Hitler ignoring Tojo’s request to bring Stalin into the Axis powers was the gunshot into the head. I can’t think of a single point that Hitler could change and that would change the war. Taking on one of the largest military’s, largest industrial nations was not good for Germany and the sad part is that the German allies they brought was a handicap in the end.


  • 2019 2018 2017 '16

    • trust in mass production

    • simplify production

    • stick to entrusted material

    • stick to a few calibers only (5cm; 7.5cm and 8.8cm)

    • produce Me262’s mass

    • produce PIV and PV’s and StuG’s only

    • spend Resources and develop real Submarines like XXI types

    • build two minor flightdecks CV’S out of KDF Dampfer to secure the Channel (holding 10 Ftr’s each)

    Something like that IMO.

    AetV


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

    The first four points on aev’s list are indeed sensible and practical things, related to some important basic elements of modern warfare, which would indeed have been helpful to Germany.  I’m not sure if they would have compensated sufficiently for some of the more fundamental mistakes the German leadership made, but they would have helped.  The other four points on the list are more difficult to assess, for various reasons.  One of the reasons the Me262 wasn’t mass-produced (in addition to the question of strategic priorities) was that Germany was (as I recall) having problems with the high-temperature steels required for its jet turbines.  Regarding the Walther and Elektro subs, it could be argued that by the time these designs were operational the Allies had learned from their mistakes in the first half of the Battle of the Atlantic and had put in place (and had done so in large numbers) a wide range of weapons and technologies and tactics to deal with the submarine menace.  The Allies had also realized that, although sinking subs was useful, their first priority was ensuring the safe and timely arrival of their convoys.  To put the argument in exaggerated terms: saving all their convoys and sinking zero U-boats from 1939 to 1945 would have been a tremendous Allied victory, whereas sinking 100% of Germany’s U-boats but losing 100% of their convoys in the process would have been an Allied catastrophe.  The Walthers and Elektros were good at hiding underwater for a long time, which was fine for getting from France to the deep Atlantic and back again without being detected, but that ability in itself was meaningless unless they actually went into combat against convoys (and thus exposed themselves to detection and attack by the escort vessels which were concentrated around the convoys).  The final point about German aircraft carriers, in my opinion, wouldn’t have made any difference: if having carriers was the only thing needed to secure the English Channel, then Britain would have had nothing to worry about in 1940 because the Royal Navy had several carriers in service and Germany had none.


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