(Original post by Clessus)
Please name one good thing Hitler did. The much lauded "economic recovery"
was mainly undertaken by the non-Nazi banker Hjalmar Schacht. When the Nazis took control of the economy in 1936, the recovery slowed down. Germany was nowhere near ready for a war in 1939, and their economic preparations for war were a shambles. The only reason they did so well at the start war because they were fighting foes that were either weak or were taken by surprise.
Yeah, Hitler let Rohm, Rommel and von Schleicher retire...
Oh well, they should have taken that into account before attacking the Soviet Union, shouldn't they? The Germans have no one to blame for their lack of preparedness for the winter except themselves. Another little known fact is that the Winter actually initially helped the Germans, as the roads which were previously unusable due to the heavy read became usable again. Besides, people tend to overstate the importance of the Russian winter in the defeat of Hitlerite Germany. Winter undeniably helped stall the German's attack on Moscow, it was not winter who encircled the 6th Army in Stalingrad and it was not winter who basically destroyed all of the Army group centre in operation Bagration. It was not winter which led to the disaster of Operation Citadel. The Germans failed for a number of reasons, these were;
Underestimated Soviet potential
- German war planners grossly underestimated the mobilization potential of the Red Army: its primary mobilization size (i.e. the total number of trained units ready to deploy at a moment's notice) was about twice the expected number. By early August, new armies had replaced destroyed armies. This alone implied Operation Barbarossa's failure, for the Germans were forced to limit their operations for a month to bring up new supplies. This delay left only six weeks to complete the battle before the start of the mud season(Autumn). On the other hand, the Red Army proved it could replace huge losses quickly, and was not destroyed as a coherent force. When divisions of conscripts trained before the war were destroyed, new conscripts replaced them. On average, about half a million men were drafted each month for the duration of the war. The ability to mobilize vast (if often poorly trained and equipped) forces rapidly and continually allowed the Soviet Union to survive the critical first six months of the war. In the face of early crushing defeats, the Soviets managed to dismantle entire industries threatened by the German advance. These critical factories, along with their skilled workers, were transported by rail to secure locations beyond the Germans' reach. Despite the loss of raw materials and the chaos of an invasion, the Soviets managed to build new armaments factories in sufficient numbers to allow mass production of needed war machinery. The Soviet government was never in danger of collapse and remained at all times in tight control of the Soviet war effort.
Faults of logistical planning
- German infantry and tanks stormed 300 mi (480 km) ahead in the first week, but their supply lines struggled to keep up. Soviet railroads could at first not be fully used due to a difference in railway gauges and dismantled railroad facilities in border areas. Lack of supplies significantly slowed down the blitzkrieg.
The German logistical planning also seriously overestimated the condition of the Soviet transportation network. The road and railway network of former Eastern Poland was well known, but beyond that information was limited. Roads that looked impressive on maps turned out to be just mere dust roads or were only in the planning stages.
- As we all know
- Hitler could never decide on what he wanted to do, and kept changing his mind. This would delay German offensives and continue to affact the German army for the remainder of the war.
The failure to defeat Russia quickly ment an almost certain defeat for Germany, which was nowhere near prepared for a long, drawn out war of attrition.