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Did the Americans save our asses in WWII? watch

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    (Original post by ckingalt)
    Any American saying something so obnoxious better have fought or at least lived during WWII. That being said...Russia defended its own borders out of self preservation and any benefit to GB was consequential. The United States provided desperately needed assistance to Europe when there was an alternative choice. Have no doubt that self interest was their primary motivation. However, the difference is that Americans died on a foreign shore, during a war that they could have chosen to avoid. Attempting to dismiss the value of that contribution as irrelevant reeks of bitter insolence. Those who benefitted most directly from a profound sacrifice, owe their gratitude for that sacrifice. Americans may or may not have saved your asses. They certainly risked and paid with their own though.
    One also has to give a big thanks to the Americans who came over to fly in the RAF before Pearl Harbor. Actively choosing to aid the British Empire in its time of need.
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    The situaton is actually worse than that, because even if they land successfully with a large force (which they probably couldn't do) they then need to keep it supplied. Leaving aside the fact that they had no suitable transport for tanks or artillery, delivering a lot of heavy equipment of that type makes the supply situation worse. The Royal Navy could completely ignore the actual landings and still destroy the invasion just by attritioning the supply barges over a period of days. Once the barges are destroyed, the more troops the Germans have in the British Isles the more troops they lose. It's quite possible to imagine a German army simply starving to death between the GHQ Line and the South coast.

    The Germans need to not just land in the first few hours but actually break through all the Stop Lines and destroy the British army. To do that, though, they needed to land at least half a million troops, with transport and tanks, which is roughly what the German army asked for. The German navy said it could deliver 60,000 over a period of four days at which point the first men ashore will have started running out of food and ammunition, if they have not been defeated by a counterattack given that the entire force was only a fraction of the size of the British army let alone cut up into four slices.

    Basically for Sea Lion to work even as a wild gamble the Germans needed about ten times as much transport as they had and that would have taken a year or more to build, at which point the British Isles have a garrison of over two million and no realistic force the Germans can assemble can defeat it.

    From my understanding British defensive plans were based on this idea. The purpose of the British army would have been to fight a defensive delaying action against the Germans. In the meantime the Navy would wipe out the German supply lines. They would have quickly surrendered once their supplies ran out. British survival was always based on the Royal Navy, the land battles would have been a sideshow really.

    Interesting to note a war game was played by the British and Germans in the 1970's. The finding was that it was near impossible for Germany to invade, even when they managed to land a force the Royal Navy quickly cut it off leaving the land force unsupported and running out of supplies.
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    Britain was bankrupt by 1941, having burned through most of its disposable assets and gold reserves. Even before that, America was supplying Britain with food, (especially what) ammunition, and pretty much everything else, despite the rationing. The Lend-Lease program saved Britain. The impact of American forces themselves fighting was fairly limited, but the Second World War was a war of matériel, and boy, did America have that and more. Tanks, planes, jeeps. You name it...all helped increase British (and Soviet) fighting ability. Yes, the Soviets did the majority of the fighting, but Britain was on the ropes before the Nazis turned their attention to the Soviet Union...
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    FFS I thought I was done with this debate ten years ago.
    No. As far as I understand, The Luftwaffe losing the Battle of Britain meant limited air cover for operation Seal lion, the planned invasion of Britain. No air cover, no invasion.
    That may be rather simplistic, but in it's simplist form that's all you really need to say to those blowhards.

    That being said, I don't think I've ever heard an American actually say in real life " we saved your asses" and that we'd be speaking German if it hadnt been for them. I've only seen that said online.
    I do rather like the idea of the fallacy that we'd be speaking German if it hadn't been for them. It amuses me.


    Reminds me of that line from the Simpsons:

    "We saved your ass in Vietnam and shared our prostitutes with Hugh Grant."
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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    I disagree because what the Brits discovered when they saw the US facilities that this was a process dependent on resources rather than inspiration and that the American development programme was making much faster progress from a late start. With less ability to interdict German developments (with a smaller Bomber Command etc) the Germans would have made much more progress.
    The Americans made faster progress from a later start by putting more money into the same tools, in large part because the British told them which tools to build. The Germans would have perhaps had more money (I'm not sure they did historically but things could have been different) but put it into the wrong tools. The mass spectrometer was a much less efficient way of producing U235 than the gasseous diffusion machine. The graphite-moderated reactor was much easier to build than the heavy water-moderated reactor. The gun-type U235 weapon was much easier to build than the implosion-type plutonium weapon (although inferior in most respects).

    If you consider the baseline of progress - year zero - toward a nuclear bomb to be the British in late 1940 (all the right ideas, nothing built yet) and the Americans at the start of the Manhattan project (late 1942) to be year 2, the British on their own were at about year 1 and the Germans were in about year -3. Not only had they missed a lot of the key facts, they "knew" things that were wrong and that were leading them down blind alleys.

    They only saved us from an atomic threat from the Soviets and not a conventional one. The Soviet Army would not have continued rolling west after the defeat of Germany (assuming the USSR) was in the war at all. Wherever the Red Army stopped, buffer states were going to be created. I suspect it would be different in Iraq, Iran and India where it is likely that Stalin would have seen further expansion as in accordance with the historic ambitions of the Rus.
    Do you think there is a West Germany without the US? Or even a Free France? The USSR may not have wanted to declare war on the British Empire but I am sure it would have made greater progress before the fall of Germany had the US not been in the war.

    I think Britain is then face with the continuing choice of accommodation with the Soviets or perpetual wartime levels of mobilisation. The historical British nuclear force was not a sufficient deterrent to the Soviets; it could have been so but only at great expense.

    ---

    An important consideration is what else is going on. Historically the Germans just ended work on the bomb before the end of the war, before they thought the war would be decided by the time any bomb could be built. Why does that change? The bomb isn't going to be built any quicker so they had to think the war will go on longer. If that is because they defeated the Soviets, Britain might be in trouble. Even without the bomb Germany can now devote probably twice the previous resources to the air and submarine wars with Britain and might potentially establish a more serious bomb project.

    If it is because they expect the war with the Soviets to grind down for 5+ years, as without US entry it might well have done, I think they are doomed. They won't be able to devote significantly greater resources to the air war, including atomic bombs, than historical, and will suffer increasingly more severe damage as the British strength increases. They will be sucked into a war that looks just about winnable enough that they won't seek terms but which can only otherwise end with the pulverisation of all fixed above-ground property on the mainland. Good luck for them to have avoided that fate.
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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    Britain did not rely on the Americans to win the Battle of Britain. We would probably have won the Battle of the Atlantic without American assistance. They were the only two existential threats to the UK during WWII. However, we would not have developed an independent atomic bomb more quickly than Germany and so it would have been a race between a negotiated peace with Nazi occupied Europe or mushroom clouds over London.

    That isn't what Americans who make these comments mean
    Surely the decisive thing in the first stage of the war was that Hitler did not want to invade or destroy Britain - so he ordered his armies to stop short of Dunkirk for example and was never serious about Sea Lion. The second big thing was that the Fuhrer was obsessed with destroying Bolshevism, so it was perhaps inevitable that he would turn on the USSR, another decision which effectively saved Britain from destruction. I'm not belittling the Battles of Britain and the Atlantic, but in the grand scheme, they were side shows - even if the RAF had been forced to withdraw to the Midlands, we still had at that stage an immensely powerful Royal Navy that would have massacred any cross-channel attempt.

    On the OP, the point is that the US did not 'save our bacon' as such, but we could not possibly have defeated the Nazis without the massive surge of US power received in 1942-45.
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    I think that it's fair to say that the Americans did their fair share of butt-saving but so did the Soviets. It was a combined effort.
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    (Original post by Observatory)


    Do you think there is a West Germany without the US? Or even a Free France? The USSR may not have wanted to declare war on the British Empire but I am sure it would have made greater progress before the fall of Germany had the US not been in the war.
    Of course not but there isn't an East Germany either. East Germany is an accident of great power politics in the post war era. The assumption by Stalin as much as by the West was that a denuded Germany would be stitched back together again as occurred with Austria. The new Poland was to be the buffer state in the actual end result of the war. Even in the Fulton speech Churchill assumes Leipzig and Dresden are on our side of the Iron Curtain.

    With no USA there would have been a greater string of buffer states from the Oder to the Atlantic but the Soviet Army wouldn't have been on the Channel coast but stationed so as to fight a war on non-Soviet territory but with short lines of communication. As the buffer states were more remote from Moscow, they would have had fewer troops of their own because Stalin would not wish them to have foreign entanglements of their own. They would have been there simply to stretch the lines of communication of an enemy of the Soviet Union.


    Posted from TSR Mobile
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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    Of course not but there isn't an East Germany either. East Germany is an accident of great power politics in the post war era. The assumption by Stalin as much as by the West was that a denuded Germany would be stitched back together again as occurred with Austria. The new Poland was to be the buffer state in the actual end result of the war. Even in the Fulton speech Churchill assumes Leipzig and Dresden are on our side of the Iron Curtain.

    With no USA there would have been a greater string of buffer states from the Oder to the Atlantic but the Soviet Army wouldn't have been on the Channel coast but stationed so as to fight a war on non-Soviet territory but with short lines of communication. As the buffer states were more remote from Moscow, they would have had fewer troops of their own because Stalin would not wish them to have foreign entanglements of their own. They would have been there simply to stretch the lines of communication of an enemy of the Soviet Union.


    Posted from TSR Mobile
    Assuming that British forces could have made it across the Channel successfully, which is a pretty big ask given that they were definitely too weak to have done so successfully in 1944 without massive US help.

    We also shouldn't forget the effect that the US had in the Pacific war - for example, by defending Australia, relieving the UK of a considerable burden and by taking the leading part in fighting Japan. Assuming a Churchill government would have continued to want to try to defend the empire, it's not hard to picture half the British Army being bogged down in India for most of the war.
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    (Original post by Fullofsurprises)
    Assuming that British forces could have made it across the Channel successfully, which is a pretty big ask given that they were definitely too weak to have done so successfully in 1944 without massive US help.
    My scenario is that they made it across the Channel in 1940 coming this way and never set foot in Europe again. The Russians got to Berlin and there were national uprisings in Western Europe (liberation of Norway and Denmark etc) in which Britain played a supporting role. Western Europe becomes a collection of barely armed Finlands (because it isn't in Uncle Joe's interests to have the Dutch declare war on the Belgians or anyone bar him declare war on the Brits. Other than that, he wants a lot of miles between any enemy and Moscow but where he doesn't need to station Russian troops.



    We also shouldn't forget the effect that the US had in the Pacific war - for example, by defending Australia, relieving the UK of a considerable burden and by taking the leading part in fighting Japan. Assuming a Churchill government would have continued to want to try to defend the empire, it's not hard to picture half the British Army being bogged down in India for most of the war.
    Can Australia be taken by a conventional assault? It certainly cannot be taken from the North and I suspect the West would be similar. It really requires simultaneous seaborne invasions of Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.

    The largest country to be taken by force since it unified and attained its present dimensions is probably Mexico by the French followed by the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) by Japan

    The Japanese were stopped at Kohima and Imphal without significant American input.
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    (Original post by AlwaysWatching)
    Yes and no.

    It certainly made the war with Germany a lot easier, but if the USSR still entered the war, we would have either won in a much more longer war, or done a peace deal with nobody winning the war. We would have certainly lost to Japan though.

    We have to remember that 1) the Battle of Britain was won before the Americans entered the war 2) we would have still discovered the long range radar that saved our shipping convey asses in the Atlantic campaign 3) would have still discovered atomic bombs (we gave our ideas to the USA for the Manhattan project), but invented it much later 4) still broke the enigma code and know all about Germany's plans.

    The only way we could have lost is if the Germans did not attack Russia, and instead invaded Britain. We would have most certainly lost then if the Germans managed to secure a beachhead and about 30 miles of depth. Once they've got 30 miles of depth, they can bring in heavier equipment, tanks, artillery, airfields and masses of infantry and then we would be truly ****ed since we didn't have the numbers to repel an invasion until much later in the war.
    You make a very good point.

    Not to mention that the two prerequisites of invading Britain was to destroy the RAF and the Royal Navy, things which the Nazis were just not equipped to do.

    Secondly the British Army has always been more at ease with defence, and would have had a natural advantage over German defenders, even if they invaded in greater numbers. The British homeguard and UK-stationed divisions had split the countryside up into defensive posts that they could hold and then fall back to the next one before getting overrun. So even if Nazi-Germany had invaded, victory would not have been assured.

    Best regards to a fellow historian!
    -Francis.
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    (Original post by jammy4041)
    Britain was bankrupt by 1941, having burned through most of its disposable assets and gold reserves. Even before that, America was supplying Britain with food, (especially what) ammunition, and pretty much everything else, despite the rationing. The Lend-Lease program saved Britain. The impact of American forces themselves fighting was fairly limited, but the Second World War was a war of matériel, and boy, did America have that and more. Tanks, planes, jeeps. You name it...all helped increase British (and Soviet) fighting ability. Yes, the Soviets did the majority of the fighting, but Britain was on the ropes before the Nazis turned their attention to the Soviet Union...
    With respect i disagree good sir. The lend-lease program had a horrible habit of sending heavily-outdated equipment and most of the US equipment that arrived in the UK was for US consumption upon the opening of the 2nd front.

    The biggest pont you make that i disagree with is Britain being 'on the ropes' before the US suddenly entered the war. To me that's incorrect if you consider that the Royal Army was mostly intact, suffering about 40% equipment losses at Dunkirk. Whilst the RAF had just fought off a numerically (and some say technologically) superior force, whilst the Royal Navy continued to intimidate the German's so much that many of their naval ships never left port.

    For me the most important contribution to the war effort by Britain was maintaining the fight against Nazi-Germany, and although it may have been a 'phony-war' as some say, it was vital in allowing the US to move its superior troops and supplies into Europe as a staging ground. Whilst simply by being in the fight Hitler had to keep vast quantities of soldiers stationed in Western Europe just in case of invasion.

    Best regards to a fellow historian!
    -Francis
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    (Original post by Francis Urquhart)
    For me the most important contribution to the war effort by Britain was maintaining the fight against Nazi-Germany, and although it may have been a 'phony-war' as some say, it was vital in allowing the US to move its superior troops and supplies into Europe as a staging ground.
    Ahem. The 'phoney war' was the period between September 1939 and the invasion of France by Germany in May 1940. After that period and before the Americans came in from 1942 the British had plenty of fighting to get on with in North Africa, the Mediterranean and Asia.
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    (Original post by AlwaysWatching)
    3) would have still discovered atomic bombs (we gave our ideas to the USA for the Manhattan project), but invented it much later
    Can you clarify? It seems like you're downplaying by quite a lot Oppenheimer and Einstein. I cannot imagine that the UK would have beat Germany to the Atomic Bomb with neither of those two intellectual giants on the case.

    And without the US providing the Soviets with war materiels, it is doubtful they could have been as effective at fighting Germany.

    The US overplays its hand in saying they saved the UK in WWII, but it isn't without its basis in fact.
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    (Original post by Francis Urquhart)
    With respect i disagree good sir. The lend-lease program had a horrible habit of sending heavily-outdated equipment and most of the US equipment that arrived in the UK was for US consumption upon the opening of the 2nd front.

    -Francis
    I'd suggest that lend-lease was mainly to bolster the numbers and neutralise the advantage of Germany being able to draw upon resources connected by (now non existent) land borders versus the British Empire who had to transport any resources and technology several thousand miles over sea at the very least.

    It reminds me somewhat of the situation in Russia today whereby they claim to have a massive air force but the truth is that only about 500 strikecraft are of comparable quality to our own and the other 1000 are Soviet craft designed to bolster the numbers.
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    (Original post by ThatOldGuy)
    Can you clarify? It seems like you're downplaying by quite a lot Oppenheimer and Einstein. I cannot imagine that the UK would have beat Germany to the Atomic Bomb with neither of those two intellectual giants on the case.

    And without the US providing the Soviets with war materiels, it is doubtful they could have been as effective at fighting Germany.

    The US overplays its hand in saying they saved the UK in WWII, but it isn't without its basis in fact.
    Look above somewhere, one of the other posters has explained it.

    Yes the UK would have took much longer than the US to develop the bomb, but we would have done it eventually. The real question is whether we would get there before Germany - that's the debated issue which I am not qualified to speak on.

    (Original post by Observatory)
    I don't think that is true; the British bomb programme was considerably more advanced than the German bomb programme throughout the war. In part that is because the German programme was a joke, but the British programme led the world until early 1943.

    The British conceptualised both the uranium and plutonium bombs and the means of producing them correctly. The Germans thought a uranium bomb was impossible to deliver because they miscalculated the critical mass, developed only the least efficient of the three methods for separating U235 (which essentially made a uranium bomb impossible anyway; the effort wouldn't have been worth it), and blew up their only attempt to build a plutonium-producing reactor in an industrial accident.

    The Germans basically gave up on the bomb in January 1942. They officially dissolved the military bomb project and handed it over to basic research, which then blew up its own reactor in June 1942. Since the Germans also incorrectly thought that a reactor couldn't be graphite moderated (the first US, USSR, and UK reactors were all graphite moderated) they had to use heavy water and this explosion destroyed all the heavy water in Germany. Note that America had done almost nothing in the war with Germany at this point.

    The British meanwhile already had industrial production of gasseous diffusion machines which were the best way by far to separate U235 and would have led to a uranium bomb production capacity. Things could have gone wrong producing a plutonium bomb both in production of plutonium and design of the bomb but once ICI was producing gasseous diffusion machines there was really little doubt that Britain would have the capacity to drop Little Boy-type devices within a few years.

    Now without the Americans that "few years" might have been more like five or ten than three, and ultimately I think neither Britain nor Germany would have developed a working weapon before 1947 or 1948, but to say the Germans were leading in this respect is not correct.

    I think what the Americans say is correct but they saved us from the Soviets rather than the Germans.
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    (Original post by Fullofsurprises)
    We also shouldn't forget the effect that the US had in the Pacific war - for example, by defending Australia, relieving the UK of a considerable burden and by taking the leading part in fighting Japan. Assuming a Churchill government would have continued to want to try to defend the empire, it's not hard to picture half the British Army being bogged down in India for most of the war.
    I think it is completely implausible to imagine Japan at war with the UK but not the US.

    It is plausible to imagine the US being at war with Japan but not Germany, but if the US is not in the war at all then there is no Pacific War.
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    I think it is completely implausible to imagine Japan at war with the UK but not the US.

    It is plausible to imagine the US being at war with Japan but not Germany, but if the US is not in the war at all then there is no Pacific War.
    You think we'd have just surrendered in the Pacific to Japan? Bear in mind that that Pearl Harbour was only part of the wider assault.
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    (Original post by Rakas21)
    You think we'd have just surrendered in the Pacific to Japan? Bear in mind that that Pearl Harbour was only part of the wider assault.
    I don't see how the Empire could have done anything other than entrench in the Pacific without the USA. I don't believe Australia could have been successfully invaded, but after the fall of Singapore we'd have been stretched trying to defend it and India.
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    (Original post by Rakas21)
    You think we'd have just surrendered in the Pacific to Japan? Bear in mind that that Pearl Harbour was only part of the wider assault.
    No, I don't think Japan would have attacked just us.

    They attacked the Americans for two reasons: first, to maximise the damage they inflicted on the US Navy due to surprise, but second, because the US protectorate of the Philippines lay across their supply lines to the Dutch East Indies, Malaya, Borneo, Australia, etc.

    If Japan had attacked just Britain then they would have left themselves open to total disaster if America had chosen to enter the war later. America would also almost certainly have responded to the Japanese actions by heavily reinforcing the Philippines which would make taking it in the future impossible.

    I do not think that the Japanese campaigns to the south were viable if they left the Philippines in American hands.
 
 
 
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