Why are the British given so much credit for ending WW2?

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ap.ferro
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We were NEVER taught about how heavy a price the Soviet Union payed for defending Stalingrad. 20 million dead soviet soldiers. The Soviets undoubtedly ended WW2 because of their strength and tactics, not to mention they liberated most of the concentration camps. Yet we are given the impression that Churchill was all behind it all and Britain did all the hard work. The number of british soldiers killed in WW2 is miniscule compared to Russia. I'm not dismissing the efforts by the UK soldiers who gave their lives, but it seems like their is a heavy bias to not teach anything good that is done by another country like Russia. Had I not been interested in history myself , I may have never known how important the Soviets were in ending WW2.
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Drewski
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Without a base in Western Europe the allies would have never been able to invade mainland Europe making it a war on two fronts.

Without a base in Western Europe neither us nor the US would have been able to send aid to the Soviets via the Arctic.

Without the Battle of Britain and proving Europe was actually up for the fight and able to hold back the Nazis, the US may never have joined the European war at all.

No one side won it.
But all sides have justifiable claim to be an important cog in the machine. Without all components, it wouldn't have got the end result it did.
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gjd800
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We were taught about the Soviet contribution heavily when I did GCSE History 16-17 years ago.
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Claire461
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What about the Yanks?

Over-sexed, overpaid and over e’re.
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Tootles
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(Original post by ap.ferro)
We were NEVER taught about how heavy a price the Soviet Union payed for defending Stalingrad. 20 million dead soviet soldiers. The Soviets undoubtedly ended WW2 because of their strength and tactics, not to mention they liberated most of the concentration camps. Yet we are given the impression that Churchill was all behind it all and Britain did all the hard work. The number of british soldiers killed in WW2 is miniscule compared to Russia. I'm not dismissing the efforts by the UK soldiers who gave their lives, but it seems like their is a heavy bias to not teach anything good that is done by another country like Russia. Had I not been interested in history myself , I may have never known how important the Soviets were in ending WW2.
Probably it'd be because very shortly after the Soviets started posing massive worldwide threats themselves, that kind of negated any good will there might have been toward them from the Allies.
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DanB1991
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Mostly because the British we're the only superpower in it from the start to finish.

Also there's the false romanticising of British Standing alone against Germany and Italy... ignoring we were 'the' world superpower with the industry, raw goods and manpower of the entire British Empire and commonwealth. Also with the Royal Navy the Germans never had a real chance of invading Britain as they didn't have time to build their navy up (building navies take decades of planning), and arguably started the war about 10-15 years early, which they were very conscious about but felt their hands was being forced.

France falling was a big shock to everyone involved, including the Germans. When the Phoney war on the western front kicked off, the Germans knew if the British and French attacked they would be done for.... but for whatever reason the allies waited until after Poland fell!

Then also add the USA put their industrial might behind the allies from the start, only US public opinion stopped them entering the war. Hell in defence of Chamberlain, the UK public were heavily anti-war otherwise he probably would of stuck up to the Germans over Czechoslovakia.

Then add further romanticising of Churchill who became this post war hero, despite even during the war public opinion of him was rather negative until around about the d-day mark. Even after his famous "We shall fight on the beaches" was seen as a disaster at the time, at the time seen as damaging public morale rather than the post war revisionism that paints it in a positive light.

Even after Dunkirk Britain help most, if not all the advantages over Germany and the Axis Powers.

However the German invasion of the USSR, while technically possible, had an incredibly lucky start due to Soviet military restructuring (meaning many units were in the middle of rearmament). However once the USSR halted the German advance, victory was decided.

Even then after D-Day British contributions are often ignored, despite the British and Commonwealth forces having to deal with Caen and the brunt of the German counterattack, which ultimately decimated much of the German material and Armour. Even the Falaise pocket is seen as a American victory, despite the fact Canadian and Polish Commonwealth forces were the most important units in pretty much the entire battle!

Generally the Soviets Sacrificed the most, the American produced the most and the British fought the most (as in start to finish). All were arguably the most powerful countries in the world, Germany knew this and ultimately only truly wanted war with the USSR.
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ageshallnot
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Two new posts in the History section. Both provocative. I wonder what we have here, people?
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UnclePete
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(Original post by Drewski)
Without a base in Western Europe the allies would have never been able to invade mainland Europe making it a war on two fronts.

Without a base in Western Europe neither us nor the US would have been able to send aid to the Soviets via the Arctic.

Without the Battle of Britain and proving Europe was actually up for the fight and able to hold back the Nazis, the US may never have joined the European war at all.

No one side won it.
But all sides have justifiable claim to be an important cog in the machine. Without all components, it wouldn't have got the end result it did.
I throughly agree.
However, what is often overlooked is that The Battle of Britain was not just a parochial "Little England" saving the UK, and Europe, but virtually the whole of the free world, possibly including the USA: read `Amerika Bomber`( German spelling) in which the Nazis were designing a long range bomber which could reach the USA , and I stand to be corrected on this one, even before the USA entered the war.

The B of B was a very close run - had the Nazis changed tactics and not switched to bombing cities then the outcome could well have been very different. By then exhausted, but with a well organised command structure, interworked with a brilliant radar system that the Germans knew about but attached little importance to ( thankfully) ,with a tenacity and bravery beyond belief of the heavily outnumbered RAF pilots from the UK, Commonwealth, (then Empire) S. Africa, Poland, Czech, Free French and some Americans ( Eagle Squadron) - and supporting ground crews- we won through. And just as well for us they did.

The hard fact is the German Air Force (Luftwaffe), over confident with easy victories from the Spanish Civil War to the sweep- Blitzkrieg - across the Low Countries, except for resistance by the outdated and out numbered Polish AF in 1939, the RAF above Dunkirk, " A miracle of delivery" as Churchill put it, came up against opposition far tougher than they expected.

Drewski is right : this gave us and the Allies the bedrock to carry on. As my Father said once " I think we all did our whack."

Incidentally, although the Spitfire seems to get most of the kudos, without doubt a legendary and brilliant piece of kit, it was the Hurricane which was relatively dated even then- being an advancement on the Hawker Fury bi-plane- that was the mainstay during the B of B, having been produced in greater numbers being more developed and production ready than the Spitfire during the re-arnament programme just before the war. A brilliant read on this is the journalist Leon McInstry`s book `Hurricane`. If I remember right from his book, the Hurricane made up 63% of Fighter Command`s strength, and accounted for 61% of Luftwaffe ( German air force) losses.

Chamberlain was not stupid with his piece of paper `peace in our time` in 1938 - he was buying time to equip for what everybody knew what was coming but still himself hoped against hope it would not.

What is also overlooked is that Britain, still numb from the horrors of WW1 was virtually pacifist before the war- when Churchill rightly cried out from the wilderness about the Nazi (and Communist) threat he was looked upon as a blundering, imperialistic, bladdered-half-the-time war monger. His disastrous Dardenelles campaign in WW1, his bombing of the Iraqi Kurds by the RAF shortly afterwards, his mis-handling of the economy and Gold Standard at much the same time , his rough handling of the Welsh miners at Tonypandy in Wales by sending in troops to quell demonstrations justly about working conditions and being reduced to near starvation wages, did not exactly adhere him to all.

Thankfully he ended up in the right place at the right time.

I see on these posts the Arctic Convoys are mentioned- " The worst journey in the world" as Churchill said then. My Father`s brother went through these on naval escort without a scratch and some near misses only to be killed in a training exercise just after the end of the war in Europe.
Last edited by UnclePete; 1 year ago
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