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ImNrNanoGiga

I'm gonna focus on WW2. One of the big reasons Germany did well at first was, that it had a very capable, mobile force that could outpace it's enemies. Look at the French campaign and watch the Panzers (German tanks) running circles around the French army, regularly attacking rear units, which is an easier fight for an armored spearhed of strong units, all with some form of motorized transport, but hurts the 'sharper', more combat capable of the enemy units w/o having to engage them. The frontline commanders were somewhat more independent ('Auftragstaktik'), exploiting advantages as they occured (think of Rommel, this is where his legend was born). Another factor is combined arms warfare, which the Wehrmacht (German armed forces) might not have done perfectly, but still in a 'better', more innovative way then others. Combined arms is the employment of many different kinds of arms in concert. You have an integral (i.e. they belong/train/engage together) set of units, some of it tanks, some infantry, artillery, some planes also attached to them. This way they're always together and can combine their strengths in one focused movement. The Soviet Union was hit at a particularly vulnerable time, because they had been restructuring their forces after their lackluster performance during the Winter War. One big factor is that Germany was a militarist dictatorship while many of its victims weren't (well the Soviet Union kinda was, but again, pants down) and had been getting ready for war, while the others basically were forced to react. Once the allies were able to spin up their recruitment and training and especially manufacturing, it was pretty much over for the Wehrmacht.


Voxmanns

>Once the allies were able to spin up their recruitment and training and especially manufacturing, it was pretty much over for the Wehrmacht. Not to oversimplify the end of the war but I am guessing this is what ultimately caused the end to be so abrupt. I remember after Normandy it was just like...done. I mean it lasted another year almost but it had always shocked me that, while Normandy was a big win, it only took a year for the allies to win the war.


ImNrNanoGiga

Well, you should also look at what was going on in the East, because that was where the Wehrmacht was really broken. But the opening of a second front really made it from a war of attrition in reverse gear to an almost collapse. I'm the opposite, always found it surprising that the Wehrmacht could still hold on for so long, when they really had no business to do so. But there morale plays a big role. These people were pretty radicalized and knew what they had done, so they were very afraid of the reckoning to come I think. (It never really did, but that's another story)


Head-Ad4690

I’ve been watching TimeGhost’s WWII series. They do weekly “real time” segments about the corresponding time in the war. They’re currently in September 1943. The Germans are *so* fucked at this point. They’ve had their ass handed to them by the Soviets for two years straight now. This year’s attempt at a summer offensive was shattered in a week and now the Red Army just keeps coming and getting stronger every day while the Germans get weaker. They’ve completely lost North Africa. The British and Americans took Sicily in like five minutes. Italy surrendered and the Germans basically had to do a lightning conquest of the country, at a time when they absolutely can’t afford it. If I didn’t know better, I’d think the whole thing will collapse by springtime. But of course we know they manage to stick it out another year and a half.


ImNrNanoGiga

I also watch it ofc :) In fact this is where I got most of my info. But yes, seeing it like this actually puts things in perspective, hindsight really ISN'T 20/20 in some regards.


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scottyromanround

The greatest scientific minds in the world were all mostly German at that time weren't they? Some Nobel winners and such


ShalmaneserIII

> so they were very afraid of the reckoning to come I think. (It never really did, but that's another story) What we did to Germany post WWII produced a country that's industrialized, advanced, democratic, and almost fantastically *anti*-Nazi. What would you suggest would have worked better?


Abyssalmole

I suspect that quote refers to success powerful individuals had in relocating to South America rather than facing punishment. I would also count the restructuring of Germany as a success, but that is post cold war, and may not have sufficiently acted as a deterrent for this new generation.


TheRichTurner

Also, the assimilation of millions of former DDR citizens may have had some effect, as these people were not as effectively liberalised under Soviet rule.


Leemour

>What we did to Germany post WWII produced a country that's industrialized, advanced, democratic, and almost fantastically anti-Nazi. Well, one half of it to be exact.


BigLan2

I mean we got there 50 years later after the Iron Curtain fell, but I'm glad I wasn't living in Eastern Germany during that time.


Leemour

IDK dude, [AfD is pretty popular in the eastern part](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2021_German_federal_election#/media/File:German_Federal_Election_2021_-_Results_by_Constituency_&_Regional_Seats.svg)...


othelloblack

if only we could make modern USA anti Nazi...


ShalmaneserIII

It is. You just have a low threshold for what a lot of nazi supporters is. At least as of 2017, it's [under ten percent.](https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-neo-nazi-support-american-public-charlottesville-white-supremacists-kkk-far-right-poll-a7907091.html?amp)


othelloblack

MAGA rally says "Hello."


ShalmaneserIII

[Keep it in perspective](https://www.publicpolicypolling.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/PPP_Release_National_ConspiracyTheories_040213.pdf). So nine percent support Nazis. That's about the same number who think the government adds fluoride to the water for nefarious purposes. Do you spend your time worrying about the onset of tooth decay because of fluoridation opponents? Probably not- it's a niche view.


BlackWhispers

I think that poll as well as your framing are both misleading though. You framed it as 9% support neo nazis when the question was "do you think alt right and neo nazi beliefs are acceptable" 3% strongly agreed 5% somewhat agreed. Finding something to be acceptable is not the same as supporting it. And the poll question could be considered vague. How are they defining acceptable? A free speech absolutist could interpret neo nazi beliefs as detestable but still belive that they have the right to espouse their awful views, like the ACLU did in National socialist party of America v. Skokie. Was it acceptable when Westboro Baptist protested military funerals? Acceptable as in they should be allowed to do it? Acceptable as in it should be tolerated? Acceptable as in you agree with them? If you think it wasn't acceptable, how so? It's awful and they shouldn't do it? They shouldn't be allowed to do it? They should be arrested? They should be beaten to death? I think 9% of the country supporting nazis is overinflated. I can't imagine there are more nazis in the US today. Than there were in Germany when hitler was elected chancellor


ShalmaneserIII

Even better- the poster I was replying to wished we could make the modern US more anti-Nazi. Nine percent is the most generously high number- if the actual *support* is lower then his assertion is even weaker.


Superspank172

That's people who are willingly to openly declare they are nazis.


police-ical

On both fronts it largely turned into a war of logistics, where the Allies had assembled massive forces and found that supplying and fueling tens of millions of men and tens of thousands of tanks was a pretty tall order. In the West it was basically "a couple weeks to break out of Normandy, a couple weeks to thrash Germany across most of France, then months and months of trying to get ports and railroads in good enough shape to keep going."


poodle-party

General Winter ruled the East


Moontoya

Dick was only a Major at Bastogne


I_lenny_face_you

They ARE a cold one


phiwong

Historians will debate this forever but one narrative is that the turning point came as early as mid 1941 when Hitler decided to open a front against Russia. The narrative being that had Hitler consolidated his gains on the mainland and held on to his agreement with Russia, even with a bit of diplomacy, the allies would not have pursued the war. Russia was so backwards (industrially at the time) that they probably couldn't attack and GB was barely surviving but without the US (who hadn't yet committed to war), neither GB nor Russia could have stopped Germany from consolidating their gains. Japan too would have swept through and consolidated China and nearly all of the Indo Pacific had they not executed Pearl Harbor. The US public opinion was seriously divided prior to Pearl Harbor and there was a fairly strong isolationist/neutral leaning.


GIRose

There was absolutely never a question of if the Molotov Ribbentrop pact would be broken, merely when and by whom. Hitler's actions make a lot more sense in that context, since he wasn't betraying an ally, he was making a pre-emptive strike against an enemy that agreed to wait because neither of them were in fighting shape, and Germany finished its prep work first so it didn't need more time and waiting would have given the Soviets time to catch up.


NurRauch

It actually wasn't some grand strategy to get the surprise on Russia before it was too late. Hitler expressed *zero* interest in attacking the USSR prior to winter 1940/41. He did a sudden about-face after Germany's lackluster attritional bombing campaign against Britain. All that rhetoric we remember from grade school about Lebensraum? That was published in his book and other writings in the 1920s but he never emphasized it again until spring 1941. The leading historical theory for why Hitler attacked the USSR is because he thought it would *easy*. He wanted a morale-boosting campaign that could justify further mobilization, acquire more resources to make Germany's economy more independent, and ultimately to persuade the Allies to come to the table for a ceasefire. Until the invasion of the USSR actually happened, Hitler's eye was always aimed at Britain, which he perceived the entire time up until then to be his most dangerous opponent of the war. Hitler's high command general staff bear a lot of fault for it too, of course. General Halder, the chief of staff, disagreed with Hitler's choice to invade the USSR, as did most of the rest of his generals, but by winter 1941 they were terrified of speaking out against any of Hitler's proposals. Hitler was increasingly paranoid and dismissive of any generals who didn't voice unmitigated optimism. After Germany unexpectedly won their tank push against the Allies to Dunkirk, Hitler stopped listening to anyone who questioned their faith in the German armed forces to pull off miracles. As a consequence, almost everyone in the high command structure learned to only voice support for Hitler's ideas. Germany actually simulated an invasion against the USSR over the winter of 1941, and the results were disastrous. General Paulus (of 6th Army surrender at Stalingrad fame) led the simulations, and he wrote a highly critical report that said, in sum, that Germany would fail. He predicted that Germany would out-stretch its supply lines within only a few hundred kilometers of the starting lines, and that they would fail to make it beyond 2,000 km deep of penetration within 6 months. He said he believed that Germany would need to make it 3,000 km deep within 3-6 months in order to reliably bring about an economic collapse of the USSR. He predicted taking Moscow would be insufficient because much of the Soviet industry would be deeper east, towards the Urals, and he predicted that if the Soviet leadership failed to initiate a coup against Stalin within the first 6 months, Germany would lose the war. General Halder received these reports and buried them. Hitler never saw them. Hitler also never saw the reports about Germany's dire rubber shortage. They only had enough rubber to outfit the tires on half of their current stock of trucks, and their current stock of trucks was only about at 50% outfitting required to logistically feed Germany's planned offensive. They were at less than 50% tank and truck outfitting on motorized and armored divisions, and they had fewer operable combat aircraft in 1941 than they did in 1940 when they started the Battle of Britain. Meanwhile, the Soviet Union was stocked with more than 20,000 tanks, more than 4x as many as Germany had available for Barbarossa. One of the most fascinating Hitler talks in existence is a fireside chat of a conversation he had with Finnish commander Mannerheim, in winter 1942, one year into the war against the USSR. Hitler laments, candidly, that he had no idea Russia's industry was so beastly and that they had so many tanks. He confesses he never would have authorized the war against Russia had he known this information. Worst of all, German economy experts crunched the data they had and determined that Germany's economy would actually be *more strained* rather than benefitted from an invasion of the USSR. Germany was assessed to be unable to make use of the Russian oil and rare metals they needed from the USSR in any kind of efficient or useful timeline necessary to bear those resources against Britain in their campaign against the Allies. Plus, it would take an estimated 2 million Axis troops just to occupy the Soviet territory they planed to annex, purge and liquidate. Even if Germany had *won* its war against the USSR, they still would have been placed in a *worse* position than they already were against the Allies. German leadership was completely insane for declaring war on Russia. It gained them literally nothing and it cost them everything. Source: David Stahel's [Operation Barbarossa and Germany's Defeat in the East](https://www.amazon.com/Operation-Barbarossa-Germanys-Cambridge-Histories/dp/052117015X), the preeminent, comprehensive historical review of Germany's decision to invade the USSR and an assessment of its strategic capabilities. If a book's too long, you can watch an hour presentation he does for a university [here](https://youtu.be/KxsdfcgfSS8?t=1441).


ass_hat_mcgee

How ironic... it was meant to just be an easy campaign that turned into the biggest and deadliest campaign of the entire war. I was always under the impression that Hitler's objective would always be the East (per your Lebensraum comment). Was that idea ditched or just used as a political tool to rally people to his cause in the 1920s?


NurRauch

I mean he believed it. It was part and parcel of their extermination campaign. And man, did that only help guarantee failure, since now the *entire* local population in every large city, small town, and farm area in-between is going to pick up a rifle when you're not looking to defend their very lives against you... instead of, you know, helping you to overthrow the brutal dictator in red who just starved out, deported, or massacred their same village 10 years ago. The anti-slavic racism was also a big reason Hitler thought it would be so easy. Like the Japanese superiority argument against China, Hitler assumed that Russia's ethnically slavic population would guarantee that they couldn't outsmart, out-engineer or out-fight his troops. After they got their asses kicked, the Germans leveraged the slavic inferiority myth to fuel another one, the "vast soviet hordes of human waves." Hilariously, the USSR did not actually even outnumber the Axis on the eastern front until late 1942 / winter 1943. For about 18 straight months, including both Barbarossa in summer 1941 and Fall Blau / Stalingrad in summer 1942, the Axis actually outnumbered the Soviets on the front. But when the Soviets' mobilized reserves finally fleshed out their lines, the Germans pretty much collapsed, because they'd been fighting on fumes in these poorly supplied, poorly repaired, poorly fueled units for so damn long. It's really ironic how Hitler's racism caused him to admire and fear the British but dismiss the Soviet Union. He once remarked, in an attempt to rationalize their defeats during the failures of the Battle of Britain, that the English are Germany's Saxon-Aryan cousins across the channel. That apparently was supposed to justify why they weren't doing so hot against the British, and why it wasn't so important anyway to knock them out, since they're technically good guys like us anyway. Even in defeat against Britain, this racism caused him to stumble into a cataclysmic show-down with the Soviet Union. He literally thought the USSR would be a means to shock the Allies into a ceasefire.


Sammy_Dog

Informative post, thank you.


CR0ZYPENGU1N

Public opinion may have been divided yes, but the White House and leadership were preparing for the inevitable conflict. They just had to time it correctly, and Pearl Harbor took the guessing out of the game.


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Deadmist

Peace was never an option. In Europe, the Nazis and the USSR a) were ideological arch-enemies, the capitalist-communist animosity during the cold war was nothing compared to the fascist-communist hatred b) both had plans for Eastern Europe that didn't involve sharing it with another major power In the Pacific Japan and the US would also have come to blows eventually, as the US claimed/protected a bunch of islands Japan needed to secure their strategic resources. Also, while public opinion was divided, the US was already helping the UK through lend-lease. The US government was strongly in favor of intervening and just trying to find a way to sell it to the public. Both Germany and Japan had the option of striking now, while their respective enemies where ill-prepared, or waiting and risking them getting much stronger.


codetony

Ultimately, Hitler's downfall was his success. The early nazi triumphs gave legitimacy to Hitler's master race. Instead of seeing that these early victories were because the enemy wasn't prepared, he saw it as the inevitable triumph of his chosen people. It taught him that if the Germans attempted something, they would win. No matter how stacked the odds were against them.


ImNrNanoGiga

That. One tends to forget how batshit crazy Hitler was. I mean yea he was a violent hater, everybody knows that, but even on top of that. I've been trying to translate a word, "Sendungsbewusstsein", translator says "sense of mission", the unshakeable belief that you are doing exactly what you were on this planet to do. He encapsulated that word to an extreme degree.


New-Teaching2964

Reminds me of the saying “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.”


scottyromanround

This happens at any scale


ClownfishSoup

I think Hitler's ego made him think he knew everything about warfare, so even though he had trained and educated Generals, he wanted things done his way. Also similar to Putin in Ukraine, top officers were afraid of Hitler so they never gave him bad news so he thought everything he did was awesome.


DaveyBoyXXZ

I don't know whether the USSR would ever have launched a war with Germany, had Hitler not started one. But I do think it's inevitable that the US would have joined eventually. Germany needed to try to impose a naval blockade of Britain in order to try and force a surrender, so from pretty early on it was in the business of sinking US shipping. There's only so long the US public would have put up with that, even if Pearl Harbour had never taken place.


crossedstaves

> The US public opinion was seriously divided prior to Pearl Harbor and there was a fairly strong isolationist/neutral leaning. Though, worth remembering that the US was indeed gearing up to war prior to Pearl Harbor, and rather in-name-only neutrality by the end. A peacetime draft, massive increases in defense spending and expansion of the US Navy, giving warships to the UK in exchange for military bases, the pan-american security zone with the US Navy escorting convoys to Europe which certainly favored the British needs, the US taking over the security of Iceland from the the UK to keep it away from Germany and the beginning of the Lend-Lease program prior to Pearl Harbor.


WeDriftEternal

Adding on more. By late 1940, there was still debate, but polls showed pretty sizeable opinion that the US should join in Europe in battle vs. Germany. But we should also step back to understand in a grander scheme this may not have been relevant. The US was entering the war vs Japan and Germany at some point in the near future. Pearl Harbor of course, stopped any other considerations. Everyone involved in the war on all sides understood at some point soon, they US would join the allies in full, and this was in fact driving a lot of Axis strategy at the time.


_Weyland_

My (Russian) school history teacher teacher on the unavoidable question of why Stalin didn't do anything in anticipation despite it being obvious that the war was coming: "Stalin expected Hitler to be smart and not commit to a second front before he was done with Britain. But Hitler was not that smart, which earned him a surprise factor."


New-Teaching2964

WILD CARD!!!


englisi_baladid

Japan was not going to sweep thru China. They were pretty much stagnate and had been for a while before Pearl Harbor.


ClownfishSoup

The best thing to happen to China was the bombing of Pearl Harbor. China's disorganized, poorly armed and split army (The Communists and Republican KMT were basically having a civil war while the Japanese attacked China, so each side waited for the other to expend troops fighting the Japanese) was fucked and the Japanese was running over all the Asia countries. Then they fucked up and attacked the US, expecting the US to say "Ha ha, OK, OK, you busted up our battleships and we get it... YOU own the Pacific" instead of "Oh, you're dead now Japan, you fucked with the wrong guy". Thus relieving China from all the attention Japan was putting into it.


phenompbg

Japan intended to sink the US carrier fleet in Pearl harbour and it was merely luck that they only found battleships. It's really difficult to predict what would have happened had the attack on Pearl Harbour been a success, but the Japanese at very least believed that a severe enough blow would allow them to negotiate from a position of strength. Also remember that everyone vastly underestimated American industrial capacity, and were laughing off reports that were underestimates as fantastical. Japan didn't have many better choices other than attack the US if they wanted to hold onto their gains in Asia, as the US had cut off their oil supply.


dciskey

Well, they were expecting aircraft carriers to be at Pearl as well. Sinking *Enterprise* and *Lexington* would’ve changed things for the first year or two of the war, though eventually American production of carriers would win out regardless.


SlickMcFav0rit3

You're right, but Japan also didn't really have a choice once the US initiated an oil embargo. Japan's navy had less than 6 months of oil on hand and weeks have lost most/all of their gains on the Asian mainland. The hope was that the US Pacific fleet would get crippled and then the US and forge an uneasy peace with Japan where they got to keep their gains.


Horsieman

the same time as normandy happened, Russia crushed the Germans army group center in operation bagration. Germany had lost the war way before that though, they were only delaying the inevitable.


rinikulous

>Not to oversimplify… Don’t worry friend, I got you: [WW1 - Oversimplified (Part 1)](https://youtu.be/dHSQAEam2yc) [WW1 - Oversimplified (Part 2)](https://youtu.be/Mun1dKkc_As) [WW2 - Oversimplified (Part 1)](https://youtu.be/_uk_6vfqwTA) [WW2 - Oversimplified (Part 2)](https://youtu.be/fo2Rb9h788s)


Voxmanns

Yo these videos are great.


rinikulous

Glad to share something new with you! Oversimplified is one of those YT treasures that I always assume everyone knows about. The Emu Wars is one of my favorites.


Voxmanns

I'll check it out! I'll be honest history is not my favorite subject. Something about 5 years of the industrial revolution in school I think wore me out lol. But this guy does a great job presenting it in an entertaining way.


5eret

That's because the war was already won long before the first boot hit the sand in Normandy. It has been won the previous year at Kursk, or even in the year before that in Stalingrad and the south. The Germans had been in full retreat on all fronts for a whole year before D-Day. By mid-1944 the mismatch between the Axis and Allies was extreme. Our side could basically do whatever we wanted and the best the Germans could manage was just to delay us. Look up "Operation Bagration" if you want to see a great example of how completely dominant Allied forces had become by the summer of '44.


bender_futurama

Normandy wasn't even necessary. At their pace, the Soviets would be there pretty soon. It was mostly open because of land grab and scientists.


Summersong2262

The USSR was being bled white by the Nazis. Another 50 to 100 divisions sent to the East would have been catastrophic.


bender_futurama

In some way, you are right. But that was in the beginning, 1941 to 1942, in that time Stalin was begging for the opening of the western front. After that, the Soviets didn't need anyone. The campaign would last 6-12 months longer if even that. They were flattening Germany town by town. I know that D-day and Normandy are portrayed as something crucial for the war in the West, but the reality is that at that time, it didn't make any difference. Germany already lost at that point. It was only for land grab and influence. You would have Soviets at beaches of Normandy pretty soon.


Summersong2262

You're grossly overstating the Soviet position and apparently ignoring what the Allies did prior to that. When the front generals are begging Stalin to let them take new recruits from out of the weapon shops, you know they needed every advantage they had. And like I said. You're not appreciating just how many assets the Western Allies were occupying one way or another. If America and Britain had disappeared in late 42 the Soviets would have been in a very bad position. You're responding to 1980s mythology with, at best, contrary revisionism. Both miss the mark.


bender_futurama

So you are saying that if there wasn't for Normandy, the Germans would have won the war? Okay, so who was defending Germany proper and Berlin? Because you are mentioning some Soviet workshop workers.


Summersong2262

Excising Normandy is an exercise in counterfactuals and 'if not, then what'. It's unhelpful. Because it begs the question of 'what were they doing RATHER than Normandy', and 'what sort of war plan wouldn't have included it'. And defending Germans and Berlin was mostly until very late in the war, the Luftwaffe. Who were heamoraging fuel, ammunition, airframes, and manpower vastly in excess of anything lost in the skies of the East. How would the East have gone if they could have tripled their airpower and had millions of artillery rounds and over a million soldiers, and tens of thousands of guns freed up? A good deal worse, I would think. The war was not an easy one for the USSR. At no stage was it gentle, at no stage was it anything but horrendously bloody.


bender_futurama

Germans used millions of soldiers, etc, etc during D day?


Summersong2262

No, during the air campaign. You asked about the defense of Berlin. It wasn't the Soviets attacking it for most of the war.


chronoboy1985

Gotta remember how enormous the scale of US military production was by 1944. Once Germany’s industries started to slow down and resources dried up, it was only a matter of time.


bridgehockey

Once the US entered. It would have been very hard for Hitler to take the UK, but perhaps feasible. But once the US entered, as Churchill said in his memoirs, it was over. Too much manufacturing capability and not enough U-boats to stop it from getting to Europe. It might take time, but the bombing of pearl harbour was the beginning of the end.


aheny

A better way of looking at Normandy is this: the Eastern front had destroyed 95% of German's military power, once the war was essentially over the Allies were able to land in Normandy and mop up.


russiangoat15

Good answer. I've heard before that winning generals are always fighting the last war, while the losing side focuses on improving. I think the French and British were stuck in WWI mentality at the beginning of WWII, where they expected a long attrition type war. When the Germans sped through, there was a lot of panicking. I'd say the early German gains were due to mobility and their use of combined arms, as you note, but also confidence. The Germans were very confident, and the allies lacked confidence.


Thaddeauz

Interestingly enough, the German were not at all alone in their modern tactics of combined warfare, aviation support and tank concentration. Mikhail Tukhachevsky was a big proponent of this in the Soviet Union, but he was executed and the Soviet was right in the middle of a reorganization toward that kind of warfare when the German launched their attack. The British also created a massive war game where a combined arms mechanized unit with RAF liaison was facing a standard infantry formation. Their exercise was in the 20s, the first of the kind and a lot of international observers would attend including the German. What came out from that exercise was extremely close to what would eventually be successful during WW2 (organization, the type of leader, doctrine, etc) People of the time were very aware of mechanized combined arms concentration with aviation support, but Germany was the first one to make this idea into reality on the field. The Soviet just got out of a civil war and were starting to industrialized, the British were out of money, the American were still isolationist so the army was not their main focus, while the French had to protect their industry (80% were within 100km of the German border) so they decided that they should have a strong defensive line built to keep the German at bay long enough to go through their massive mobilization plan.


russiangoat15

Fair enough. Was trying to simplify, and necessarily have to omit some factors. I believe Zhukov successfully used "blitzkreig" in Manchuria a few months before the German invasion of Poland, which served to keep the Japanese fairly docile on the soviet front. The soviets executing a bunch of their own generals did not help them...


ImNrNanoGiga

I agree. Germany's supposed technological superiority is mostly a myth, but the German army was actually pretty innovative strategy-wise. Yup confidence and Germans had something to prove. Very salty about losing WW1 in the first place (cp. Dolchstoßlegende, stab-in-the-back myth). A highly motivated force is always one to be reckoned with.


russiangoat15

I remember always believing that German tanks were superior from the beginning of WWII. Turns out they were actually pretty lousy, they just used them very well. Apparently the big advances in German armour came directly from seeing the T34 and KV1 soviet tanks (at which point the war was already lost).


ImNrNanoGiga

Well it was a race to build the next best tank. Late war German tanks tended to have some potential IF you could get them to the battlefield. But then the things always broke and it took a lot of time/money/manpower to have them working. But of course the enemy receiving a 88 shell to their tank doesn't care about that. But in reality they were over-engineered hard to maintain gold-plated solutions, that often didn't do what they were supposed to. Though of course if you're a Sherman crew getting into an ambush against a well concealed Tiger, it's still a total nightmare...


russiangoat15

Yeah, just as a kid I always heard how OP German tanks were; I didn't realize it was only late war German tanks. Like a bunch of wunderwaffe the Germans definitely went overkill on tank design and didn't have the oil or logistics to make them effective as a fighting force. The Maus was actually built at 188 tons and at one point the Landkreuzer was pitched, which was basically a land battleship, that made no sense at all at 1000 tons.


ImNrNanoGiga

Actual footage of that happening: https://youtu.be/mxgHK5trW0w


russiangoat15

Haha nice. I was expecting a rickroll...


Roccet_MS

A professor made an analogy comparing Germany's WW1 and WW2 armies: WW1 was the natural, all around athlete, whose body has been honed by years and years of rigorous training of the body and the mind. WW2 was a bodybuilder on all kind of drugs. Huge, intimidating and extremely strong, but after time the drug consumption will take it's toll on the body.


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ImNrNanoGiga

This comment is honestly a mixed bag...some truth about it, especially Germany feeling left out of what they felt they were owed, the allies also doing some quite unsavoury stuff before and during. But the conclusion of some sort of equivalency is, respectfully, utter shite. I'm German, I've been to a (former) camp and saw a pile of used shoes as tall as a man. Characterizing WW2 as good v. evil is a little silly, but it was slightly unsavoury against pretty much pure evil.


ShittyMcFuck

Yeah those are some interesting conclusions... Also Germany in particular absolutely had colonies as well in Africa and Oceania that were ceded after WWI. The same goes for Italy with its colonies in Libya and Ethiopia.


Aporkalypse_Sow

>ceded after WWI. Yeah, during the treaty of Versailles. They were stripped of what they had while the other side kept theirs and flourished. And do tell, what "conclusions" specifically? I didn't lie or levy an opinion. I just laid out the facts. And you appear to be accusing me of saying that the holocaust wasn't bad, which I absolutely did not. The holocaust was a secondary reason for the war, the politics around the war was purely about the control of the countries that were being exploited. Almost every genocide in history is about money, the hatred is normally used as an excuse, because it's the easiest way for assholes to take power.


Aporkalypse_Sow

So you're saying that what the British did in India was good? What the United States did to South America was good? No, sorry. I in no way equated genocide to what they did. But you'll find just as many humans who hated the allies and their colonizing as you will people mad about the holocaust. But if you want to act like the world is only good versus only evil, that's on you. Slightly unsavory is a pathetic attempt to deflect genocide committed by the allies. The only difference is that the colonizers had hundreds of years to setup the system they used. The British were actively terrorizing India long before and after WW2. But go ahead and call it unsavory.


othelloblack

Russia says "hello."


TheGunshipLollipop

>And if they hadn't been facing the global empires it may have worked. You have to wonder how it would have turned out if they'd simply stopped invading before attacking Poland.


[deleted]

[удалено]


sterexx

> confident Though I recall they were kinda surprised at just how well the Battle of France went


runtothehillsboy

Well, as far as “confidence” goes, German soldiers were taking meth daily. Back then, meth was seen as a drug that made super soldiers. They could stay awake for days and feel invincible.


MisterMarcus

>Good answer. I've heard before that winning generals are always fighting the last war, while the losing side focuses on improving. I saw a comment on here once to the effect of "The Maginot Line was the perfect defensive strategy to fight World War 1.5".


thefifeman

Confident, cocaine, same difference.


russiangoat15

I thought it was primarily meth. But yeah, that helps, I guess!


pradeep23

> Look at the French campaign and watch the Panzers running circles around the French army, I don't think French army lacked capable tanks. But strategy wise, they made a lot of blunders.


ImNrNanoGiga

Yes, as mentioned in other comments, French tanks were even superior in some regards (while inferior in others). That's what I meant, the Wehrmacht being more dynamic, reacting more quickly by leading from the front.


MedusasSexyLegHair

If you look solely at their armor and armament in an imaginary 1vs1 duel against a German tank, you might think they would be capable. But in practice, the German army massed mechanized forces and deployed them with good coordination and communications. Meanwhile the French scattered their tanks amongst the infantry to serve as support guns, with little to no command, control, or communications and no coordination. German commanders were leading and coordinating their fighting forces. Meanwhile French commanders couldn't - they were expected to both be inside loading and operating the guns ~~while also standing up in the turret giving hand signals or signal flags~~ [Edit: I misremembered - it was even worse - they *couldn't* even stand up and give hand signals because they didn't have a hatch! They would have to climb out of the tank to do so.], because few tanks (1/5) had radios and they didn't yet have the doctrine to use them effectively, and also presumably squeezing in a bit of commanding into spare moments somehow. Which meant that the French tankers often didn't know what was going on or if they did they couldn't effectively respond to it. They *were* effective at the individual tank vs tank level, when they got a rare chance to be. But everything else about them was so bad that they rarely got that chance. It didn't really help that high command sent them driving back and forth from one end of the front to the other and back again, so most of them were broken down by the time the fight came to them. But that was not at all unique to the French tanks. The Germans were also suffering a lot of breakdowns.


lolgobbz

ELI5: Can-do attitude and positivity. /S


BartholomewBandy

Don’t forget the meth. Running circles is easy when you don’t sleep for a week.


crossedstaves

> Once the allies were able to spin up their recruitment and training and especially manufacturing, it was pretty much over for the Wehrmacht. I remember hearing a story, I don't remember where and cannot vouch for its accuracy, that a group German POWs in America saw the Americans make a soccer field by drawing the lines on the ground with a bag of flour and basically that's when they realized the war was effectively lost. Again, that may be entirely apocryphal but it's a good story.


ImNrNanoGiga

I've heard that one with a tank just standing somewhere, engine running in Africa. The crew just close by preparing food or some such. Just sounds about right, both just feel true and they definitely fit what was really happening.


Moontoya

British tank, external water boiler They got out to brew up tea as per doctrine (no, not kidding, the Brits take tea that seriously) and got slaughtered From that point on the water boiler for tea is mounted inside the tank https://www.warhistoryonline.com/world-war-ii/tiger-tanks-tea-the-british-cup.html


chronoboy1985

One important thing to note was just how vital pervitin (methamphetamine) was to the Germany’s speedy onslaught. When your soldiers don’t have to sleep for 3 days, it makes a world of difference.


dbwou

> One of the big reasons Germany did well at first was, that it had a very capable, mobile force that could outpace it's enemies. Look at the French campaign and watch the Panzers running circles around the French army, regularly attacking rear units, which is an easier fight for an armored spearhed, but hurts the 'sharper' of the enemy units w/o having to engage them. I think it's important to bear the political dimension in mind. Germany's early victories were huge setbacks for France, but it's plausible that if they had continued fighting and adapted their strategy they could have stemmed the tide. But French society was divided over the war - the incumbent government was controversial, and there was a degree of sympathy for the Nazis. Many people wondered why exactly they were fighting for a government they didn't like against a government they didn't really have a problem with. There was a pretty widespread belief that if they quicly came to terms with Germany they would be given a generous peace settlement, and some hoped that they could take advantage of the situation, using the defeat to force the government out of power and take over. By the time it was clear that Hitler wanted to essentially annex France, it was too late to change course.


Dwayne_dibbly

You say once we had spun up the training recruitment and manufacturing it was pretty much over.... Have to disagree. We got a massive helping hand when Hitler invaded Russia and split his forces we got another when he decided not to invade England we all know if he had done when he was ready he would have gotten a foothold and overpowered us. The Americans joining also helped massively we would not have won without them. But we won more because Hitler was a bellend rather than our awesomeness.


ImNrNanoGiga

I'm sorry but we don't all know that. Nazi Germany was never very capable on the sea and the Royal Navy basically forced the Kriegsmarine into port. Also Hitler didn't decide to not invade Britain, he was discouraged by his staff because what they considered necessary preconditions couldn't be achieved. Your argument seems to focus very much on Britains role, which I consider pretty minimal anyways (except in North Africa). However what you did do is resist the bombing campaign, which I think is pretty awesome. If you cannot take pride in that, I'm sorry, but the Wehrmacht definitely gave it their best and failed to throw Britain down.


Dwayne_dibbly

I think you might want to look a little more indepth.


seriear

While this might be a good answer, I don't think a five year old would understand many of terms or know the concepts referenced. I certainly don't understand it all.


ImNrNanoGiga

Well you're certainly right about that! Military stuff is very jargon-heavy so I sincerely doubt it could really be explained to an actual five year old. But if there are specifc things you can to point at, I will try to improve my answer and make it more accessible.


seriear

Thanks! I havent studied much military history, despite studying history at school until I was 17. I didn't know these terms/names: Panzers, armoured spearhead, sharper enemy units, combined arms warfare, Wehrmacht.


ImNrNanoGiga

Thanks, that's very helpful, I will work on clarifying these terms. It's an area of (amateurish) interest of mine and I certainly didn't even question these terms anymore.


Bennito_bh

Read the sidebar/rules for this sub


throwawaycgoncalves

Maybe the allies (or what would be "the allies") where not ready for the war, and when we see the Germans doing ok were actually other countries being surprised, but there is always a limit on how surprising a country can be when displacing huge armies. Anyways, that was a war won by logistics and manufacturing. The allies had US, Canada, South America and Australia as resources and manufacturing sources. Even if Germans had won the east front, even if they had secured oil fields in the middle east... The sheer ressources and manufacturing power of the allies would be ok impossible to fight against. The main objective of Hitler was to force the UK to surrender and get their colonies in Africa and Asia, Hitler never intended to fight a 5 years war.


wheniaminspaced

> they had been restructuring their forces after their lackluster performance during the Winter Wa That is a fun way of saying that Stalin purged the officer corps because he was worried about there being tsarists lingering/being couped. Stalins pre-war purges really bit the union hard in the early parts of the war. Purged does not mean fire by the way, it generally means executed.


Beddha

"The Soviet Union... had been restructuring their forces..." made me giggle, that's some on brand phrasing xD


Divinate_ME

For the years leading to WW2, what is often brought up is the doctrine of appeasement, where the global community made concessions to Germany so that the country wouldn't have a proper reason to aggressively expand and invade stuff. Interestingly enough, something similar happened with Russia annexing Ukrainian soil in 2014. In both cases, appeasement eventually did not work.


VelveteenAmbush

How do you define appeasement, though? In some sense it's just an attempt to settle a conflict without further escalation. Arguably we appeased Communist China with the One China policy (paying lip service for several decades to their claim that Taiwan is part of China) but that has also prevented further conflict. Mexico also arguably appeased the US by [agreeing to give us what is now the western half of our country in the mid 1800s](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican_Cession), and we have had a pretty good relationship with Mexico ever since. Israel [seized significant territory from surrounding Arab countries](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six-Day_War) when Israel was attacked in 1967, and while the Arab countries certainly aren't happy about it, they aren't actively mounting military conquests to reclaim it or to destroy Israel. So yeah, appeasement sometimes doesn't work, but sometimes it does. I guess it was a bad call in the run up to WWII, but how was one to know that at the time?


WilliamTheeBloody

For WWI, Germany itself was massive, a recent country combined with Prussia. Their armies were top notch. Russia had the numbers but was a disaster when it and to military planning. France could only hold on for so long before the British came. But once they did hold on, everyone dug in and it stalled out. Lastly, France and England had huge #s of peoples from colonies that they could send into battle. Germany only had Germans.


gecko090

In addition to other things brought up (although tech level is debated) there is also the use of drugs like methamphetamine. It could keep a soldier going with minimal rest for 3 days and 10s of millions of doses were sent to German front lines early on. It was one of the things that helped fuel the blitzkrieg tactics.


WiartonWilly

Yes. You can temporarily triple your fighting force with meth. And they did.


[deleted]

Nazis on meth. That is terrifying.


ProfessorFunky

Yep. Was going to say this too. Was a major advantage.


Estequey

Was wondering if anyone would me tion this. But should note, this was only a factor for WW2, not WW1


NoBSforGma

Preparation. Germany heavily geared up for war with plans, troops, supplies, weapons and technology. Other countries.... not so much. There was a lot of "catching up" to do. And, of course, the population was almost entirely propagandized, blaming Europe for the problems in Germany due to the terms of the agreement after WWI. Germans were told that conquering Europe was their proper due.


VelveteenAmbush

Were the problems in Germany not due to the terms of the agreement after WWI? Genuine question... I always thought the Treaty of Versailles was the reason for their immiseration and I'm not familiar with competing theories. I think John Maynard Keynes also thought so at the time.


Boris_Badenov_uhoh

Versailles limited Germany's weapons and military manpower. Germany, during the 1920s got around this by training and building weapons in the USSR (of all places). Also, much of WW1 fighting took place in France. 20 years later France still hadn't fully recovered.


zeroneonsos

Germany lost far more than military advancement. The people were grasping at straws to get a somewhat respectable lifestyle again


Roccet_MS

Versailles was a massive humiliation. It was an aim to ensure that Germany won't get a strong military ever again, at least not strong enough to threaten France or GB.


NoBSforGma

I think that's what I said. But maybe not. Yes, problems in Germany to a large degree were the result of the agreement after WWI.


VelveteenAmbush

Ah, I inferred from your term "propagandized" that you thought the claims were false.


NoBSforGma

I just didn't write that very clearly! :) I meant that the German people were so indundated with propaganda/information/placing the blame about the results of the treaty that they were ready to wholly endorse that war, for the most part. That is not to say that the propaganda was false. The treaty was an abomination and Germany just struggled to get out from under. Edit: I have been recovering from COVID and sometimes realize that my brain doesn't always work the way I want it to! Sorry for the confusion.


namdor

The reparations were harsh (not necessarily the worst of all modern history, but harsh). German politicians decided it would be less painful to refuse to pay them and deal with the consequences. This turned out to be a terrible decision.


VelveteenAmbush

Terrible in the sense of evil in the particularities, sure. But it seems conceivable they could have won if a few decisions had gone differently, and I'm not sure WWII was bad for Germany economically in the sweep of history, particularly since the outcome was the Marshall Plan rather than the continued immiseration of the country under the Treaty of Versailles.


namdor

I was talking about WWI, not WWII.


Moontoya

They also got some practice and weapon development out of the Spanish civil war


fiendishrabbit

From a purely technological perspective, everyone else was in par with germany (except the german airforce, which was slightly ahead of most of their competitors. That advantage wouldn't last). However, everyone else was ready to fight WWII on pretty much the same terms as WWI while germany had focused strongly on fighting the next war. German armored and combined arms tactics were well ahead of most of their adversaries, and it took a few years for the allies to catch up in that department. So. Lets narrow that down to a single aspect to get an idea of how that manifested itself. Take for example the Panzer III, germany's top tier tank in 1939\* and compare it to France top tier tank (the SOMUA S35). Both tanks have radio (although the french had a shortage of radio equipment) and the french tank is better armored (and has a more advanced armourscheme) and more advanced in every aspect but one. The tank turret. The S35 has a tiny tank turret where the commander is also expected to be the gunner. That would have been fine for a WWI style engagement, but by the end of the war everyone would adopt the larger german-style turrets with a commander, gunner and loader in the turret since that allowed the commander to focus on observing and commanding (necessary for the fast moving and more complex engagements of WWII). While germany's tank doctrine would evolve (they didn't get it quite right and the PzIII would be superceded by the long-barreled PzIV) they were fairly quick in developing what would become the pattern for successful WWII tanks (good mobility, 3-man turret and the biggest and heftiest gun that turret could mount so that the tank had both good anti-tank and anti-infantry capability). \*Later on PzIII would become obsolete since it had a smaller turret ring than PzIV. Which mean that it couldn't be modified to have a big enough turret to handle the long 75mm gun that became necessary as the war progressed.


deadcommand

Since everyone is taking about WW2, let me be the one to give some context on WW1. The German Empire was formed by the forcible unification of various Germanic states. The state of Prussia was really the core of this. Highly militarized doesn’t really do Prussia justice. It’s said that ‘Prussia is not so much a state with an army so much as it is an army with a state.’ Due to their history, the army of the German Empire was arguably the most competent of the European armies in 1914. Also very important to note that their enemies were…troubled. They’d fought France 40 years ago in the Franco-Prussian War (last step of German unification) and won quite handily. The Russian Empire was so plagued by internal issues that they couldn’t mount any sort of effective technique and were basically a paper tiger. It was getting the highly competent British forces involved earlier than was strictly necessary where Germany really started to drop the ball as the British army was quite competent and their navy outstripped everyone else’s.


cavscout43

>The German Empire was formed by the forcible unification of various Germanic states. The state of Prussia was really the core of this. Highly militarized doesn’t really do Prussia justice. It’s said that ‘Prussia is not so much a state with an army so much as it is an army with a state.’ Yeah, people are focusing on WW2 (years of national level preparation for the war whilst the Allies were complacent), but the German Empire was a beast in WW1. Germany not only had the Prussian Junker aristocratic military tradition to draw on, they also had the largest population and economy in Europe by then. Bismarck's German unification terrified the British who could never hope to match a continental economic & population base in a naval arms race, and early in his career Churchill was one of the "hounds of war" that pushed hard to WW1 as a chance to break the nascent German navy before it grew to truly challenge London for control of the Atlantic. Even before tanks were a thing, the Germans were a massive force to grapple with, and there's a reason they were able to fight multiple fronts and \*win\* until the US got involved, as well as why they're the economic and manufacturing powerhouse of Europe today. Going more into depth, there are major geographical factors that benefit them, but that's longer term and getting way out of the range of ELI5.


deadcommand

For sure. Honestly, if there was a war where the USA deserves more credit than it usually gets it's WW1, not WW2. By the time the USA was sending troops en masse to Europe it was summer 1918 and by that point *Russia was out of the war and Ukraine was in German hands*. I italicized that so people know that's the important part. Ukraine has always been the very literal breadbasket of Europe in terms of grain production. The British Navy was enacting a total blockade of imports to Germany, the country was starving. And despite that, the French army was just as ground down as Germany, the British weren't doing that much better and Russia had outright collapsed. Ukraine being in German hands after the peace deal with Russia meant that the single greatest weapon the British had against Germany suddenly...didn't matter. If the war didn't end soon, Germany would be able to feed itself again and they'd honestly probably have been able to defeat everyone on the continent and get the UK to peace out. The injection of *4 million* fresh US troops at a rate of *10,000* *per day* was such a boost in material capacity and Entente morale that its effects cannot be overstated.


Estequey

Was waiting for someone to talk about WW1 and how the German army was considered the best of its time. Highly trained, experienced and modern for the time


Edsgnat

This is such an interesting question. There’s a few things I’d like to add to this. First, the Prussian Army was beholden only to the Kaiser and it was the largest army in Germany. As a result, they had outsized independence and influence, often bending the Reichstag to its will. Through this, the bulk of the German Army was especially well funded and well trained, with support for an immense reserve force. This wasn’t the case in other nations like France or Great Britain, where other political actors kept the army in check, or Russia where the leadership was in shambles. In essence, the German government and Army itself was more prepared for a war of this size. Second, the way in which Germany mobilized and deployed reserve forces was vastly different. At the time, most reserve stints were 2-3 years. In Germany, it was 3-4 years. This means that there were more German reserves available at the start of the war and that they were better trained. Germany also mobilized and deployed both at the same time in August. Take France, they mobilized and deployed their regulars to quickly take Alsace-Lorraine, and partially mobilized reserves, but kept them near Paris. Germany, on the other hand, mobilized and deployed the regulars and reserves simultaneously to the western front. If Army I loses men, Army I reserve is right behind them to fill the gaps. So Germany not only deployed more men than expected, but could reinforce them faster, and they could fight with little loss of combat ability. This is another reason for the staying and fighting power of Germany. Third, Germany was incredibly self-reliant, though not self reliant enough, for its own resources and materiel. For most of the war it could feed the army and home front, and it diverted basically all industry into winning the war. Keep in mind that Germany was, and is, no small country, so the population can keep producing and eating and fighting for quite while. In contrast, In the years leading up to 1914, Britain had actually fallen behind German industrial capabilities and took a while to ramp up its war production. Self-reliance can only get you so far though, as Germany learned. By November 1918, after nearly four years of being blockaded by the British, Germans were basically eating rotten potatoes. Tl;dr The political influence of Prussia helped maintain a large fighting force; the German reserve system allowed for a larger and more experienced army at the beginning of the war; Germany had the largest industrial capability, and one of the large agricultural capacities for most of the war.


Roccet_MS

By chance have you ever listened to Dan Carlin?


xoxzerkxox

I assume we talk here about the world war II Well there are multiple factors. The germans were preparing for a war in the first place. Building weapons tanks etc etc... their morale was also ready for a war while the allies didn't want to start a fight. It doesnt mean that the allies werent building them it just that the germans output was higher. The germans developed a war tactic called blitzkrieg. Which is pretty usefull if you do the first attack to an enemy that doesnt expect it and it allows you to move fast back in the backline. Imagine a line of warriors. Instead of pushing the whole line backwards you pierce trough the weakest point and from there on you flank them and go deeper in the lands. This way the captured france in no time. There was also the fact that they had air supperiority. Poland got in a 2 sided war. France got easily captured. Italy is an ally Spain is in a civil war. So there aint much big powers to stand up against germany.


dr5c

Since most of the other comments are talking about WW2 it's also important to contextualize WW1 - Germany was on its way to become the dominant industrial power in Europe (think of a rising power like China compared to U.S. today - the equivalent back then would have been UK). Germany also benefitted from the mass amount of military science developments made by the Prussians in the 1800s (including the development of sophisticated war games).


Widdle_Bwaby

Germany even now, after losing its territory in both wars is one of the most populous countries in Europe. Second only to Russia. Also, despite they were banned from it they started preparing for invasion by orienting the economy into arming itself.


u-can-call-me-daddy

Genuinely curious, how did they do that?


Roccet_MS

Imagine a whole continent destroyed by a war. A war so bloody and costly over the span of four year, no one could have imagined that. Countries didn't want to go to war again. And politicians thought that Hitler wasn't dumb enough or brave enough to seriously start a huge war after WW1. They just started on a small scale, and build on that. Similar to a stone that gets eroded by a drop of water.


DrunkenOnzo

WWI, from what I understood. Germany were the new guys, made up of a bunch of very wealthy cities and former countries all under one new union. Germany knew their neighbors were not very happy about having a new united superpower on the block, so the Germans spent a lot of time building up a military and making plans to defend itself if their neighbors declared war. The rest of Europe was in an economic boom, rich people getting richer, and the idea of a war in Europe between superpowers was unthinkable. Why would someone go to war in Europe when that would just hurt everyone's wallets? Then a dying kid kills a duke, Russia decides it's train time, and Europe is at war.


Rumple4Skinz1991

In order to answer that, you first have to realize that Germany in the 1910s and Germany in the 1930s were two completely different countries. In the run-up to WW1 Germany was the industrial powerhouse of Europe. They had better manufacturing processes, better engineering, and a better education system than most of the rest of Europe. They also had a much more dynamic culture in this time period, making everyone in Germany believe that it was germany's time to shine. Having all this going for them gave them the ability to engineer newer, and larger, weapons quicker than everyone else which scared their neighbors. Now in the run-up to WW2, Germany was a vastly different state. They were still recovering from the great depression, the repression of the nazis dumbed down their population quite a bit, and they were essentially trying to build as many weapons as they could as quickly as they could. Now this is not to say that everything was bad in Germany at that time. Industry was recovering, their financial system was recovering from runaway inflation, overall things were looking up for them. Using a lot of shady tactics, and political maneuvering, Hitler managed to rearm the country and pretty much scrap the Versailles Treaty without firing a shot. Now the reason they did so well in WW1 was because they had the equipment, resources, and political will to do it. In the start of the war they had the best guns, the best artillery, and the most thorough planning processes that enabled their army to run like clockwork. The Schliefen plan had everything, and I mean everything, planned out down to the timing of each train used to move the military to the front. This plan is also, ironically, one of the reasons that Germany got involved in WW1 to begin with... it gave no time for talking between countries, once it had begun that was it. Now as far as WW2, the reason that Germany did so well has been said many times in this thread. Maneuver warfare, plain and simple. While the allies were still warming up to the idea, Germany put it into practice, and they proved it to be the far superior method. The reason they lost both wars is the same though, logistics. They could only use what materials they had within their borders to fight, while the allies had the materials of the rest of the planet. The allies simply could build more stuff, and get it to the front lines where it was needed. My grandfather was drafted into the German army during WW2, and he told me a story once. Him and his buddy were sitting in a bunker in France, when they saw a sea of US bombers/fighters flying overhead heading towards Germany. His buddy looked up and said something to the effect of How do you fight something like that? My grandfather simply said, You can't.


__daco_

Most other countries, especially France and Poland, were miles behind technologically. The German troops were able to have constant communication via radio, in France and Poland they still sent couriers for that. On the eastern flank, Poland tried to send **cavalry** against tanks and mechanized infrantry. Additionally to that, the allies waited way too long to intervene, Germany could rearm and make significant technological advances in heavy weaponry, while the allies still were in denial about a war being on the horizon. That's the two biggest factors I'd say. Germany was able to fire a devastating first punch, but the combined efforts of the allies quickly catched up technologically and in numbers.


ImNrNanoGiga

I mostly agree, but wanna give some context to the almost mythical state of German technology. German tanks in France were in general NOT technologically superior. The difference was more in their employment. It's not that the French didn't have good radio sets or couldn't build them. That's just not how they thought to employ tanks. Another point is the separation of gunner and commander. When you are using the gun to fight other tanks, you don't have your eyes on the bigger picture and get tunnel vision. If Germany was way ahead in something, it was tactical military thinking. They had a bunch of innovative ideas on the battlefield and thus could get some 'easy wins'. Think of it that way: You're a big guy who knows Kung Fu really well and you wanna take over the world. So you go to a random public space and start beating up people. You can do A LOT of damage for a short while, but then the police come and gun you down.


allthejokesareblue

No. German technological advantage is a myth. Firstly it was completely unsurprising that would beat Poland. Against the Western Allies Germany was actually significantly under mechanised, and the tanks they had were inferior, particularly compared to the French tanks. The German advantages came in two parts, firstly that their attack through the Ardennes was completely unexpected (the Allies didn't think you could move armour through those roads) and they had a better doctrine for their armoured assets, concentrating mechanised forces to create a breakthrough rather than splitting them up amongst the infantry. The Allies never had to catch up technologically, they were (overall) always ahead.


msmsms101

The element of Suh-prise..


__daco_

"overall" is the key word here, because they had to combine their knowledge and capacities. Germany was the most populous country with a lot of very talented scientists, I'd also say that production capacity kind of falls under "technology" too. It might be that overall the allies were on par, but Germany had the means of production, and amassed a lot more modern automatic rifles and heavy weaponry by the start of the war than anyone else on their own. Very good point, but I'd say that most armchair historians mean infrastructure and production capacity too when they say that Germany was technologically advanced. But yes, they for sure weren't the only ones who knew how to build proper tanks, the difference is that they actually did it. So yeah, while it would be wrong to say that Germany was technologically more advanced, it'd also be wrong to say the opposite. It's just about what specifically do you mean with technology. France had radio too at the start of the war, it just wasn't nearly as widespread and implemented in the troops as with the Germans.


1-trofi-1

Radios in tanks was a key for winning the French. But apart from that they had advantages in some areas and disadvantages others. E.g no radar. British had it first also better anti-sub war.


ImNrNanoGiga

The argument that Germany was on par with the allies in pure technology I can somewhat agree with but then your argument goes on and IMHO conflates other factors. The knowledge that radios are very useful in every tank is military-operational. Having a higher percentage of your industrial output go into weapons is also not technology. Also, if you include production it is not even close. As soon as they ramped up, the allies were just out-producing Germany no questions asked. The way US and Soviet factories just went brrrrrrr is really mind-boggling, and that is especially true if you look at money/man-hours per piece of equipment built.


__daco_

>Also, if you include production it is not even close. As soon as they ramped up Well that's the point of the post, and exactly what I said, that they ramped it up after the fact. Germany was already going brrrr before the war, that is my point.


ikonoqlast

In short they'd spent years preparing for war and others hadn't. Once everyone else got their war face on Germany got stomped.


blue_bird_peaceforce

in ww1 Germany had a pretty good industry and organization in ww2 Germany was prepared while the allies weren't basically Britain, France and Russia were looking for fights in other places while Germany was focusing all it's efforts in Europe


Changingchains

One of the major factors was they were all jacked up on meth so they routed the exhausted enemy troops on the second shift so to speak.


PckMan

Well for starters they had the advantage of being the ones to start the war, meaning they were preparing for it before anyone else knew, or at least truly believed the possibility of a war breaking out. They started the wars with new technology and novel ideas about strategy and warfare, and basically the element of surprise was on their side and they made quick initial gains. Russia made quick gains too in the current war in Ukraine but they were not able to hold them. But ultimately Germany lost both times for the same reason. You can't fight a war on all fronts and continuously expand. More and more armies rose to oppose them and ultimately they buckled. At the start of the wars they only had to contend with a few unprepared armies.


nimitzhunter

Lot of wwii answers. I’ll chime in for WWI. Germany and France were in state of wars for centuries. They fought for each other since Prussia was still a thing. In the formation of the modern German state, a new empire was born. At this time, the world was already divided between Britain and France and other colonial powers. After the formation ofGermany, Bismarck was working tirelessly to form new alliance and weakened other powers. The alliance network put Britain France and Russia on one side and Germany and Austria on the other. This means that in time of hostility, Garmany would fight a two front wars. So in late 19th century, German strategists realized that they would have to be the first to strike in order to avoid a two fronts war. Thus they developed the Schfielen plan. So Garmany was planing logistics time tables and attack vectors since at least 1890s Before hostility began, Russia was involved in the disastrous Russo Japanese war. This gave Germany an extra boost to be more confident. When hostility commenced, Germany already had a mobilization and attack script to play. However this was also their weakness because they had to achieve their objectives or their train logistics would suffer. Russia actually reformed their army after the Russo Japanese defeat. So Russian quick mobilization took Germany off balance. The axis was doing well at first because they had been planning for decades. But Austria-Hungragey was a week state that wasn’t able to assist Germany midway through the war.


chronoboy1985

Japan only rolled the dice on Pearl Harbor *because* they were having so much trouble keeping things afloat in China. They made the costly mistake of invading Indochina, prompting the US to instate an oil embargo on Japan and basically forcing their hand, to go all in on invading the Indies and other pacific territories for the resources they needed to fuel the war in China.


No-Independent-3464

The Blitzkrieg tactic of war combined with the other European countries policy of appeasement trying to avoid another World War. Whoops…


AgoraiosBum

Germany was good, but it was also lucky. The French commander made just about ever possible mistake - failing to press an offensive in September of 1939 against a weakly defended German western front, passivity through the spring of 1940, a failure to invest in the defenses around Sedan, and a decision to move the most mobile forces deep into Belgium when the war started and without holding any good reserves. The French literally had ample reserves near the location of the German breakthrough and moved them far away a few days before the German attack. Against Russia, the Germans were lucky that Stalin purged so many of their best commanders and then also refused to believe intel reports about German attack preparations.


Waltair_Boy

I think Germany pulled Sucker punches initially, got greedy and tried to bite more than it can chew, ticking off many giants in the process


ClownfishSoup

One thing is that Germany KNEW it was going to invade other countries and ramped up it's military to do so. The other countries were like "Hmm.. is Germany going to invade us? Maybe? Yes? No?" meanwhile Germany was sharpening it's claws. It's like when you're standing next to some guy and he knows he's going to sucker punch you in the face, but you don't. Obviously, he gets the upper hand.


aiResponseBot

Some historians have argued that Germany was able to do so well at the beginning of both world wars because it was able to take advantage of its strategic location. Germany is located in the center of Europe, which allowed it to easily attack its neighbors on both sides. Additionally, Germany had a large population and a strong industrial base, which allowed it to quickly mobilize its resources for war.


Lucky_Elk7879

Very good Germanic, Northern European genes I guess, in much the same way as danmark, Sweden, Netherlands and Norway are similar nations full of high rankings in pretty much every single standard of living indexes


davtruss

I think it's important to understand 19th Century Europe. While the United States was tearing itself apart (and trying to put itself back together), the colonial powers of Europe, specifically Great Britain, France, Germany, and Russia were playing chess all over the world, and they regularly switched alliances to foil one another. I mean, as WWI approached in the very early 20th Century, the British King, the German Kaiser, and the Russian Tsar were all first cousins or some such. What you need to understand about late 19th century Germany is that its culture, science, and arts began to outshine their colonial competitors. It had nothing to do with Nazis. The National Socialists arose because of the living hell of WWI and the unwise demands placed upon Germany for war reparations. Combined with World Wide economic depression, the conditions were ripe for a nationalist fervor that could combat both colonialists (this is where Hitler inserted "Jewish bankers") and Communists. The horror that resulted should never be forgotten. By the way, when Teddy Roosevelt was plotting his pathway to becoming President, it was accepted as a given in the 1890s that the most likely country that the U.S. would face in the next war would be Great Britain, a country with 50 battleships to the 3 fielded by the U.S.


usrevenge

So the start of the war was "let's sit here and do nothing" that's how it started. England and France declared war and sat there for a bit. Belgium didn't join in despite having a huge chunk of a the French defensive border called the maginot line. So English forces basically sat behind Belgium with the plan to come in and reinforce Belgium's section of the line when Germany attacked France also had their own section of the maginot line and invested heavily into it. Germany didn't attack the maginot line right away or in a meaningful way though. Instead Germany either attacked from the air or went through gaps thought impossible to send vehicles through due to terrain. Once the line was broken through the British and french had issues holding. There was lots of other issues. Like poor communication and leadership ultimately lead to the French loss. With France gone England had a 0% chance of holding with their tiny force so they also retreated which is where the Dunkirk story takes place. As for the war with the USSR, Germany did ok as well due to much better technology and much better leadership. They also had decent man power. Germany eventually lost vs the USSR. Britain did much better in Africa which also helped beat Germany elsewhere. Britain also maintained naval superiority at least in the European theater. Eventually Germany stalled in the USSR then finally was in retreat as the USSR had way more people and as the war progressed had much more in terms of material. They also arguably ended up with better tanks and planes. Even if you could consider a German tank better the Soviet tank was likely much cheaper and faster to build in response. Tbh d day didn't even need to happen. The USSR was winning. But everyone knew Stalin wouldn't stop. The writing was on the wall after Stalingrad and it became a land grab in many ways. Japan was also virtually useless to Germany throughout all of this. Japan wasn't going to attack the USSR. And even if they tried they would have lost. So tldr. Germany had better planning officers and vehicles but they were harder to build and took longer. They also had worse supply lines in general. So while they started very strong they had no sustaining power


[deleted]

Outstanding leadership. Adolf Hitler was among the greatest leaders of all time, despite being an antisemitic, racist, mass-murdering lunatic. Edit: grammar


cologne_peddler

Because no one with the power to do anything gave enough of a shit to stop the Nazis, basically. When it became apparent they posed a threat to more than just a few powerless countries, then shit turned around All of this is instructive for how we need to deal with Nazi shitbags and their equivalents. Watching American conservatives, I fear we haven't really learned that lesson though


[deleted]

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allthejokesareblue

The French never expected the Germans to attack the Maginot Line. They expected the Germans to recreate the Schlieffen Plan and attack through Belgium. Also, the USSR wasn't allied with the Nazis: there were no provisions in the Molotov Ribbentrop Pact for mutual defence. It was a non aggression treaty.