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Hitler's mistakes

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Posted on Mar 29, 2012 11:22:07 AM PDT
Gregory Mays says:
>> Roosevelt wanted to go to war with Germany, the American people by and large did not. The only thing declaring war on the US did was allow the US and the UK to enter into probably the closest working...<<

I disagree. Americans who didn't want to go to war, didn't want to go to any war. Period. Dec 7 changed all that. It was obvious that we were going to war with Japan. Japan and Germany were allied. Hitler just made that part a little easier. People who were sitting on the fence during the horrible news about the bombings of London could no longer make the case for not going to war. To me, it was inconceivable that the US would gear up to avenge Honolulu, but ignore London. The eradication of Fascism world wide was clearly what was needed. And Churchill and Roosevelt put it just that way to the English speaking public.
Pearl Harbor meant we were going to be in for at least 10 shillings, might as well be in for a Pound.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2012 11:39:12 AM PDT
Gregory Mays says:
>>As I see it, it's not just a Christian moral center (because as you say, the Germans were Christians too), but also that the British had more of a system and tradition of democracy in place.<<

There's another thing. The Brits like the Romans sought cooperation among the local populace. If you look at the German attempts at colonial rule, say in Africa, they were never like that. They ruled with oppression and cruelty.
Even though they don't say it as much as we do, Britain was always a multi-ethnic society. Germany never has been. They simply don't play well with others. Even today Germans try to entice citizens of Turkish decent to go back to Turkey! After 30 years! Germany, even today, sees inter-ethnic strife as the logical consequence of multi-ethnic societies. Was the Holocaust the extreme version of that? Yes. Does it surprise any German that things headed in that direction? No.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2012 11:50:52 AM PDT
Gregory Mays says:
>>use of land and concepts of land ownership.<<

Bingo!! Once you tell an Anglo Saxon that no individual owns any land, you're at an impasse.
And I actually think that politically, there was some sense of accommodating Indians. The reservation system for example. What changed everything was Custer's Last Stand. Fresh from the Civil War and armed to the teeth, the US took that as a declaration of War. And that's when things got very harsh for the Indians that refused to embrace the reservation system. You notice that all the true genocide tales against the Indians are all post-Custer. No coincidence.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2012 12:09:34 PM PDT
AxisBeefyBoy says:
>> I disagree. Americans who didn't want to go to war, didn't want to go to any war. Period. Dec 7 changed all that. It was obvious that we were going to war with Japan. Japan and Germany were allied. Hitler just made that part a little easier. People who were sitting on the fence during the horrible news about the bombings of London could no longer make the case for not going to war. To me, it was inconceivable that the US would gear up to avenge Honolulu, but ignore London. The eradication of Fascism world wide was clearly what was needed. And Churchill and Roosevelt put it just that way to the English speaking public.
Pearl Harbor meant we were going to be in for at least 10 shillings, might as well be in for a Pound.

Yet Congress didn't declare war on Germany.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2012 12:31:58 PM PDT
Gregory Mays says:
>>Yet Congress didn't declare war on Germany.<<

Once someone formally declares war on you, what's the point? It's not like you can say;
"No Germany, we disagree. No state of war exists between us just because you say so."
Yes, it does in fact exist just because they say so.

Japan didn't declare war, they just attacked. In fact, Japan actually thought that because there was no declaration, there was a chance the US wouldn't see it as a war necessarily. After all, Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, and the Philippines were only territories. It's not like they attacked the US proper.

You can tell they hadn't spent time with too many Americans.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2012 1:03:05 PM PDT
Jeff Marzano says:
Domenico Rosa says:

[I read that Hitler spent some time staring, in a trance-like state, at the sarcophagus of Napoleon Bonaparte. Is there any truth to this ?]

I don't know.

But Hitler would sometimes wake up in the dead of night terrified of something in his bedroom like a demon or something.

He would scream:

"Look ! Over there in the corner ! Can't you see it ?"

I wouldn't doubt that Hitler was tormented by demons. He was surrounded by death for most of his troubled life.

Jeff Marzano

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2012 1:05:26 PM PDT
Jeff Marzano says:
F. Gleaves says:

[And after all German kids were required to join Hitler Youth or its counterpart for girls, parents had to be careful what they said even at home for fear of being turned-in as traitors by their own children.]

Stalin created a similar atmosphere of fear and betrayal in Russia.

Neighbors would inform on neighbors, etc..

As I recall Solzhenitsyn was sent into the labor camps for drawing a cartoon that was offensive to Stalin.

Jeff Marzano

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2012 1:21:06 PM PDT
Gregory Mays says:
>Neighbors would inform on neighbors, etc<

I was a Russian linguist in the Army. One my teachers had intellectuals for parents. They would exchange smuggled American and British books among their friends. And on American books, a picture of the author is often on the dust cover.
So, she's in kindergarten and the teacher shows her a picture of V I Lenin and asks:
"Who is this?" (correct answer is Grandfather Lenin)
She says:
"Ernest Hemingway!!" (it was the beard. To her, a bearded man is Hemingway.)

Well, the next day her parents were in front of the political officer of the school, explaining what kind of joint they were running where Lenin and Hemingway could get mixed up.

Posted on Mar 29, 2012 1:24:13 PM PDT
AxisBeefyBoy says:
>>>Once someone formally declares war on you, what's the point? It's not like you can say;
"No Germany, we disagree. No state of war exists between us just because you say so."
Yes, it does in fact exist just because they say so.
Japan didn't declare war, they just attacked. In fact, Japan actually thought that because there was no declaration, there was a chance the US wouldn't see it as a war necessarily. After all, Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, and the Philippines were only territories. It's not like they attacked the US proper.
You can tell they hadn't spent time with too many Americans.

You don't address my argument. You said that Americans by and large were ready to go to war with Germany. Why then did congress not declare war on Germany 8 Dec? If not then, when?

My point stands: Hitler's second biggest blunder was declaring war on the United States.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2012 1:49:21 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 29, 2012 1:50:03 PM PDT
Jeff Marzano says:
Gregory Mays says:

[Well, the next day her parents were in front of the political officer of the school, explaining what kind of joint they were running where Lenin and Hemingway could get mixed up.]

Solzhenitsyn's books had to be smuggled out of Russia so the rest of the world could read them.

I have never felt a bond with an author that was anything close to the bond I felt with Solzhenitsyn when I read his books about Stalin's labor camps.

Then again I rarely read novels and literature. Most of the books I read are just trying to convey information.

Jeff Marzano

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2012 1:59:48 PM PDT
Top 10 Hitler mistakes:

1. Invasion of Soviet Union.
2. Invasion of Soviet Union.
3. Invasion of Soviet Union.
4. Invasion of Soviet Union.
5. Invasion of Soviet Union.
6. Invasion of Soviet Union.
7. Invasion of Soviet Union.
8. Invasion of Soviet Union.
9. Invasion of Soviet Union.
10. Declaration of war on U.S.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2012 2:04:28 PM PDT
F. Gleaves says:
The US was already escorting convoys in the Western Atlantic, handing over to British escorts in mid-ocean.

The US Reuben James (DD-245) was torpedoed and sunk near Iceland 31 October 1941 with the loss of all but 44 of her 159 man crew, after deliberately steaming in between an ammunition ship and a German wolfpack.

The three modernized New Mexico-class battleships were based at Iceland in case the Tirpitz, Scharnhorst and Gneisenau tried to raid the Atlantic again.

The Germans thought an all-out submarine attack on US coastal shipping could eliminate the US Merchant Marine before the USN could build enough new escorts to protect them. In fact, U-boat commanders called the first six months of 1942 "the second happy time".

The Germans failed because of Henry Kaiser's mass-produced Liberty ships, a big escort-building program and improved anti-wolfpack techniques.

But the Germans were sinking ships faster than Britain and the US could build them for much of the year, and there were a lot of ships sunk more or less within sight of shore, especially off New Jersey and Florida.

As for No.1, the big mistake was in thinking they could destroy Soviet resistance in 3 months. If they had realized what they were getting into, they should have called a halt by early October and settled in for the winter. If they had taken Moscow, like Napoleon, it would have just been Stalingrad a year earlier.

Saudi Arabia only started pumping oil in 1938, and although Persia had started pumping 30 years earlier the Middle East only accounted for 5% of world production. The US, Soviet Union and Dutch East Indies were the main producers.

Posted on Mar 29, 2012 2:04:35 PM PDT
Gregory Mays says:
>>You don't address my argument. You said that Americans by and large were ready to go to war with Germany. Why then did congress not declare war on Germany 8 Dec? If not then, when?<<

I did miss your point. Why did it apparently take the German declaration to prod us? Did some in Congress and the US public still believe war in Europe was avoidable on Dec 8?
Roosevelt certainly didn't believe that. The Army didn't believe that. But yes, the 'anti-war-against-Germany' lobby was very powerful at the time, and maybe they weren't sold. I do think that many in America were ready, but you're right, it was no slam dunk. And added to that, people were saying that to fight Germany, we'd have to get in bed with Communists. Certainly a dangerous proposition in many minds. We would have done it eventually to be sure, but D-Day might have been June 1945.

So, why did Hitler do it? He probably thought it didn't matter because it would take America a year to put together anything, and by then he'd have Russia, and would just stop. Colossal miscalculation. That's the problem with a dictatorship...There's no political entity to intercept bad ideas.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2012 2:24:17 PM PDT
Gregory Mays says:
>>I have never felt a bond with an author that was anything close to the bond I felt with Solzhenitsyn when I read his books about Stalin's labor camps. <<

There is one thing that needs to be pointed out. 'Labor camps' were nothing new in Russia. The Czars had them too There was a tradition in Russia of forcing people to do labor that otherwise wouldn't get done. Either because the labor was unpleasant or dangerous. For instance, in the Czars Army you could be drafted for 20 years!! So forced labor camps were not prisons in the Russian mindset.
I think the impression in the West is that it was a system Josef Stalin made up. That's not true. Now, deciding that political and academic dissidents were ideal candidates for the labor camps...that was Stalin.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2012 2:49:51 PM PDT
This is incorrect.
Congress declared war on Japan after FDR's speech of Dec 8.
When Germany declared war on the US (and Italy did as well), the US Congress dutifully declared war back the following Day (Dec 11, I believe).

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2012 4:13:09 PM PDT
Jeff Marzano says:
F. Gleaves says:

[But the Germans were sinking ships faster than Britain and the US could build them for much of the year, and there were a lot of ships sunk more or less within sight of shore, especially off New Jersey and Florida.]

I've always found this to be a very sad aspect of World War II.

It was very wasteful for one thing.

It caused a lot of suffering also. Those that were lucky enough to survive getting torpedoed were set adrift on the sea which could have been in the frigid Atlantic Ocean.

Then again I guess everything about World War II was wasteful and caused suffering.

Jeff Marzano

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2012 4:17:19 PM PDT
Jeff Marzano says:
Gregory Mays says:

[There is one thing that needs to be pointed out. 'Labor camps' were nothing new in Russia.]

I watched a TV show one time where they interviewed this lady who have been in the Gulags.

They crammed all of these dirty, underfed, exhausted people into these squalid, freezing shacks. The women would sometimes be menstruating. All of this combined to produce a wonderful odor.

The guards would take the women out and rape them. These gals were already severely malnourished and sometimes they would die during this activity.

Jeff Marzano

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2012 5:21:06 PM PDT
Gregory Mays says:
>>I watched a TV show one time where they interviewed this lady who have been in the Gulags.<<

No one disputes what went on. But there is an attempt to lay the blame for this 'system' solely at the feet of Soviet Communism and especially Stalin. And I'm just saying that characterization is simply not true. In 1917, Russia was still a feudal society. With the feudal trappings that the rest of Europe jettisoned 500 years earlier. Forced servitude was one of those trappings. And the Gulag system grew out of that. The reason that Krushchev put an end to all that is that Krushchev was concerned about the Soviet image in the West. Krushchev thought the Soviet model could be 'sold' to the rest of the world. Stalin wasn't the least bit concerned about such things.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2012 5:31:26 PM PDT
Joe Anthony says:
Gregory Mays says:

"There is one thing that needs to be pointed out. 'Labor camps' were nothing new in Russia. The Czars had them too...I think the impression in the West is that it was a system Josef Stalin made up. That's not true."

I say:

Not only did Stalin not invent the labor camps, but as I understand it, Stalin himself spent some time in a labor camp as a young revolutionary.

Maybe, in Stalin's mind, this was just the way that things got done. If you don't do your work; if you dare to dissent or demonstrate disloyalty; off to the the camps.

While the Nazi's genocide seemed to be motivated by Hitler's twisted view of racial struggle; Stalin's genocide seems to be more the product of the push to industrialize and modernize Russia; to make communism work even if he had to place a gun to everyone's head who lived within the Soviet Union.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2012 5:34:45 PM PDT
John M. Lane says:
It's my recollection that Krushschev put plenty of people into the Gulag, Gregory Mays, although didn't use that term. One famous case involved Boris Pasternak's lover. She was going blind after Pasternak's death and Krushschev placed her on "internal exile" for "bourgeois errors", or something like that, because he didn't like Boris' writings. She died in exile.

Krushschev also tried to spread world Communism by "wars of national liberation." He was successful in some areas, notably Vietnam. He also stepped up espionage in the US, via KGB/GRU networks. He was just another Commie imperialist.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2012 5:55:40 PM PDT
Gregory Mays says:
>>It's my recollection that Krushschev put plenty of people into the Gulag<<

Yes, but he didn't call it that, and it was a lot more secretive. Stalin was never ashamed of the system. I think Krushchev was.

>>He was successful in some areas, notably Vietnam. He also stepped up espionage in the US, via KGB/GRU networks. <<

Here's the thing. Krushchev was a believer. He thought their system could compete on a level playing field. The big change with Breshnev, was he essentially conceded the inferiority of the Soviet system. The Soviet Union shifted from home growing expertise in various fields, to trying to rip off the West for technology and weaponry. That was a sea change event. In my opinion, that started the decline of the Soviet system as a viable alternative. Internally, they stopped believing in their own system. Which is why even though a surprise to us, they were totally accepting that it all had failed during Gorbachev's tenure. They had been living the decline, and we barely knew it was going on.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2012 6:03:23 PM PDT
John M. Lane says:
Hello Gregory Mays,

Thanks for the interesting response. I think the Soviet system was more successful than you're giving it credit for.

Although the Communist Party collapsed in Russia, the security apparatus (KGB) and the Red Army (GRU) remained active and continued their espionage inside the US and elsewhere. I've read that the "Russian Mafia" replaced the Party and that they don't consider the Cold War to be over.

I think it's a mistake to underestimate the scope and effectiveness of Russian activity inside the US and around the world. The Soviet Union collapsed, but that didn't transform Russia into a friend or even weaken it appreciably. Their espionage apparatus always impressed me as first rate and it's still operating at full speed from what I can discern in the news.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2012 6:08:45 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 29, 2012 6:12:49 PM PDT
Mikeber says:
Domenico Rosa:
"It is indeed true that many ordinary German officers mechanically followed orders in organizing the transportation of Jews to the extermination camps"
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I wan't referring to killing of Jews only. In 1942 Hitler ordered the elite German force (250,000 strong) entrapped at Stalingrad to die like real Germans and forbade Heinz Guderian to rescue them. The generals (many from old Prussian aristocratic families) followed his orders. (Orders of a former Austriain drifter who sold postcards on the sidewalks of Munchen). Millions of Germans took part in suicidal missions, being ready to sacrifice their lives to serve a deranged man. Hitler ordered endless attacks that every officer advised against, causing infinite loss of precious troops. Why these generals and colonels did not turn their tanks against him? Was there only one brave enough to die for eliminating the monster, while millions (including innocent civilians) sacrificed their lives even when it was clear that everything is lost?
For comparison, consider Italy. Although they had some excellent elite forces (marine in particular) who fought well, in the majority of cases they refused to die for an egomaniac with a bawling ball head.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2012 6:11:46 PM PDT
John M. Lane says:
That's a great question, Mikeber. I wish I had a great answer.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2012 6:45:23 PM PDT
Gregory Mays says:
>>I think it's a mistake to underestimate the scope and effectiveness of Russian activity inside the US and around the world.<<

No no. I don't underestimate them at all. You know, a raging debate in 1917, was whether the Soviet Union should include all the Czarist holdings, or simply Russia itself with maybe Ukraine and Georgia. The Czar's Army was appeased and brought over to the Soviet cause, by the Bolsheviks maintaining the entire 'Czarist Empire'. But there was a healthy intellectual discourse of Pan-Slavism, that thought aspiring toward Central Asia especially, was in the long term untenable. If for no other reason than the predominance of Islam and Persian/Farsi based languages. (Pan Slavicists based a lot on language similarity and compatibility. I'm not sure I buy into that totally.)
Without the baggage of the outlying and mostly impoverished republics, Russia is a very rich and potentially very powerful country. They're still the biggest country, by population or area, in Europe by far. That's what I think Gorbachev and his ilk saw. They just had to figure out a way to break it to the Kirghistans and Tadzhikistans of the world that they were no longer wanted. And tell other countries that were on the 'Soviet System' list, that it was all going to blow up, and the subsidies would end. Some, like the E. Germans, Czechs and the Poles adjusted, being next door to Germany after all. Others, like Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Yugoslavia and especially Cuba, mostly didn't adjust, and still struggle.
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