The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewGuillaume Durocher Archive
General Heinz Guderian on Hitler and Leadership
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
AgreeDisagreeThanksLOLTroll
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

Heinz Guderian, Panzer Leader (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Da Capo, 1996 [1952])

I first read the memoirs of General Heinz Guderian, Germany’s foremost tank commander during the Second World War, while I was still in high school.

I have to say that Guderian’s whole deportment immediately appealed to me. Here was a man of great dynamism, loyalty, and innovation; one who understood service and command, and who showed persistence in promoting tank warfare in the military’s inevitable internal bureaucratic struggles and great boldness in the rough-and-tumble of war itself.

Guderian’s memoirs are decidedly stoic, detached in the face of the many tragedies and otherwise almost cheerful. The sober French and original German titles reflect this: “Memories of a Soldiers,” Souvenirs d’un Soldat, Erinnerungen eines Soldaten. Here was a real Prussian. With his steely eyes and neat mustache, Guderian looked rather like my young grandfather during the same war, albeit they wore different uniforms and fought on opposing sides.

There is not an ounce of bitterness despite the total defeat of his country, right up the territorial loss and ethnic cleansing of millions of Germans in his ancestral East Prussia. On the contrary, Guderian always expresses his gratitude to family, mentors, and colleagues who helped him along the way. In a philosophical mood, Guderian will occasionally quote Hamlet on the vanity of things.

Guderian on campaign
Guderian on campaign

The English edition of Guderian’s memoirs emphasizes his role as a tank commander with the evocative title Panzer Leader. Indeed, Guderian promoted tanks in Germany, much as Charles de Gaulle did in France, as the decisive form of modern warfare, combining concentrated power and speed which would enable, after initial breakthroughs, huge sweeps and conquests before an enemy had time to react. Guderian would put his theories into practice, with stunning results, in Poland, France, and the initial invasion of the Soviet Union.

But while De Gaulle fruitlessly lobbied the politicians of the Third Republic for years on end – who feared a professional military, clung to old tactics, and the hugely expensive defensive Maginot Line – Guderian found that Hitler was quite receptive to his ideas.

Guderian’s memoirs go into meticulous detail on his interwar years and especially the various campaigns of the war itself. This can be a bit of a slog if one isn’t a military history buff and, anyway, memoirs a rather treacherous genre for which one needs to be able to cross-reference with other sources to guard against the selective and misleading nature of human memory.[1]For example, Guderian claims that “The Polish Pomeranian Cavalry Brigade, in ignorance of the nature of our tanks, had charged them with swords and lances and had suffered tremendous losses” (72). However, historians claim that this is a myth – developed by the Germans and then taken on by the Poles themselves as a gallant sacrifice – and that the cavalry had in fact charged German infantry in a costly but ultimately successful delaying action.

The book concludes with two synthetic final chapters on “The Leading Personalities of the Third Reich” and “The German General Staff,” which provide great insight and are broadly congruent with what we find elsewhere.

Hitler’s Personality and Leadership

Guderian (left) with Hitler and other officers
Guderian (left) with Hitler and other officers

Guderian provides a brief and in many ways familiar account of Hitler’s appeal in ruined interwar Germany. Against the injustices of the Treaty of Versailles (most notably, military castration and prevention of self-determination in Austria and the Sudetenland by which ethnic Germans naturally would have joined Germany proper) and the impotence and division of the Weimar Republic, Hitler proposed a nationalist dictatorship which would “abolish unemployment and party strife.” Guderian says these aims “were entirely desirable and with which any good German must agree.” After listing the innumerable despots and demagogues which have seduced countless peoples, he adds that “the Germans cannot rightly be accused of being any more suggestible than other nations” (433).

Writing in 1951, Guderian notes in passing that the Austrian Question was lay still unresolved in the postwar world, as Austria “cannot exist without coordination with some larger industrial area; now it is to be hoped that a European economic union will solve this problem” (433).

Guderian provides a succinct character portrait of Hitler, hiding neither his appreciation for his qualities nor his severe criticism:

Of humble origin, limited schooling, and with insufficient training in the home, coarse in speech and in manner, he stands before us as a man of the people who was most at ease among an intimate group from his own part of the country. To begin with, he did not feel awkward in the company of persons of a higher cultural background, particularly when the conversation dealt with art or music or similar matters. Later on, certain elements of his closest entourage, persons themselves of low culture, deliberately awakened in him a strong dislike for those people of a more spiritual nature and with a socially superior background with whom he had previously been able to get on . . .

He had an unusually clever brain and was equipped with remarkable powers of memory, particularly for historical data, technical figures, and economic statistics; he read everything that was put before him and thus filled in the gaps in his education. He was continually amazing people by his ability to quote relevant passages from what he had read or had heard at conferences. “Six weeks ago you said something quite different,” was a favorite and much-dreaded remark of the man who became Chancellor and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. And there was no arguing with him about this, for he would have the stenographer’s record of the conversation in question immediately available.

He possessed a talent for casting his ideas into an easily assimilated form, which he would then hammer into his listeners’ minds by means of endless repetition. . . .

He possessed natural oratorical talents of an unusually high order . . . He understood brilliantly how to adjust his manner of speech according to whether he was addressing industrialists or soldiers, devout Party comrades or skeptics, Gauleiters, or minor functionaries.

His most outstanding quality was his willpower. By the exercise of his will he compelled men to follow him. This power of his worked by means of suggestion and, indeed, its effect on many men was almost hypnotic. (430-1)

Hitler was brought down by “his habit of underestimating other races and nations” and his murderous racial policies in the East: “If any single fact played a predominant part in the collapse of National Socialism and of Germany, it was the folly of this racial policy” (440-1).

According to Guderian, Hitler was too bold in starting conflicts (such as the declaration of war against America) and too timid in finishing them off (he laments the armistice with France, which prevented action against Suez and Gibraltar which might have brought Britain to heel).

Guderian outlines Hitler’s isolation and decline as defeat became inevitable:

What sort of man was [Hitler]? He was a vegetarian, a teetotaler, and a non-smoker. These were, taken independently, very admirable qualities which derived from his personal convictions and from his ascetic way of life. But, connected with this, was his isolation as a human being. He had no real friends. His oldest Party comrades were, it is true, disciples, but they could hardly be described as friends. So far as I could see there was nobody who was really close to him. There was nobody in whom he would really confide his deepest feelings. There was nobody with whom he could talk freely and openly. As he never found a true friend, so he was denied the ability deeply to love a woman. He remained unmarried. He had no children. Everything on this Earth that casts a glow of warmth over our life as mortals, friendship with fine men, the pure love for a wife, affection for one’s own children, all this was and remained for ever unknown to him. His path through the world was a solitary one and he followed it alone, with only his gigantic plans for company. His relationship with Eva Braun may by cited as a contradiction of what I have here written. I can only say that I knew nothing of this and that so far as I am aware I never once saw Eva Braun, though for months on end I was with Hitler and his entourage almost every day. It was obvious that this woman cannot have had any influence over Hitler, and the more’s the pity, for it could only have been a softening one.

Such was Germany’s dictator, a man lacking the wisdom and moderation of his great examples, Frederick the Great and Bismarck, a man going in solitary haste from success to success and then pressing on from failure to failure, his head full of his stupendous plans, clinging ever more frantically to the last vanishing prospects of victory, identifying himself ever more with his country. (441-2)

Hitler’s daily life hygiene was awful, holding late-night conferences, chatting with his secretaries until dawn, then waking up after a few hours’ sleep. This routine apparently worked up to Stalingrad, then he began to fall apart both physically and mentally. After the July 1944 assassination attempt, the whole left side of his body would shake:

His mind, it is true, remained active; but this very activity itself was unhealthy, since its mainsprings were his distrust of humanity and his anxiety to conceal his physical, spiritual, political, and military bankruptcy. Thus he attempted continually to deceive both himself and others in his effort to keep his edifice standing, for he really knew what was the true state of himself as well as of his cause. (443)

By the end, Guderian laments, “the demon conquered the genius.”

Guderian also provides little sketches of other Third Reich leaders, such as “the most impenetrable” Himmler, a polite, austere, and “inconspicuous man with all the marks of racial inferiority” (446).

On Leadership

Guderian also comments at length on leadership in his chapter on the General Staff, the body at the head of the Prussian and later German militaries, in charge of systematically studying war and drawing up mobilization and campaign plans.

Guderian says of Carl von Clausewitz’s classic On War:

This little-read but much-criticized book contains the first attempt to create a philosophy of war and to analyze its characteristics from a detached standpoint. It played a great part in forming the attitude of mind of several generations of German General Staff Corps officers. From it derives that striving to observe both men and affairs coolly and sensibly which has been the foremost quality of all outstanding members of the German General Staff. It served also to strengthen the patriotism and the idealism which inspired such officers. (454)

Indeed, On War is a remarkable and in some ways prophetic book on the essence of war, which especially in a mass/modern technological context tends to lead to radicalization towards extremes. The book is a long and sober meditation on a fundamental subject by a great mind, somewhat akin to Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America.

Retracing the actual influence of On War in Germany is a difficult enterprise. However, it is true that Clausewitz was celebrated as a great hero in the Third Reich and Hitler held up the great Prussian officer’s name as kind of totemic incantation to rally his followers to fight on.

Guderian remarks Clausewitz’s life was a humble one:

Clausewitz was never privileged to hold high office in wartime. He wrote On War. He was the type of quiet, retiring, scholarly man, often to be found in the German General Staff Corps. Little known during his lifetime, he was to exercise a great influence on future generations. (456)

Guderian cites General Staff chief Alfred von Schlieffen’s dictum: “Great achievements, small display: more reality than appearance.” (454) He goes on:

An ideal General Staff Corps officer might be described as possessing the following qualities: sincerity, of conviction, cleverness, modesty, self-effacement in favor of the common cause, and strong personal convictions combined with the ability tactfully to present these convictions to his commanding general. If his opinions were not accepted he must be sufficiently master of himself to loyally carry out his commander’s decisions and to act at all times in accordance with his wishes. He must fully understand and feel for the needs of the troops and he must be inexhaustible in his efforts to help them. (459)

Inevitably, historians have alleged that Guderian’s memoirs are misleading in several respects. He was hardly alone in promoting tank warfare in Germany and the Wehrmacht was not wholly separate from the exterminationist enterprises of the Eastern Front, such as the summary execution of all captured communist political commissars.

ORDER IT NOW

Myself, I could not help admiring Guderian’s attitude as a teenager. I even had the rather hair-brained idea of lending his memoirs to my grandmother, as if to say: “You see, the Germans weren’t all bad.” She eventually returned the book without comment.

Guderian represented the Prussian officer corps and an ethos that struck me as precious and admirable. I thought that Prussia’s was a unique tradition of manly service which Hitler’s titanic ambitions had misused, abused, and ultimately destroyed. In particular, the stated ambition of smothering Poland, a great European nation, out of existence struck me as self-evidently unjust, to not speak of the massacres of Eastern Jewry and the deportation of Western Jews in such conditions that these could only die en masse. After one blow too many, the sword of Germany had been shattered against the rocks.

And I feel I should give Guderian the last word:

At a difficult time a prince of my royal family once sent me a small portrait of Frederick the Great on which he had inscribed these words that the great king addressed to his friend, the Marquis d’Argens, when his own defeat seemed imminent. “Nothing can alter my inner soul: I shall pursue my own straight course and shall do what I believe to be right and honorable.” The little picture I have lost, but the king’s words remain engraved on my memory and are for me a model. If, despite everything, I could not prevent the defeat of my country, I must ask my readers to believe that this was not for lack of a will to do so.

This book is intended as a token of gratitude to the dead and to my old soldiers, and as a monument to preserve their fame from oblivion. (446)

Notes

[1] For example, Guderian claims that “The Polish Pomeranian Cavalry Brigade, in ignorance of the nature of our tanks, had charged them with swords and lances and had suffered tremendous losses” (72). However, historians claim that this is a myth – developed by the Germans and then taken on by the Poles themselves as a gallant sacrifice – and that the cavalry had in fact charged German infantry in a costly but ultimately successful delaying action.

 
• Category: History • Tags: Hitler, World War II 
Hide 154 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
    []
  1. Escher says:

    Hitler single handedly destroyed the future of Germany.
    Sad to see such an accomplished people reduced to such self-loathing that they welcome marauding Arab savages with open arms.

  2. German_reader says:

    Guderian represented the Prussian officer corps

    In that context it should be noted that Guderian, together with Rundstedt, presided over the Wehrmacht court of honour which expelled those involved in the plot of 20 July 1944 from the Wehrmacht, so they could be tried by the Volksgerichtshof. Some of those tried and executed like Erich Hoepner and Carl-Heinrich von Stülpnagel were ambiguous characters themselves (they had been involved with the implementation of “criminal orders” in the war against the Soviet Union), but at least they showed more courage and political independence than Guderian, who was loyal to Hitler until the disastrous end.

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
  3. Guderian’s memoirs are probably worth the read–I read them in the 1960s–although they may be bit tedious for someone not interested in military, particularly Second World War, history. Guderian’s biggest contribution to the Wehrmacht‘s panzer development was his insistence that all tanks have radios, even if most of them were receive-only sets at the beginning of the war. Organizationally, the panzer division probably owes more to Hans von Seeckt than to Heinz Guderian. Guderian was, however, by far the best self-promoter in the aftermath of WWII.

    Guderian’s most interesting conflict with Hitler was Guderian’s wish to drive immediately on Moscow after the Wehrmacht reached Smolensk. Hitler, on the other hand, diverted the panzer divisions to the south to help Gerd von Rundstedt’s Army Group South capture Kiev and inflict huge casualties on the Red Army. But the campaign season was late and the Russians were better prepared for the eventual drive on Moscow that began in October and ended in defeat in early December (Operation Typhoon). One of the most debated issues in military history is whether Guderian’s strategy would have resulted in victory. Maybe, but leaving large Red Army formations way back in the rear represented a huge risk.

    Guderian continued to clash with Hitler, resulting in his eventual removal from field commands and assignment as inspector general of the armored forces (a position his son held in the postwar Bundeswehr). Here he clashed with other officials, who wanted to build turretless assault guns (Sturmgeschutz) or tank destroyers (Panzerjaeger) instead of tanks. Since such vehicles were assigned to the artillery, Guderian opposed their production, but they probably represented a better investment to the German army’s mostly defensive operations after 1943.

    Finally, in Al Stewart’s song, Roads to Moscow, the only person mentioned explicitly is:

    Closer and closer to Moscow they come,
    Riding the wind like a bell,
    General Guderian stands on the crest of a hill.

    I’ve often wondered why Al picked Colonel-General Heinz Guderian for that lyric.

    • Agree: Thorfinnsson, Twinkie
    • Replies: @Franz
    , @Twinkie
  4. Cyrano says:

    I can almost see a thought forming in that degenerate’s mind where he believed that the only reason the inferior Slavs existed (in a cushy manner on some vast stretches of land) was because of the German kindness.

    Thanks to the German kindness who didn’t invade those lands inhabited by people who were inferior to the Germans for centuries – the Slavs existed on lands that they didn’t deserve – based on their inferiority.

    Luckily, history produced Hitler to remedy this grave injustice to the German people. The problem with this formula is that the lands that the Slavs occupied were not inhabited by inferior people when those lands were settled – otherwise the Germans would have out-competed them for those lands way back then, they were not inhabited by inferior people during thousands of years of history, and they were definitely not inhabited by inferior people when degenerates come to check on the native populations suitability to inhabit those lands based on their genetic qualities.

    By the fight that they put on, the Slavs (those who count for something) proved that they always deserved that land, definitely more than the ones who thought otherwise.

  5. Guillaume,

    You might find The Forgotten Soldier, written by a Frenchman who enlisted in October, 1942, a worthwhile read. Your quote at the end by Guderian about the dead echoes his memories of comrades in arms.

    Thanks for the overview of this book. Guderian is cited by the author of Superforecasting, who put a lengthy apology in the book for taking a lesson from the Wehrmacht. Also a great book.

    • Agree: 36 ulster
    • Replies: @36 ulster
    , @Ari silver
    , @Wayne
  6. @German_reader

    High treason shows courage and independence, but it’s hardly worthy of admiration. The postwar celebration of these traitors is the result of establishing National Socialism as the new original sin in place of Adam and Eve tasting the forbidden fruit of knowledge.

    There were a lot of 20 July Plotters and with varying motivations. Some of them believed, perhaps with justification, that deposing the Nazis would allow for a new government to negotiate peace prior to total ruin. But there were others who had been intriguing against government since the mid-1930s with foreign powers. These intrigues contributed to outbreak of the world war they ostensibly sought to avoid. Oster, Canaris, and Goerdeler come to mind.

    As for Guderian he himself merits much criticism, in my mind not because he failed to commit treason but because after the war he distorted the truth and even libeled dead men like Beck in an effort to bolster his own reputation for military genius.

    • Replies: @German_reader
  7. Some minor criticisms…

    De Gaulle is stated here as elsewhere to be another prophet of the combined arms tactics Guderian et al put into practice. He wasn’t; his ideas totally ignored air power, for example. De Gaulle’s emphasis was more on the creation of a relatively small, long-service army of well-equipped professionals rather than the vast hordes of hastily-mobilized reservists that had come to be the norm. That’s perhaps an interesting idea — but it’s not something that was put into practice by any combatant in the Second World War.

    I doubt if Guderian would have wanted to see a restored Poland. The author of this piece may see the suppression of Polish nationalism as an outrage; Prussians tended to feel differently about it.

    Finally, Guderian exaggerates — probably through genuine ignorance — Hitler’s lack of intimacy with women. While Hitler wasn’t particularly interested in sex, he had an extremely close but perfectly healthy relationship with his mother — see the remarks of the Jewish doctor who attended Hitler’s mother in her dying days on that score. Hitler also delighted in the company of his niece Geli Raubal, and was both deeply affected and profoundly guilt-stricken by her suicide. Then Hitler’s relationship with Eva Braun, while perhaps not one of history’s great love stories, strikes me as a fairly typical relationship between a great man and his mistress. Hitler was certainly no Lothario — I doubt he would have wanted to be — but he was perfectly comfortable with women and got on well with them.

    I think the emphasis on Hitler as lacking any interaction with others on the basis of equality is a tad unfair. What national leader of the era was different? De Gaulle? Churchill? Roosevelt? Mussolini? Stalin? They were all ‘great men,’ who didn’t have friends so much as followers and acolytes. Was Hitler different in some respect?

    The criticism of the deficiencies in his education and inability to interact constructively with the upper ranks of society is probably more justified. Hitler was an autodictat in the worst sense of the word — he formulated his ideas in isolation, without exposure to any source of intelligent criticism, and some of them were decidedly unhinged.

    None of this is intended to denigrate Guderian in general. I’d be perfectly willing to agree he was the greatest military commander of the war.

  8. Getaclue says:
    @Escher

    I find the article interesting…but I totally agree with your statement. I find it amazing that, even here on UNZ, there are those who think Hitler was some kind of great Statesman, when just the opposite is clearly true — I find it bizarre — his actions left Germany in complete ruins and basically set the world on the course of disaster we are now seeing with the NWO “Elite” carrying out their plans — Hitler handed the enemies of humanity everything they wanted and we are seeing the “fruits” of that daily…any worship of Hitler is retarded.

    • Replies: @Wyatt
    , @fnn
    , @Anonymous
  9. conatus says:

    Guderian says of Hitler:”Of humble origin, limited schooling, and with insufficient training in the home, coarse in speech and in manner”
    Yet Ludwig Wittgenstein went to the same school as Hitler.
    From Wittgenstein’s Wiki entry: “The issue has arisen in particular regarding Wittgenstein’s schooldays, because Adolf Hitler was, for a while, at the same school at the same time.[84][85]”

    Wittgenstein was from one of the wealthier families in Austria, so why did he attend the same school as Hitler who was ‘of humble origin?’

    • Replies: @Pheasant
    , @karel
    , @ivan
  10. Guderian was almost as good a self-promoter as Albert Speer. It’s amazing both lived to tell their tales.

    • Replies: @JoetheHun
  11. German_reader says:
    @Thorfinnsson

    But there were others who had been intriguing against government since the mid-1930s with foreign powers.

    Based on the belief that another world war would end in the total defeat of Germany, which in the end proved to be an entirely correct assessment.
    The 20 July plotters did indeed have varying motivations (and are often smeared in their entirety today for having had some mass murderers like Artur Nebe, who had led an Einsatzgruppe in 1941, in their ranks), but it should be noted that they didn’t just want to end the war by surrender, they wanted to keep the Wehrmacht under arms and aimed at negotiations, possibly a separate peace with the western allies. It probably was an unrealistic project with few chances of success, but it was at least worth an attempt.

    As for Guderian he himself merits much criticism, in my mind not because he failed to commit treason

    My point was that Guderian willingly participated in a court which handed over his fellow officers to be tried under extremely degrading conditions in the Volksgerichtshof (being shouted at by Roland Freisler etc.); so I’m not sure if that’s behaviour that showed the best side of the Prussian officer class.

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
  12. There are two other aspects of Heinz Guderian’s career that I forgot to mention in my earlier comment. When I read the official German history of the 1940 French campaign, The Blitzkrieg Legend, by Karl-Heinz Fieser, the two German officers that stand out in the drive north to cut off the British and French forces were Erwin Rommel and Heinz Guderian.

    The second observation is that the Russians seem to respect Guderian. The T-34 museum north of Moscow has as much display space devoted to Heinz Guderian as it does to any Red Army general, and includes a copy of his book, Achtung Panzer! Guderian was a great admirer of the T-34 tank and urged German industry to copy it. In addition, in the display space for Axis armor at the Kubinka Tank Museum, there is a long quote from Heinz Guderian. Unfortunately, my Russian was good enough to know it was from him, but not good enough to know what he said.

    Guderian had the reputation of Schnell Heinz (fast Heinz) and one fellow commander commented, “Your operations always hang by a thread.”

    With all their faults, I prefer Erwin Rommel and Heinz Guderian to Angela Merkel and Ursula van der Leyen.

    • Agree: Irish Savant, St-Germain
    • Replies: @karel
  13. @German_reader

    Based on the belief that another world war would end in the total defeat of Germany, which in the end proved to be an entirely correct assessment.

    This belief was also shared by many senior German government officials, including Adolf Hitler himself–hence his frantic diplomatic efforts once it became clear that Britain had emerged as Germany’s principle opponent.

    It should also be noted that much of the anti-Hitler opposition had somewhat shared aims. For instance, when Ewald von Kleist-Schmenzin visited the United Kingdom as an emissary of Canaris and Beck one of the requests was that Britain would cooperate with the post-Hitler government to liquidate the Polish Corridor–something Britain later went to war to prevent.

    In any case, if it were any country other than Nazi Germany we’d consider it scandalous for a current or former government official to travel to foreign capitals to beg their governments to oppose their own government with the threat of armed force in the hope that this would cause the government to fall.

    Some of the things these intriguers did additionally contributed to forming the powerful anti-German coalition that formed and brought about Germany’s defeat. For instance, the Dutch War Scare which Canaris fomented contributed to the Chamberlain government issuing the ill-advised war guarantee to Poland in March, 1939. If not for the British war guarantee to Poland, it’s quite possible that Poland would have negotiated a settlement with Germany. Indeed, Germany was even proposing an outright alliance with Poland.

    One might ask what these intriguers could have achieved if they’d lent their considerable talents and contacts toward working for Germany’s victory instead of its defeat.

    The 20 July plotters did indeed have varying motivations (and are often smeared in their entirety today for having had some mass murderers like Artur Nebe, who had led an Einsatzgruppe in 1941, in their ranks), but it should be noted that they didn’t just want to end the war by surrender, they wanted to keep the Wehrmacht under arms and aimed at negotiations, possibly a separate peace with the western allies. It probably was an unrealistic project with few chances of success, but it was at least worth an attempt.

    On this note probably the best thing Hitler could have done for Germany after the failure to defeat Operation Overlord was to commit suicide and have himself succeeded by a “moderate” or military government which the allies could respectably negotiate with. He did ultimately come to realize this, but of course far too late.

  14. Sean says:

    Hitler proposed a nationalist dictatorship which would “abolish unemployment and party strife.”

    David Irving in his The War Path. Hitler’s Germany 1933-1939 has an author’s forward on page v where he says ““The focus of my research fell on his years of power, and from 3 February 1933, when Hitler tells his generals in secret of his ambition to launch a war of imperial conquest in the east as soon as Germany is able, the detail thickens and the colour becomes enriched.” While it is true Hitler downplayed his rhetoric of war and conquest while he was seeking power, in Mein Kampf and at least one speech of the Twenties, he said quite openly what Germany should do is conquer Russia.

    Guderian’s accusation of Hitler being having an inferiority complex is reminiscent of Ernst Topitsch’s that Hitler had not succeeded in establishing himself in any profession before joining the German Army. His WW1 feat of impressing his officers as an exemplary soldier in years of dedication to duty makes this quite unsustainable (he was one of the very few private soldiers to be awarded an Iron Cross 1st class). Hitler was an Austrian, he could not his his light under a bushel and lead Germany, so quiet competence was out of the question. His supreme gift, which very much peaked in the Twenties, was in his bringing forward his ideas through a tremendous oratory of faith and will.

    It’s true Hitler had Bohemian habits (Speer said he often wondered when Hitler actually worked) but staying up all night or very very late was something Stalin and Churchill did as well. Hitler had an efficient civil service and could devote himself to his architectural scheme for Linz, and plans for conquering Russia. When he needed to Hitler came up with truly brilliant ideas all on his own such as the “military masterpiece” (according to Stolfi) assault on Fort Eben-Emael, he also accepted as coinciding with his own intuitions, the Manstein plan for the battle of France, and alone asked Guderian what he would do after breaking through, and when Guderian said he would drive through to the the coast Hitler nodded. T. Guderian was cutting edge at this time and although Hitler eventually took fright and reigned Guderian in at Dunkirk, the High Command of the army also wanted to restain Guderian.

    Hitler made two basic mistakes, first and most serious: he ignored all professional military advice to concentrate on a swift assault on Moscow, and diverted the drive on Moscow for two months. Second, he failed to demand an atomic bomb crash program, although this would have been overruling his scientific advisers. Hitler’s habit of assigning absolute top priority to multiple projects and refusing to set priority for the limited resources available meant his subordinates were loath to tell him about a wonder weapon for fear of being tasked with building it. Germany could have won WW2 and became a superpower, so it was–from Hitler’s point of view –a risk worth taking. German is shrinking demographically and being occupied by immigrants just as he foresaw a peaceful commercial policy within its own borders would entail.

    Not all who dare will win, but how can you hope to succeed if you don’t dare try. Guderian did not complain about the military build up just that Hitler actually meant what he had publicly said in the the Twenties. John Mosier pointed out that French commentators were said openly that at the Armistice Germany was very far from defeated and predicting a re-run of WW1 in a generation. Brendan Simms says Wilhelmine Germany was hamstrung by inability to heavily tax for military purposes, and the Weimar constitution was deliberately designed to make Germany better able to exert its strength, which it did. Hitler can hardly be called incompetent for a non-sustainable increase in armaments spending, the alarmed reaction was by Britain and France was more than he expected. It wasn’t military Keynesianism, because all along he was planning on using the armaments.

    Ahad Ha’am the preeminent cultural Zionist famously wrote that the man who takes precipitous action is the one who can succeed and conquer.

    In particular, the stated ambition of smothering Poland, a great European nation, out of existence struck me as self-evidently unjust, to not speak of the massacres of [Jews]

    The top German historical specialist on WW2 says Hitler wanted Poland to join in an attack on the USSR, but the Poles refused to do it. Like much else of great interest the details are in Simms recent biography of Hitler. According to Machiavelli “When it is absolutely a question of the safety of one’s country, there must be no question of just or unjust, of merciful or cruel, of praiseworthy or disgraceful; instead, setting aside every scruple, one must follow to the utmost any plan that will save her life and keep her liberty.” He also said that the leader must dissimulate and is never what the public takes him to be.As Gobineau wrote imagining Pope Alexander VI defending his son Cesare Borgia before his sister Lucrezia, whose husband, Don Alphonso d’Aragon, Cesare Borgia has just strangled) ” Know then that for that kind of persons whom fate summons to dominate others, the ordinary rules of life are reversed and duty becomes quite different. Good and evil are lifted to another, to a higher region, to a different plane. The virtues that may be applauded … would in you become vices, merely because they would only be sources of error and ruin.” This was basically the message of Machiavelli too.

    According to Guderian, Hitler was too bold in starting conflicts (such as the declaration of war against America) and too timid in finishing them off (he laments the armistice with France, which prevented action against Suez and Gibraltar which might have brought Britain to heel).

    Hitler always believed his life would not be a long one, his left arm shook to an extent indicating Parkinson’s disease and it is a fact that Hitler fell ill and was diagnosed with rapidly progressing hardening of the arteries just before the decision to divert the drive on Moscow. As with Cesare Borgia, hero of Nietzsche (Hitler’s favorite philosopher) Hitler’s illness was at the most inopportune of moments.

    The declaration of war with the US (and the order for the physical extermination for the Jews both came within weeks of the the failure of operation Typhoon. Had Hitler taken Von Bock and Guderian and every other general’s advice and destroyed the enemy army that would be forced to defend Moscow in August 1941, then Hitler having disposed of the USSR might still have declared war on America and ordered the extermination of European Jews in late 1941, but I think it would have been less likely. One of Hitler’s generals recorded in a diary Hitler having said in November 1941 that final victory was no longer attainable. It was a a case of of ‘taking up arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them’.

    Was Hitler–unbeknownst to the nation he led–a deeply flawed and strange human being? Yes, but so was Fredrick the Great, and he, unlike the Corsican Napoleon, was born into his station in life. To do great things you have to be an outsider of some sort with a different take from the establishment, and the people have follow you, which they will never do unless they think you are one of them.

  15. 36 ulster says:
    @TomSchmidt

    I can second that. The Forgotten Soldier, written by the Alsatian Guy Sajer (actual name Guy Moumanou) served in the Gross Deutschland Panzergrenadier (mechanized) division, an elite, non-SS unit which recruited from Germany at-large. His account of his service from the summer of 1942 to war’s end includes accounts of battles such as Akhtyrka, Rzhev, Kursk, the Dnieper Bend (Kremenchug), Jassy (Iasi), and the massive evacuation of civilians and soldiers at Memel on the Courland peninsula–among others. He documents the frustrations, deprivations and horrors of war on the Eastern Front but does so in an understated manner. He documents his experiences in such an up close and personal way that it’s sometimes difficult to locate where he and his unit are fighting, though the chapter title pages give one a general idea. Highly recommended.

    • Replies: @Da's Reich
  16. German_reader says:
    @Thorfinnsson

    Some of the things these intriguers did additionally contributed to forming the powerful anti-German coalition that formed and brought about Germany’s defeat. For instance, the Dutch War Scare which Canaris fomented contributed to the Chamberlain government issuing the ill-advised war guarantee to Poland in March, 1939.

    I’d have to look into these matters (and I don’t have time right now), but I don’t find that terribly convincing, surely this must have been at most a secondary factor compared to the annexation of the rump Czech state in March 1939, which proved that Hitler’s ambitions went beyond ethnically German territories. And besides, if Hitler had actually been deterred by the British war guarantee and not attacked Poland, it almost certainly would have been better for Germany, Poland, and Britain and France too, instead of an outcome where the Americans and Soviets controlled Europe.

    It should also be noted that much of the anti-Hitler opposition had somewhat shared aims. For instance, when Ewald von Kleist-Schmenzin visited the United Kingdom as an emissary of Canaris and Beck one of the requests was that Britain would cooperate with the post-Hitler government to liquidate the Polish Corridor–something Britain later went to war to prevent.

    That is true, restoration of the 1914 borders was certainly something that found widespread support among the Wehrmacht officer class and Prussian elites. But Hitler of course went well beyond that and liquidated the entire Polish state, leaving no room for negotiations with Britain and France (e.g. general Ritter von Leeb advocated offering the restoration of a Polish rump state to Britain and France in 1939/1940).

    On this note probably the best thing Hitler could have done for Germany after the failure to defeat Operation Overlord was to commit suicide and have himself succeeded by a “moderate” or military government which the allies could respectably negotiate with.

    Hitler had probably intended suicide from mid- to late 1943 anyway, there’s an interesting chapter by Bernd Wegner about this in Volume VIII of Germany and the Second world war (“Orchestrating the end”). But he wanted to drag out the war as long as possible, to win what he regarded as a “moral victory”, and maybe also to have as many Jews killed as possible.
    Anyway, imo it was probably very unlikely that a post-Hitler government could have gotten a negotiated peace, or a separate peace with the western allies. Roosevelt with his soft spot for Soviet communism and desire to re-order the world among American lines would hardly have been receptive to such an offer.

    • Replies: @dearieme
    , @Fox
  17. Wyatt says:
    @Getaclue

    From what I understand, Hitler made three great mistakes. He had hope the British would join him in any regard (never trust the English, ever), invading Russia near winter and declaring war on America—if he hadn’t done those three things, I imagine he would have had much, much more success in keeping Nazi Germany around longer than 13 years.

  18. Anon[233] • Disclaimer says:
    @Escher

    Both AHH and Kaiser Wilhelm must share the honor of such destruction.

    The finest men of two successive generations were destroyed, an ironic monument to dysgenics.

  19. Hitler was a political genius – I never tire of watching news footage of Hitler’s ecstatic reception in Vienna after the Anschluss – and an incompetent Warlord. He had strategic victory on his plate at least 3 times:

    1. Dunkirk, June 1940….Hitler’s 48 hour halt order saved the Brit army.

    2. Smolensk, July-August 1941….Hitler’s Halt Order and re-direction of most of the strength of Army Group Center southward into the Ukraine, when the road to Moscow was wide open, saved the Judeo-communist Empire. And

    3. in March of 1942, Japan offered to extend a projected Indian Ocean carrier raid all the way to Madagascar, seize the island, and cut the last Allied convoy route to the Middle East….Hitler replied, in effect, “no, don’t bother….go deal with the Americans, and we’ll deal with the Russians.” Had he accepted the Japanese gift, seized Malta to secure the Afrika Korps’ trans-Med supply line, and then given Rommel a real force instead of the pittance he operated with, within 3 months Egypt, the Canal, and the oil fields would have been under Axis control. Along the way, Turkey would have joined the Axis, most of the Middle East erupted into a pro-Axis uprising, and the Raj – with Japs on one border and Germans on the other – collapsed. Result: drastic re-shaping and prolongation of the war to Axis advantage. Basic problem was, Hitler wanted to destroy the Red Empire not the Brit Empire. More fool he.

  20. Sean says:
    @Haxo Angmark

    1. Hitler was not alone in the perception of Guderian taking too big a risk with a limited number of tanks available while the French were still fighting elsewhere. All the other generals thought so as well. It was Hitler who had sponsored Guderian’s panzer drive in the first place.
    2. Nothing to add, it was a fateful war-losing error by Hitler. Nevertheless, it was Hitler’s adroit political, diplomatic and military maneuvering and decisiveness in sending his forces into Russia that had put the German army at the gates of Moscow where it could bring to battle and crush the Soviet army, thereby conquering European Russia. No one else could have done it.
    3. German/Japanese occupation of Madagascar might have cut Britain’s routes to India, Australia and Southeast Asia, but not the Middle East.

    Had he accepted the Japanese gift, seized Malta to secure the Afrika Korps’ trans-Med supply line, and then given Rommel a real force instead of the pittance he operated with, within 3 months Egypt, the Canal, and the oil fields would have been under Axis control

    Maybe so, but Rommel’s reputation was made in the battle of France when the French air force was simply absent. He was sent to Africa partly as a way to keep the British busy and bail out the Italians. Mussolini and Rommel together made it a theatre that got publicity greater than its significance warranted. One has to wonder if Hitler saw Rommel as a crowd pleaser for the German people rather than a war winner under the toughest of conditions.

    The totality of German troops Rommel was actually given were not great (though he had some useful heavy guns) however the air assets assigned to the Afrika Korps were substantial and a massive reason for the success of Afrika Korps until 1942, when the quality and quantity of Allied airpower in the ME drastically increased. The German air assets given to Rommell were not available for the attack on Russia. For an economy of force operation contemporaneous with the planning for the absolute strategic priority Russia campaign the next year, Hitler gave Rommel rather too much in the the air department. If you look at the their careers, Guderian was leading the key offensives of WW2 and was halted by orders. Rommel ignored orders, but was halted by biting off more than he could chew. If you compare Rommel to Guderian’s protege Balck, it seems pretty clear that although undoubtedly a great general when things were going his way, Rommel was overhyped.

  21. @Thorfinnsson

    ‘… If not for the British war guarantee to Poland, it’s quite possible that Poland would have negotiated a settlement with Germany…

    I’m skeptical. Voluntarily making major territorial concessions sounds like a most un-Polish thing to do.

    Then too, the corridor contained not only many Germans, but also many Poles. Finally, Poland’s victory over Soviet Russia in 1922 (?) had left her with a grossly unrealistic idea of her military prowess.

    I can’t see it. More importantly, it can’t be denied that whatever Hitler thought he was doing, he was in fact engaging in a series of increasingly overt and unnecessary acts of aggression that led in a straight line from the reoccupation of the Rhineland to the attempt to conquer Russia. Whatever the details, I’m not convinced he would have halted this progression at any point short of total war. Many or most of his actions can be justified in themselves, but like the guy who keeps getting into bar fights, sooner or later you’ve got to say…

    So Britain could have left Poland to face Hitler on her own — or indeed, done almost anything. I’ll say the war still would have happened; only the details would have been different.

  22. Guderian gets it.

    From Jung:

    In comparison with Mussolini, Hitler made upon me the impression of a sort of scaffolding of wood covered with cloth, an automaton with a mask, like a robot or a mask of a robot. During the whole performance he never laughed; it was as though he were in a bad humor, sulking. He showed no human sign.

    His expression was that of an inhumanly single-minded purposiveness, with no sense of humor. He seemed as if he might be a double of a real person, and that Hitler the man might perhaps be hiding inside like an appendix, and deliberately so hiding in order not to disturb the mechanism.

    With Hitler you do not feel that you are with a man. You are with a medicine man, a form of spiritual vessel, a demi-deity, or even better, a myth. With Hitler you are scared. You know you would never be able to talk to that man; because there is nobody there. He is not a man, but a collective. He is not an individual, but a whole nation. I take it to be literally true that he has no personal friend. How can you talk intimately with a nation?

    • Thanks: Escher
  23. @Wyatt

    By “trust”, you mean bomb, and then expect to surrender…

    Most people would find “underestimate” to be a more appropriate term in that instance.

    • Replies: @Pheasant
  24. Franz says:
    @Diversity Heretic

    Closer and closer to Moscow they come,
    Riding the wind like a bell,
    General Guderian stands on the crest of a hill.

    I’ve often wondered why Al picked Colonel-General Heinz Guderian for that lyric.

    Having spent lots of research hours in newspaper morgues, I’ll make a guess.

    Al might have been a tot in World War II, or perhaps grew up later and was seeped in the newspaper accounts of “Hurrying Hans Guderian” darting this way and that during the lightening beginning of that campaign.

    They were almost as fond of “Hurrying Hans” as the were of Rommel, which might also be the reason for misspelling of Guderian’s first name in the press. Maybe Hans seemed more alliterative. The newspapers in the States followed suit.

  25. @Haxo Angmark

    ‘He had strategic victory on his plate at least 3 times…’

    Some comments here. With regards to (1), the halt order, note that it was actually issued by Rundstedt, and merely confirmed by Hitler. Things developed from there, and it’s all actually kind of an interesting case of dysfunctional decision-making, but it wasn’t just Hitler.

    With regards to (2), the diversion from Moscow, I agree completely. Driving straight on Moscow and taking it in late August or early September offered the Germans their only good chance to win the war. Here, one gets into Hitler’s tendency to seek incremental territorial and economic gains rather than striking for the jugular — perhaps a common failing, but a failing nevertheless, and one that as it turned out, Hitler couldn’t afford.

    With regards to (3), I’m skeptical the Japanese could have mounted a serious attack on Madagascar. Check out the mileage; then check out the longest distance any major Japanese amphibious assault ever covered.

    Even if one does assume the Japanese would have expended this kind of effort on what for them would have been a peripheral target (or that the French would have simply turned it over at Germany’s behest), there’s no reason to think the Germans could have taken Malta — certainly not in 1942. One look at the British defenses and the proposed Axis assault force, and one realizes Hitler was entirely right to call that one off.

    • Replies: @Haxo Angmark
  26. @Haxo Angmark

    “Dunkirk, June 1940….Hitler’s 48 hour halt order saved the Brit army. ” This view comes up often, however Im not totally convinced. Yes, destruction of the BEF would have been a significant morale blow to the allies, but would it have been materially significant over the long run — I have my doubts.
    As for Moscow: again Im not totally convinced it would have been as shattering as believed. There is the Napoleon example. Further, there is adequate reason to believe that Stalin could have kept the USSR in the war, without Moscow (esp’ if Leningrad had not fallen as well)
    Your third point is an interesting one: had Hitler set back Barbarossa a year & committed far more forces to Africa, the outcomes could have been quite profitable for Germany.

  27. So many ambiguities about Hitler

    Re Slavs, there were many Slavs fighting for the Axis as part of Hitler’s international forces … Hitler got on well with Poland’s strongman Józef Piłsudski until he died in 1936 … and to this day, some Slovaks have a soft spot for Hitler as he helped them be independent of the Bolshevik-leaning Czechs, ditto some Ukrainians for help against Russians, and some Croatians for Nazi help against Serbs

    And then there is Hitler and Israel and Jews. In the 1930s, 10% of Germany’s Jewish population was allowed to transfer to Palestine along with most of their wealth, to help found the state of Israel.

    In 1944 Hitler personally approved to be considered as ‘Aryan’ a list of 77 high-ranking Nazi officers of Jewish heritage or married to Jews, incuding two full generals, eight lieutenant generals, five major generals and 23 colonels.

    An important but little-known story is how Hitler saved the leaders of Chabad, now often regarded as the most powerful worldwide Mossad-tied Jewish organisation, involving Jared Kusher, Vladimir Putin’s ‘Rabbi’ in Moscow Berel Lazar, and 12 Chabad centres in China continuing the heritage of the Jews who helped Mao.

    In 1940, Germany’s Admiral Canaris and the half-Jewish Major Ernst Bloch, took part in a Nazi operation requested by US Jewish Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, and Jewish Roosevelt advisor Benjamin Cohen. Chabad’s leader, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson and a group were taken by first-class train from occupied Warsaw to Berlin, and then on to Riga, Latvia, before travelling further on to New York, Hitler’s indulgence helping this powerful Jewish-Israeli group to thrive into the future.

  28. RouterAl says:

    I also read Guderian’s book some time ago , it was an interesting read , his descriptions of the 1940 Panzer sweep across France was really well described. His most interesting comment I remember was his recommendation in 42-43 when things started to go badly for the Germans was to withdraw to the west bank of the Dnieper and stop the Russians there, Hitler disagreed, the rest is history.
    To me the crucial event in this calamity of WW1 & WW2 was in 1916/17, when there could have been an armistice, all sides were bankrupt, exhausted , and many starving but the stupid British and their Jewish masters started their push to get America in to the war. Unfortunately they succeeded eventually the British and their allies won , a hollow victory for them a huge victory for Jewish bankers. This lead to Soviet Jewish-Bolshevism and then to WW2 . If your read Victor Suvorov’s Operation Icebreaker and the Real Culprit and you believe it, which I tend to then you realise that in 1941 the Soviets were going to invade Western Europe but the Germans were forced to attack first. Unfortunately the Germans did not appreciate they were dealing with an enemy who was ruthless enough to starve 7 million Ukrainians to death to fund their arming the country , nor did they realise that in FDR they had a friend of Communism who donated free of charge and unknown to the American people , to the friends of democracy the Soviets, 400,000 four wheel drive trucks , planes , tanks , trains, tractors, ships ,aviation fuel even millions of pairs of boots . If only they had been that generous to us British.
    The end game of this Jewish subterfuge you can see all around you today , the USA is in turmoil , the USA and Britain and most of Europe are being invaded by unwanted people and every country is drowning in debt.

    • Replies: @MarkNiet
    , @karel
  29. dearieme says:
    @German_reader

    the annexation of the rump Czech state in March 1939, which proved that Hitler’s ambitions went beyond ethnically German territories.

    I came to that conclusion twenty-odd years ago. His actions up to and including the Sudetenland could leave the British government reasonably hoping that Hitler was just a Bismarck. The attack on rump Czechoslovakia unambiguously revealed him to be a Napoleon, with the consequence that he’d soon have to be fought.

    It seems to me that almost everything said by almost everyone else about WWII is hopelessly polluted by hindsight. It’s revealing simply to put yourself in the shoes of, say, the British and French politicians of the time, equipped only with the knowledge they had.

  30. @Wyatt

    Concerning the declaration of war on the US, what else could Hitler have done? The US was in a de-facto state of war with Germany since mid-1940 at the latest. The idea that once the US was at war with Japan, the Hemispheric faction in the US would suddenly become dominant is rather fanciful, even leaving aside the influence of the pro-Soviet interests. The war with Germany was the one the Globalists wanted, arguably needed, and was consequently unavoidable; there couldn’t have been any question of ‘peaceful coexistence’ (for any reasonable definition of either).

    • Agree: St-Germain
  31. LondonBob says:
    @animalogic

    Questionable in both cases that had the Germans pushed on they would have had success.

  32. fnn says:
    @Getaclue

    Yes, somehow Hitler forced the Anglo-Americans to become the absolute degenerates they are today. No, I think something more is at work.

  33. Pheasant says:
    @Not Only Wrathful

    Britain bombed Germany first and it was Churchill’s scheme.

    Try harder.

    • Replies: @Not Only Wrathful
  34. @Haxo Angmark

    1. The experience in Warsaw had shown conclusively that the appropriate role of tanks in conquering urban areas was supporting the infantry. Leaving aside questions of supply and the need for repairs, a repeat of the lesson of Warsaw against the French and British would have been even more painful and entirely unnecessary.

    2. Even in 1941, the Wehrmacht lacked the troops to engage the largest Soviet force concentration in the Ukraine and at the same time push towards Moscow. I doubt the Soviets would have cooperated had Hitler decided to ignore the threat of their then unengaged forces in the Ukraine.

    3. The navy had tried to interest Hitler in a focus on a Mediterranean campaign as early as 1940 to no avail. The Japanese were hopelessly overextended anyway and, after Midway, not even theoretically capable of taking, much less keeping, Madagascar.

  35. As I had mentioned several times before, an accurate account of WW2 cannot be written without acknowledging the (legitimate) impact of the breaking of the Enigma codes. What is not clear to me yet is whether they were passed on selectively to aid Soviet efforts.

    The British only started admitting to having broken the codes in the 1970’s. I think David Irving is on record as stating at the time that he now has to re-evaluate his entire understanding of the war.

    The reasons that this information was held back were multi-fold but probably most prominently is that civilian populations were sacrificed to keep the secret ( bombing warnings) and it even resulted in a purposely carried out disaster such as Dieppe. Added to which the Soviet’s could have accused the allies of withholding crucial information causing them untold casualties as a result. It also would have diminished some of the much exalted military victories. At one point author Anthony Cave (Bodyguard of Lies) wrote that military orders from Berlin to Africa were on Churchill’s desk before they were on Rommel’s.

    My point is that German Generals and Field Marshalls besides being profoundly shocked may have written different books if they had known that their communications were severely compromised. They wrote and died before this information became known. Post 1970’s historians too though mysteriously many appear not to have caught on to these crucial facts.

    Cheers-

    PS: The author should note that the term is hare-brained not hair brained. (as in wabbit).

    • Thanks: Voltarde
    • Replies: @Voltarde
    , @Colin Wright
  36. JackOH says:

    Guillaume, thanks. I, too, regard Guderian as admirable, and likewise the ability of Germany’s armed forces to conduct military operations with brio and intelligence right up to their surrender.

    One of my occasional speculations is how the “moral topography” (my made-up term) of today’s world, and especially American domestic politics, would have been altered had Herr Hitler confined himself to pressing Poland on German demands through diplomatic pressure and economic incentives. How much diplomatic skill does it take to get the Polish okay for an Autobahn to Koenigsberg? Probably a considerable, but not insuperable, amount of German diplomatic skill given the Polish leadership’s up-from-Partitions insecurity and pugnacity. Still, better than the fucking 1939-1945 European War we actually got.

    That “American domestic politics” angle I mentioned? Well, in my personal view, the post-1945 American triumphalism (hubris), the astounding and soporific expansion of consumerism, and the complete blackening and “cartoonizing” of the Nazi regime, gave America’s Left an extraordinary opportunity to further their own agenda. We’re living that agenda today. Too bad.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  37. Anonymous[208] • Disclaimer says:
    @Escher

    What a profoundly and immensely stupid statement. Hitler should not have tried to help his people, because he should have known jews would launch a full scale global war to keep Germans enslaved? Jews are to blame for their own actions, not Hitler. WW2 destroyed all white nations, not just Germany. And the blame for WW2 rests squarely on the jews who started it.

    • Agree: GeeBee, Lurker
    • Replies: @frontier
  38. MarkNiet says:
    @RouterAl

    It’s true, FDR was not generous to the British. But he and the pack around him were very cunning.
    “Roosevelt wanted Britain at war. He knew it would bankrupt the British and place them economically in Washington’s hands, which would permit the US to break up the British system of trade preferences that allowed Britain to control world trade, destroy the British Empire, dethrone the British pound and replace it with the dollar. Roosevelt was an enemy of empire except America’s own. From FDR’s standpoint, World War II was an attack by the US on British trade preferences that were the backbone of the British Empire.”
    https://www.unz.com/proberts/churchills-war-the-real-history-of-world-war-ii/#p_1_17
    And that’s exactly what happened after war.

  39. @JackOH

    ‘… One of my occasional speculations is how the “moral topography” (my made-up term) of today’s world, and especially American domestic politics, would have been altered had Herr Hitler confined himself to pressing Poland on German demands through diplomatic pressure and economic incentives…’

    …but a Herr Hitler who confined himself to limited demands would have finished up as a theater set designer in Vienna — not dictator of Germany. One can’t assume a Hitler who gets to where he is by calmly and repeatedly taking breathtaking risks and deciding to put it all on the big spin yet again — then suddenly backs off at just the right time.

    I’m quite sure Hitler had progressed to wanting a limited war against an isolated and weaker opponent. He’d actually been chagrined when he hadn’t gotten it the previous Fall against Czechoslovakia.

    He was going to attack Poland — had negotiations begun, I’m confident his demands would have been so exorbitant as to ensure Poland would never accept them. His only miscalculation was assuming that Poland was in fact isolated — that Britain and France wouldn’t fight if he attacked.

    • Replies: @Dube
    , @GeeBee
    , @JackOH
  40. Anonymous[326] • Disclaimer says:
    @Wyatt

    We didn’t get a vote on war with Germany. Roosevelt your crypto Jew pushed for war as did the half Yankee Churchill.

    Please also stop using our surnames and language.

  41. @Fluesterwitz

    ‘…2. Even in 1941, the Wehrmacht lacked the troops to engage the largest Soviet force concentration in the Ukraine and at the same time push towards Moscow. I doubt the Soviets would have cooperated had Hitler decided to ignore the threat of their then unengaged forces in the Ukraine…’

    But the Soviet forces in the Ukraine already were fully engaged — to say the least of it. They were involved in a desperate — if somewhat more evenly balanced — struggle with Army Group South and the Romanians.

    Then too, I’m dubious that the Russians had the ability to organize and sustain a major offensive advancing deep into the German rear in the summer of 1941; in point of fact, while they did mount repeated attacks, none of them went very far.

    So everything says — and the German generals of the time felt — that they could advance on directly on Moscow in August, confident that no dire threat to their flanks would develop.

    It’s impossible to demonstrate, but I’m confident that Moscow falling in August or September — a mere ten-twelve weeks after the German attack began — would have led to the collapse of the Soviet state. Germany could have mopped up a good deal that Fall and finished off what was left the next Spring. That was the one best German chance for victory.

  42. Anonymous[269] • Disclaimer says:
    @Getaclue

    Most Hitler fanclub members are German-Americans who barely know history. Others are people like @Wyatt who is probably a fake Irishman.

    They just serve Jewish interests especially the holocaust scam.

  43. Voltarde says:
    @Timur The Lame

    Amazon Prime Video has a recently produced Russian drama series (Richard Sorge: Master Spy) about Sorge’s WWII espionage in Japan on behalf of the USSR. Yes, it’s a dramatization, but the underlying historical events are still quite fascinating.

    Prior to Pearl Harbor the big debate in the Japanese government was the Southern vs. the Northern strategy. The Japanese Navy advocated the former while the Army advocated the latter. The USSR was relieved by the adoption of the Southern strategy (which focused on SE Asian colonies and the USA), because after June 1941 the Northern strategy would have resulted in the USSR fighting a two-front war.

    The British Navy (RN) was the mid-wife of the Japanese Navy. Like the British government, there were no doubt many communist sympathizers in both the RN and the Foreign Office. I’m curious about the extent of British military and diplomatic intelligence efforts to influence the adoption of the Southern strategy by Japan’s government.

  44. @Timur The Lame

    ‘… At one point author Anthony Cave (Bodyguard of Lies) wrote that military orders from Berlin to Africa were on Churchill’s desk before they were on Rommel’s…”

    Of course, part of the difficulty there was that Rommel tended to ignore his orders.

    Thus, the British dispatched the better part of their forces to Greece in the Spring of 1941, confident that German intentions in North Africa were strictly defensive…

    Then too, the best-laid plans…

    For example, the British were aware the Germans intended to assault Crete. They seem to have cleverly diverted most the troops being withdrawn from Greece to the island, so that the Germans would face a far larger force than anticipated…

    That one didn’t work out so well either.

  45. Dube says:
    @Colin Wright

    He was going to attack Poland — had negotiations begun, I’m confident his demands would have been so exorbitant as to ensure Poland would never accept them. His only miscalculation was assuming that Poland was in fact isolated — that Britain and France wouldn’t fight if he attacked.

    Yes.

  46. @Escher

    It is untrue that he destroyed Germany single handedly. He certainly walked into a trap in Czechoslovakia and Poland, which could have been avoided. The declaration of war against the US was assinine, it is true. But it is unlikely war with the US would have happened without a previous war with the Soviet Union.

    But we get down to the war with the Soviet Union. If he attacked the Soviet Union of his own volition, then he deserves any obloquy he gets.

    However, our ringmaster, Mr Unz, has written several articles about the Suvarov hypothesis: that Stalin was about to invade Germany when Germany realised it and got its own invasion in first. Like lots of aspects of WWII, it is largely ignored in the West.

    Until this matter is properly investigated and resolved, there can therefore be no conclusive judgement on Hitler.

    • Replies: @Matra
  47. karel says:
    @conatus

    Golden words of the loyal baffoon Guderian. The mostly primitive Prusians tended to prefer the military to a decent schooling.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  48. @ Colin Wright,

    I am not aware of Rommel being known for habitually ignoring orders save for the fact that he would have had a certain freedom of action based on what was happening on the ground. The most salient part of the Enigma de-coding in that theater was the amount of military supplies destined for Rommel that were sunk after departing from Sicily. It was truly decisive. Like arguably the whole war it was basically decided by material(e). You know the term, I don’t have the fonts.

    Cheers-

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  49. I first read Panzer Leader years ago, and it’s in my bedside bookshelf to this day. Incomparable. True, it is somewhat marred by the author’s tendency to emphasize the way the General Staff kept disregarding his advice and to point out how much better off they would have been if they had taken it, but even so, I am quite sure that if Hitler had not misguidedly relieved Guderian of his command, Germany would have won the war.

  50. karel says:
    @RouterAl

    While admiring your unflinched conviction that ” in 1941 the Soviets were going to invade Western Europe but the Germans were forced to attack first. ” I think that you are wrong. Stalin, just as does Putin now, was only trying to influence the election process in the US of A. It is remarkable that such a briliant brain of yours could have missed this obvious continuity of events. If I may, would recommend you to devote more time watching CNN to grasp this simple point.

  51. karel says:
    @Diversity Heretic

    I tend to prefer Dr. Mengele to either Erwin Rommel or Heinz Guderian as he saved many lives in difficult circumstances

    • Replies: @Diversity Heretic
  52. @ voltarde,

    Yes I am aware of the internecine battle for influence that occurred between the Japanese Army and Navy but I have doubts that the RN could have had any sort of influence in that matter. The Japanese basically put on a clinic showing the insanity that bureaucracies are capable of that anyone might notice right down to their own municipal level to this day.

    Britain basically created and obviously supplied the original Japanese Navy. But Dreadnoughts changed the playing field and Britain’s focus necessarily became concentrated to deal with the German menace which due to it’s economic power could disrupt their percentile advantage in big gun ships. For Britain having a superior navy ( being able to defeat the next two naval powers combined) was a matter of life and death. For the Kaiser it was an amusement because his natural strength was a superior land army. “Dreadnought: Britain, Germany And The Coming of the Great War” by Robert K. Massie is a good read on this topic (I am currently re-reading it).

    But back to Japan with regard to the rivalry, the Army at this point was bogged down in China. It was losing prestige. The Navy however was still glowing in praise with the resounding victory it accomplished at Tsushima which was highly promoted in schools to a cohort that were now of military age. Basking in the fact of defeating a white nation would now be considered a from of racism but I digress….

    So no, in my opinion thinking that the RN affected the Northern/Southern policy is a logical bridge too far. Ironically The Prince of Wales and the Repulse were going to go down to Davy Jones’ Locker in any event. Military stupidity trumps political stupidity on a tactical level. Political stupidity trumps military stupidity on a strategic level. It was ever so.

    Cheers-

    • Thanks: Voltarde
  53. @Colin Wright

    in March-April 1942 Madagascar was still controlled by Vichy France/selfsame who had just surrendered all of Indochina to Japan without firing a shot. The Japs could have taken it with a rowboat and 3 mermaids. When the Japanese, after Hitler’s rebuff, did a scaled down Indian Ocean Raid in early April, they did it with 5 carriers and a strong cruiser-destroyer force. Japs scoured the Bay of Bengal of allied shipping, sinking 23 merchant vessels, then routed the Brit Eastern Fleet: sinking a carrier, 2 heavy cruisers, 2 destroyers, and other naval units. They also trashed the Empire air and naval bases @ Trincomalee and Colombo, shooting down c. 60 Empire fighters and other aircraft. Total Jap losses: 7 planes.

    this, in fact, was the Great Fear of the allied strategists in early ’42: that the Japs would kick in the back door to the Middle East via the Indian Ocean power vacuum. And they had no immediate answer. After the Japs pulled their carriers back to the Pacific, and realizing they had dodged a major strategic bullet, the Brits – using a scratched together, mostly South African force – seized Madagascar in early May. Vichy defenses collapsed in 36 hours.

    as to Malta: Kurt Student, c/o of Germany’s paratroops, put both his divisions in Sicily during the early spring of 1942, along with gliders and tow-planes, hoping that the Greater Fool in Berlin would, for a change, do something right; Malta, whose ground defense consisted of one Empire regiment, would have fallen in one – albeit bloody – afternoon. But, Malta being Brit Empire territory, Hitler refused to give the go order. Subsequently, during August-November 1942 (exactly as had happened in August-November 1941), Empire air and naval units based in Malta severed the Afrika Korps trans-Med supply lines, sinking 80% of the shipping tonnage, including 7 out of 7 oil tankers.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  54. @Fluesterwitz

    Colin Wright deals with your #2. Re #3:

    the Jap Indian Ocean Raid, main battle, took place in the first week of April ’42. That’s a month before Coral Sea, and 2 months before Midway. The Japs had plenty of time and power to seize control of the western Indian Ocean, including Madagascar. As it happened, they still routed the Brit Eastern Fleet, which is why Churchill himself calls March-April 1942 “the most dangerous moment”. Hitler simply dropped the ball. As usual.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  55. @animalogic

    “there is the Napoleon example”. And that

    is precisely what motivated Hitler’s “Halt @ Smolensk” order. Originally issued in April 1941, as part of the campaign plan. It’s right there in Halder’s diary, after a session with Hitler, where one can sense his blank astonishment: “No Moscow!”. But Hitler (recall his 20 minute seance at Napoleon’s tomb, Paris, June 1940) misread Napoleon’s experience. Russia in 1812 was a decentralized feudal domain. Taking the capital city was useless without destroying the Russian army. But in 1941 Russia was a brittle, none-too-popular centralized totalitarian police state. Taking Moscow before the snow fell would have shatter’d the Stalin regime.

    • Agree: Colin Wright
  56. frontier says:
    @Anonymous

    Calling a sound argument “stupid” isn’t an argument. You don’t seem to understand that everyone should be responsible for their own actions and their consequences. What Hitler did was immensely destructive to Europe and Europeans everywhere, it’s a fact that cannot be denied. Looking at the map and the countries INVADED BY Hitler reveals him as the person who started the wars. Add to that the Treaty of Versailles.

    “Tried to help”?… well try again… only a retarded third grade artist can “try” actions of that magnitude… and he was at helm of the Third Reich…

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  57. @karel

    ‘Golden words of the loyal baffoon Guderian. The mostly primitive Prusians tended to prefer the military to a decent schooling.’

    Really, this is a remarkably asinine comment on several levels. We can start with the spelling. Then move on to ‘primitive Prusians’: Kant? Finally, military schooling in Prussia was decent schooling. That’s one reason they were so damned good,

    • Replies: @karel
  58. @animalogic

    ‘“Dunkirk, June 1940….Hitler’s 48 hour halt order saved the Brit army. ” This view comes up often, however Im not totally convinced. Yes, destruction of the BEF would have been a significant morale blow to the allies, but would it have been materially significant over the long run — I have my doubts…’

    My suspicion is that the strictly military effect would have been beside the point.

    As it was, Churchill had to struggle to prevail over more appeasement-minded colleagues such as Halifax to put over continuing the war without asking Hitler for terms.

    Had the B.E.F. been largely or entirely annihilated at Dunkirk, it becomes hard to see Churchill winning that argument.

    So Britain asks Germany what her terms for peace might be — just as a matter for discussion.

    …and it turns out the terms are very generous. Hitler wanted peace with Britain. Britain checks out of the war, the US has no way in, and Hitler turns on Russia undistracted and with access to overseas oil, chromium, etc.

    It’s still not totaler Sieg, but it’s an improvement over the historical situation.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  59. @Haxo Angmark

    ‘…as to Malta: Kurt Student, c/o of Germany’s paratroops, put both his divisions in Sicily during the early spring of 1942, along with gliders and tow-planes, hoping that the Greater Fool in Berlin would, for a change, do something right; Malta, whose ground defense consisted of one Empire regiment, would have fallen in one – albeit bloody – afternoon. ..’

    That wasn’t the situation at all. For the airborne effort, the Axis had one German parachute brigade plus Italians. On the Commonwealth side, there was not one regiment, but either three or four brigades and masses and masses and masses of artillery. And tanks.

    …and the whole area to be defended is only a few square miles…and the assault is to be supported by the ever-stalwart and reliable Italian Navy.

    …It was a recipe for catastrophe. Hitler’s refusal to sign off was one of his better moves.

    • Replies: @The Shadow
  60. Anon[367] • Disclaimer says:

    Hitler was a genius. That’s not to say he was kind, nice, rational, or even not evil or capable of evil, he was simply a genius.

  61. Anon[367] • Disclaimer says:

    General Heinz Guderian–he wrote the book on tank warfare. Read by Patton several times over.

  62. @Haxo Angmark

    ‘… the Jap Indian Ocean Raid, main battle, took place in the first week of April ’42. That’s a month before Coral Sea, and 2 months before Midway. The Japs had plenty of time and power to seize control of the western Indian Ocean, including Madagascar. As it happened, they still routed the Brit Eastern Fleet, which is why Churchill himself calls March-April 1942 “the most dangerous moment”. Hitler simply dropped the ball. As usual.

    I think all this misses the point. So what if Rommel prevails and drives the British out of Egypt?

    It doesn’t win the war. The Americans were suggesting the British simply withdraw from Egypt. Since the Mediterranean was blocked anyway, it wasn’t the route to anything.

    To think otherwise is to succumb to geographical myopia. Getting to Suez doesn’t get you to the Gulf oil fields. If you do eventually get there, so what? Think the British will have been nice enough to have left the pipelines to Tripoli and Haifa intact for you?

    You’re going to link up with the Germans advancing through the Caucasus? Everyone’s just going to magically bound over a thousand miles of unroaded desert and mountain?

    Yeah, Rommel winning is nice. Does it mean victory?

    No.

    • Replies: @GazaPlanet
  63. karel says:
    @Colin Wright

    Colin, it seems to me that you have serious problems of understanding the meaning of simple sentences. I did not write that Prussia had bad schools, I meant that Prussians preferred military to decent schooling. The clever Hans is a good example of this. His father, who was an officer, presumably nudged Hans to enroll in 1901 as a cadet of “ Militärschule”. I do not know about you but being a cadet is in my opinion not a good start in life. Prussia was then thoroughly militaristic orientated as documented by numerous accounts from the pre WW1 days. For instance, Neruda wrote that about half the population of Berlin that was running around in military uniforms. “Marschmusik” being played on every corner and the remaining civilians spent hours gaping at soldiers as they marched up and down the streets.

    I had to laugh as you tried to impress me with your knowledge of Kant. Well, Kant was a child of settlers who were in those days encouraged to move to thinly populated East Prussia. His mother came from Bavaria and his father, god knows, from where. It is not documented that Kant attended a military academy, which is an evidence that his impoverished parents were more intelligent than those of Hans.

    I am always astonished by the overdose of experts on European history who cannot read maps and speak no other language than English. Do you belong to this category Colin?

    • Troll: Colin Wright
  64. Anonymous[208] • Disclaimer says:
    @frontier

    What Hitler did was immensely destructive to Europe and Europeans everywhere, it’s a fact that cannot be denied

    Yes, it can be denied. WW2 was immensely destructive to Europe, and Hitler has absolutely no blame for that. What is it that you think Hitler did that is so bad? Hitler only “invaded” part of Poland, did so to stop ethnic cleansing of Germans in that part of Germany that had been handed to Poland, and what the fuck does “add to that the treaty of Versailles” mean? Jews started WW2, and they did so because they wanted to maintain financial and political control over Germany.

  65. Anonymous[208] • Disclaimer says:
    @Colin Wright

    So Britain asks Germany what her terms for peace might be

    No, they already knew the terms for peace, Hitler had already made multiple peace offers, all with the same terms. Those terms being Britain ceases hostility towards Germany, and Germany withdraws from all northern and western European countries. That’s it, there was absolutely nothing negative for Britain at all. If the British public had known what a war mongering kike puppet Churchill was they would have strung him up.

  66. @Colin Wright

    If the Germans had taken Moscow early, the supplies from Murmansk and Archangel would have been eventually cut off. If the Germans had taken Suez and the Japanese had cut the communications in the Indian ocean, the supplies from Iran would have been cut. If the Germans were winning the war in Russia the Japanese would have attacked and that would have cut off the supplies from Siberia. The Soviet Union would have been isolated, the war in the East would have been won.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  67. AceDeuce says:
    @Escher

    Yes it is indeed sad.

    If the Germans have an excuse at all, it’s the fact that they lost not one, but two ruinous world wars, and were badly mistreated by the victors afterwards—both times.

    The French, the British, the Americans, and the Canadians, among others, “won” both of those world wars–and yet they are on a similar path of self-loathing, cultural rejection, historical purges, and abdication of their country to Third World flotsam and jetsam. What excuse do they have?

    The Central/Eastern European former Warsaw Pact countries, who suffered far worse that most during and after WW2, chose not to give into such problems, and the Russians and the Japanese, who suffered greatly from the Second World War, haven’t eiither.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  68. @ anonymous,

    With regards to a peace treaty with England we must not forget the infamous flight that Hess had undertaken. It is still one of the great mysteries of the 20th century. A true Spandau Ballet crowned by a ridiculous “suicide”.

    I am personally convinced that this was a naive peace overture aimed at some high up Britishers that Hess was familiar with and it offered generous/reasonable terms in the hope that they could mitigate the amazing obstinacy of Churchill. His subsequent treatment argues in favour of those who state that the war was premeditated. If the British public only knew. The defeated Germans were eating schnitzel well before the victorious British ended meat rationing in 1959 if I recall correctly.

    I sometimes wonder if Hitler read some of the things he had written. Maybe Churchill was offended when Hitler referred to him as a ‘superannuated drunk’. History turns on the tiniest pivots at times. Just kidding.

    Cheers-

    Cheers-

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  69. GeeBee says:
    @Colin Wright

    He was going to attack Poland — had negotiations begun, I’m confident his demands would have been so exorbitant as to ensure Poland would never accept them. His only miscalculation was assuming that Poland was in fact isolated — that Britain and France wouldn’t fight if he attacked.

    I really am surprised at your remarks above, as you are so often very thorough in your analyses. I can only conclude that in this instance you have not familiarised yourself with the nitty-gritty of the protracted negotiations Hitler embarked upon in order to get the Poles to stop targeting – and in many cases murdering – German civilians in their own homes (homes in an area which, it is vital to recall, had been part of Germany until Woodrow Wilson’s iniquitous duplicity at Versailles).

    Hitler’s offers were made over many months of negotiations, and were generous almost to a fault. Quite remarkably so in fact. But the Poles were more or less under orders to refuse them by Britain (and covertly, by FDR and his (((minders))), ) who were determined to find any excuse to wage war on the Third Reich. Britain dragged France into what was arguably the single worst foreign policy decision of either country, which is to say giving an unconditional war guarantee to a country like Poland: a vain and unpredictable country, run by a swaggeringly arrogant military junta, with a totally misguided view of Poland’s potential as a military power. Certainly it cost Britain her empire, and no other White nation has benefitted from this debacle, with the possible exception of Russia.

    • Replies: @Dube
  70. JackOH says:
    @Colin Wright

    Well, my point was to claim that the “greatest generation’s” political sloth and political blindness after 1945 offered a soft target to the Left.

    What I believe the Left saw after 1945 was millions of returning American servicemen plopping themselves in their easy chairs within segregated neighborhoods, segregated school districts, banging on occasionally about kikes, niggers, fags, commies, while telling the little lady to fetch him dinner and a brew.

    They’d defeated Hitler, and regarded themselves as immune from charges that they were, well, a little like him. They weren’t immune. Although the Left rarely used “just like Hitler” to slam its opponents, America’s traditionalist-conservative folks really couldn’t muster successful arguments to oppose the Left.

    I think the key to that is understanding that traditionalist-conservatives felt that they indeed were defending ideas that were uncomfortably “Hitlerite”. Hitler, of course, is the most demoniacal, blackest evil.

    I suppose my point is one of those deals where you either see it or you don’t. I’ll note that a Princeton prof quietly published a book not long ago noting that German lawyers studied America’s racial laws prior to drafting those mid-1930s Nuremburg laws against Jews, and the Germans concluded that some aspects of America’s racial laws were stricter than what they were looking for.

    Yes, I agree with you, Hitler as set designer, architectural draftsman, or just about anything else would have been preferable to the one we got.

    • Agree: Colin Wright
    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  71. @GazaPlanet

    ‘If the Germans had taken Moscow early, the supplies from Murmansk and Archangel would have been eventually cut off. If the Germans had taken Suez and the Japanese had cut the communications in the Indian ocean, the supplies from Iran would have been cut. If the Germans were winning the war in Russia the Japanese would have attacked and that would have cut off the supplies from Siberia. The Soviet Union would have been isolated, the war in the East would have been won.’

    This is a good example of a common phenomenon. Once Europe is left behind, armchair strategists such as you and I must beware of losing all sense of distance.

    You equate taking Suez with cutting the supply link to Russia via Iran. Just take Suez and it’s as good as done. Yet in fact, from Suez to Basra is over nine hundred miles of desert and swamp — usually virtually roadless desert and swamp.

    Many have argued that the distance from the frontier to Moscow was just too great for the Germans to adequately supply their offensive; that the roads were too primitive, the railroads the wrong gauge, etc.

    That was six hundred miles — and inarguably a burden, even if I would insist not an insuperable one. And of course the Germans could easily apply all their resources to the problem. Yet it would still have been a challenge — was a challenge.

    Yet now, over a greater and more poorly roaded distance still, from a newly captured port of no great size, it’s just a matter of hopping on over to the Persian Gulf and its done.

    …and this leaves aside the point that it’s not all of Russia’s materiel, but only that portion derived from Lend-Lease that flows through Persia, and only 25% of that.

    So get to Suez, then accomplish the improbable — swiftly project significant military power right across the Syrian Desert — and what have you accomplished? Cut Russia’s war-making potential by 5%? And even that percentage won’t apply until 1943.

    Taking Suez is nice, and it’s helpful. It’s not going to win the war.

    Taking Moscow was a potential war-winner. Taking Suez is a tasty side dish.

  72. @JackOH

    ‘…I think the key to that is understanding that traditionalist-conservatives felt that they indeed were defending ideas that were uncomfortably “Hitlerite”. Hitler, of course, is the most demoniacal, blackest evil…’

    I think this is very important. The Right has allowed itself to be disarmed. It accepts fundamental propositions that give the game away to the left: all races are equal, if someone is unhappy, government action is the appropriate response, novel forms of sexual deviance are always good, etc.

    We can’t win that way. We have to have the intellectual fortitude to say, ‘no, blacks are not equal to other races and shouldn’t be treated as if they are,’ ‘no, we don’t think we should let more immigrants in the country,’ ‘no, public libraries should not sponsor celebrations of gross sexual deviance aimed at children,’ and so on.

    We have to say it. Insist on it. Not start off whining, ‘well of course I’m not racist, but…’ etc.

    That’s how to lose. That’s why we’re losing.

    • Replies: @JackOH
  73. @AceDeuce

    ‘… The Central/Eastern European former Warsaw Pact countries, who suffered far worse that most during and after WW2, chose not to give into such problems, and the Russians and the Japanese, who suffered greatly from the Second World War, haven’t eiither.’

    That might be precisely the reason why they are so insistent on retaining their national character.

    They’ve learned it’s entirely possible that it could be taken from them: that Poles will only be taught to count to a hundred, and Geisha are to be no more than exotic prostitutes, etc.

    If they want to keep being Hungarians, Japanese, etc, they intuitively realize they have to insist on it. We’ve taken it for granted that we can just keep on being American, English, French, etc. Only belatedly is it occurring to us that this could change if we insist on lying down and spreading open our legs for anyone who wants to come aboard.

  74. @Colin Wright

    In point of fact, the land area is 95 square miles and the island is 17 miles long and 9 miles wide. It’s not a postage stamp that could effectively be defended by a couple of regiments.

    In the run-up to the invasion when the Luftwaffe pounded the island, the RAF got clobbered.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
    , @karel
  75. @The Shadow

    ‘In point of fact, the land area is 95 square miles and the island is 17 miles long and 9 miles wide. It’s not a postage stamp that could effectively be defended by a couple of regiments.’

    Yes, but…

    First, you can’t just assault random points. You need one of the airfields, and you can only come ashore at one of the few beaches — and all these points were heavily fortified.

    Worse, the Maltese farms are these charming, rustic stone-walled little plots — unfortunately, instantly fatal to gliders.

    At Crete, the Germans — with a far larger force of actual Germans — barely prevailed against 20,0000-odd poorly equipped evacuees from the Greece. The Germans had total air supremacy there as well — and a far larger choice of points to land.

    Now you’re going to do it again — with half the force, against a vastly-better equipped defender who has spent a year digging in and who has a far smaller island to defend.

    I don’t think so. It was a Himmelfahrtskommando. That’s why Hitler shied away from it.

    Wise man.

    ‘In the run-up to the invasion when the Luftwaffe pounded the island, the RAF got clobbered.’

    Indeed. And actually, the Germans should have just persisted in that. The British weren’t Russians — if they couldn’t get supplies in, and the Maltese started literally starving, they would have felt obliged to capitulate. The bonus here is that the Germans don’t even have to wait for Malta to surrender. While the Germans were bombing it in earnest, it ceased to function as a base for interdicting traffic to Libya. All the Germans had to do was persist in bombing it for another few months, and it would have fallen.

    That — not some suicidal assault with inadequate forces against a massively garrisoned and fortified island — would have been the ticket to taking the island.

    ****

    I’ll point out another thing. Malta or no, German communications were so strained once Rommel advanced into Egypt that actually most of his replacement and a lot of his supplies started being flown across from Crete. The further Rommel advanced, the less relevant Malta was to his supply problems. Being able to land supplies at Tripoli is of questionable value if where they’re needed is outside Alexandria. Malta in British hands is still an irritant, but it’s not as critical as it was.

    • Replies: @The Shadow
  76. @Timur The Lame

    ‘… With regards to a peace treaty with England we must not forget the infamous flight that Hess had undertaken. It is still one of the great mysteries of the 20th century…’

    I’ve always been suspicious about that. I don’t think Hess just did it off his own bat.

    The reigning paradigm is that Hitler ruled by indicating where he wanted to go and allowing his subordinates to compete to realize his wishes. This is the conventional explanation for the absence of any written order from Hitler to kill all the Jews, for example. Himmler et al did what they thought would please Hitler.

    Well, that’s fine, and so we can blame Hitler for the Holocaust. But in that case, we know Hitler wanted peace with Britain. So then Hess’ flight would fall into the same category as ‘the Final Solution.’ It wasn’t an independent move so much as an attempt to realize Hitler’s will.

  77. @36 ulster

    I would also reccommend ‘Order in Chaos’ by , Hermann Balck,

    The forgotten soldier was a super read and got me to read every German front line soldier memoir I could get my hands on,

    Few got anywhere near Sajer’s book,

    Balck’s book is different, it’s on an altogether different level because he was an older man who came from centuries of military tradition and had been in the trenches WW1.

    • Thanks: 36 ulster
  78. karel says:
    @The Shadow

    Why do you respond to this fool called Colin? It is a pointless exercise.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  79. Dube says:
    @GeeBee

    Britain dragged France into what was arguably the single worst foreign policy decision of either country, which is to say giving an unconditional war guarantee to a country like Poland: a vain and unpredictable country, run by a swaggeringly arrogant military junta, with a totally misguided view of Poland’s potential as a military power.

    Unconditional? Note the term clear in the document, qualifying the carefully stated conditions for action, and meaning clear to everyone, thus very definitely preserving independent British assessment. It is a mistake to suppose that Great Britain was so inexperienced and amateurish as to allow a blank check in the matter.

    As to the emotive language regarding the vain and unpredictable country etcetera, that’s bar room melodramatics, so the next round’s on you. God bless and drive carefully.

    • Replies: @Fluesterwitz
  80. @karel

    ‘Why do you respond to this fool called Colin? It is a pointless exercise.’

    I seem to have made a new friend.

  81. KenH says:

    He was hardly alone in promoting tank warfare in Germany and the Wehrmacht was not wholly separate from the exterminationist enterprises of the Eastern Front, such as the summary execution of all captured communist political commissars.

    Those communist political commissars deserved summary execution for they were responsible for sending untold numbers to Russians to gulags and gallows.

    It wasn’t Germany who smothered Poland and liquidated it’s intellectual, political military elite. That would be Soviet Russia. Soviet Russia who summarily murdered over 15,000 officers in cold blood in the Katyn forest.

  82. @karel

    You can’t fool me! I know an Al Stewart fan when I see one: The Running Man.

    • Replies: @karel
  83. Matra says:
    @Verymuchalive

    He certainly walked into a trap in Czechoslovakia

    Yes, it was a sly trap placed there by the British, French & maybe the Jews. lol

  84. @Colin Wright

    You say massively garrisoned. Okay, exactly how massive was this garrison?

    How close were the German airfields to Crete compared to MALTA? How close was the nearest British naval base to Malta compared to Crete?

    Once you spell out these facts, maybe it could be possible to have a discussion about operations.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  85. @The Shadow

    ‘You say massively garrisoned. Okay, exactly how massive was this garrison?’

    Etc. Look it up yourself. Or go ahead and believe what you want to believe. Either way is fine with me.

    I’ve looked into it. I’m quite confident of my conclusions. You go right ahead and reach different ones. It’s cool.

  86. The facts that you refuse to acknowledge expose that those conclusions are founded on ignorance about conducting military operations.

  87. @Dube

    The British guarantee was only valid in case of a German attack.

    • Replies: @Dube
  88. Dube says:
    @Fluesterwitz

    The British guarantee was only valid in case of a German attack.

    Correct.

  89. Fox says:
    @German_reader

    The Czech rump state was not annexed, but made into a protectorate, the Protectorate. A solution and final settlement was to be deferred till later. Czechia was not involved in the war and was indeed a sort of tranquil island, no Czechs were fighting at the front (as would have been expected for an annexed territory).
    It is of interest that Chamberlain stated initially that the occupation of the Czech state was of no interest to His Majesty’s Government, but changed his opinion within one day, which is believed to be the result of Roosevelt threatening Chamberlain with serious consequences.

    • Thanks: GazaPlanet
    • Replies: @GazaPlanet
  90. ‘The Czech rump state was not annexed, but made into a protectorate, the Protectorate. A solution and final settlement was to be deferred till later. Czechia was not involved in the war and was indeed a sort of tranquil island, no Czechs were fighting at the front (as would have been expected for an annexed territory).’

    Reminds me of a joke (forgive me if you’re the one who told it):

    Three resistance fighters are reminiscing. The Russian says, ‘during the war, we blew up German troop trains.’

    The Serb says, ‘we blew up bridges.’

    The Czech says, ‘I don’t understand how you could do those things. Where we were, all such activities were forbidden.’

    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
    , @Fox
    , @Agathoklis
    , @karel
  91. JoetheHun says:
    @The Alarmist

    Speer was a master of self-promotion.He wasnt hanged at Nuremberg because he fully cooperated at the interrogations with Paul Nitze and told the OSS everything about how he turbocharged the war economy 1943-1945.

    • Replies: @JoetheHun
  92. JoetheHun says:
    @JoetheHun

    and after 20 years at Spandau prison he wrote a world bestseller that made him very rich and was even made into a US-network TV- movie! Funny how these things work…

  93. Wayne says:
    @TomSchmidt

    Guy Sager, “The Forgotten Soldier.” German mother, French father. Drafted mid-war in Das Gross Deutschland Regiment due to manpower needs. Great read.

    • Replies: @Fox
  94. Dan Hayes says:
    @Colin Wright

    Czech passivity turned into supercharged vengeance against German Czechs once formal hostilities ceased!

    • Replies: @karel
  95. Fox says:
    @Wayne

    Wasn’t Sager Alsatian, i.e, an ethnic German who has been incorporated into France through this inheritance?

  96. Fox says:
    @Colin Wright

    That’s funny, notwithstanding the fact that a protectorate is not identical to an annexed area.

  97. dr death says:
    @Escher

    I think you’ll find anglo zionists destroyed Germany. It was already destroyed before Hitler came to power.
    Hitler was merely an interlude, a last gasp.

  98. @Colin Wright

    The only ethnies that fought in WWII were the Yugoslavs (and not all of them), the Russians and certain Soviet minorities and the Greeks. The rest of the Europeans were much like they are today, supine and spineless, more concerned with bourgeois niceties of life than national destiny.

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  99. ‘The only ethnies that fought in WWII were the Yugoslavs (and not all of them), the Russians and certain Soviet minorities and the Greeks. The rest of the Europeans were much like they are today, supine and spineless, more concerned with bourgeois niceties of life than national destiny.’

    I’d say you unfairly omit the Poles.

    Then — unless fighting on the right side is one of your criteria — I’d add the Croats, Ukrainians, Latvians, Lithuanians, and Estonians to the list. After all, they were certainly more concerned with ‘national destiny’ than ‘bourgeois niceties.’

  100. karel says:
    @Diversity Heretic

    Sorry, I have never heard of Al Stewart. Give me a lead, please.

    • Replies: @Diversity Heretic
  101. karel says:
    @Colin Wright

    A good Nazi joke, Colin about ”protentokrat” Not surprising, as you are only capable of repeating stale old jokes. I guess the Czechs had to be protected in 1939 either from themselves or from the Nazis. Czechs are train lovers so that they blew up in 1942 one nice man called Reinhard Heydrich instead. Have you blown up anything yet Colin, apart from an occasional blowjob?

    I am surprised that Durocher has not yet written a hagiography in honour of the most remarkable man Heydrich. Why to waste time on that bore Guderian.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  102. karel says:
    @Dan Hayes

    ”German Czechs”, never heard of this chimeric creature. There were no such chimera as Germans who felt rather Germanic renounced their Czechoslovak citizenship after 1938 thus willingly turning themselves into traitors once they became the citizens of the hostile state Deutsches Reich. This stupid move made them after the war personae non gratae and led to their expulsion.

    • Disagree: Dan Hayes
    • Replies: @Fox
  103. Derer says:
    @Colin Wright

    but he was perfectly comfortable with women and got on well with them.

    True! Relatively young Eva Braun willingly died for him and with him. If that is not manifestation of devotion and love, what else is then.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  104. Derer says:
    @Wyatt

    From what I understand, Hitler made three great mistakes.

    Only one, the fateful Barbarossa. American joined the European operation 7 months before the war ended when Germany was essentially defeated by the Red Army offensive. Although that was smart opportunistic move to get the seat at Yalta conference and secured the spoils of the war. If I am not mistaken Germany is still occupied by the American soldiers.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  105. @Derer

    ‘True! Relatively young Eva Braun willingly died for him and with him. If that is not manifestation of devotion and love, what else is then.’

    My impression is that a lot of Germans committed suicide in 1945. It’d be interesting to read an intelligent, non-polemical analysis of the phenomenon.

    …parenthetically, did the same happen in Japan? Or was the emperor’s lead sufficient to turn defeat into a painful, but collective, experience?

    Suicide in France in 1940? There’s a thesis here…

  106. @karel

    ‘A good Nazi joke, Colin about ”protentokrat” Not surprising, as you are only capable of repeating stale old jokes. I guess the Czechs had to be protected in 1939 either from themselves or from the Nazis. Czechs are train lovers so that they blew up in 1942 one nice man called Reinhard Heydrich instead. Have you blown up anything yet Colin, apart from an occasional blowjob?’

    Maybe you’re not Czech. It’d be unfair to condemn Czechs without confirming that hypothesis first.

    • Replies: @karel
  107. @karel

    https://alstewart.com/

    Al Stewart’s most famous songs are Year of the Cat and Time Passages, both from the 1970s. He has a very electic repertoire, including a rock ballad about the fall of Constantinople in 1453 (Constantinople), one about trains (Trains) and one about Joseph Mengele (The Running Man). Roads to Moscow is based on the experience of Alexander Solzhenitsyn. He still performs although he’s almost 75. Hope you find him as entertaining as I do.

    • Replies: @karel
    , @Philip Owen
  108. JackOH says:
    @Colin Wright

    Colin, apologies for my belated reply.

    My pet theory that America’s Left has very successfully hijacked Hitler to turn him against mainstream Americans isn’t too far-fetched. Just a variant on the notion that America’s aggressive diplomatic and military provocations open the door to domestic political opportunism. Renaming French fries as freedom fries is a trivial example. The complete blackening (or nearly so) of fascism and Hitler is far less trivial—it’s a blank check to intervene whenever some bullshit “axis of evil” is defined into existence. I’ll caricature: policeman’s knee on George Floyd’s neck. Burn a city. Iraq’s Hussein bugging us. Destroy the country. Consequences be damned. (I’m venting a bit here.)

    Your “The Right has allowed itself to be disarmed” is correct, of course, and it’s because the Left has successfully appropriated the nature and meaning of Hitler (and fascism and WWII, all that) to serve its purposes. Corporate America seems okay with that, too, because that keeps conservative-traditionalist and uppity White guys from rocking the globalist funfest.

    • Agree: Colin Wright
  109. karel says:
    @Colin Wright

    Why do not write more for your so called ”website” to reduce the extent of pollution here on Unz? You will avoid the risk of other people making fun of the trivia you write. Maybe you are not Colin but some other Colin or perhaps a ”German Czech” as suggested by someone called Dan Hayes.

    • Replies: @Fluesterwitz
  110. karel says:
    @Diversity Heretic

    Many thanks for the link. I appreciate your sense of humour, which is so rare nowadays. In these days of widespread infantilism, people prefer to argue whether Rommel was better than Guderian. How pathetic.

  111. @Derer

    ‘From what I understand, Hitler made three great mistakes.

    Only one, the fateful Barbarossa.’

    I’d argue the reverse — attacking Russia in 1941 was the the best available choice.

    One doesn’t need to subscribe to the Icebreaker thesis, either. Russia had been making a series of increasingly threatening moves over the course of 1940, culminating in Molotov’s visit of November 1940, in which he made demands including the cession of an ice-free port in the North Sea (!).

    Germany had already found it necessary to send troops to Finland and Romania to discourage further Russian aggression against those countries. War was obviously coming.

    By striking in 1941, Germany caught Russia rearming and reorganizing, and took advantage of Britain’s momentary impotence. Strategically, it was the right move at the right time. The execution was bungled, but that’s another matter.

  112. @Colin Wright

    No, the best commander of the war was Erich von Manstein

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
    , @karel
  113. Twinkie says:
    @Diversity Heretic

    Guderian’s biggest contribution to the Wehrmacht‘s panzer development was his insistence that all tanks have radios, even if most of them were receive-only sets at the beginning of the war. Organizationally, the panzer division probably owes more to Hans von Seeckt than to Heinz Guderian. Guderian was, however, by far the best self-promoter in the aftermath of WWII.

    Within Germany, von Thoma was considered the premier expert on mechanized warfare. But of course v. Thoma allowed himself to be captured by the British in North Africa and became quite loquacious and friendly with his captors (most notably revealing the rocket program).

    The mutually self-serving post war cooperation between Guderian (and others such as v. Manstein) and B.H. Liddell Hart was ably exposed by John Mearsheimer (who later received much public condemnation for his book on the Israeli lobby as well as his criticism of Zionism).

    • Replies: @nebulafox
  114. @Caspar von Everec

    ‘No, the best commander of the war was Erich von Manstein’

    Quite likely. He certainly managed to execute some miracles; something Guderian never did.

    Other candidates would include Rommel, Model, Kesselring, and — so I’ve read — Balck. Less prominent figures who have impressed me in passing would include Rauss and Hube.

    As long as we’re on the subject, German generals I would definitely criticize would include Student and Paulus.

  115. karel says:
    @Caspar von Everec

    No, the best German war commander was actually Dr. Morel, who used to give Hitler orders throughout the war. Whenever the obstinate Hitler refused to execute the orders, Morel threatened him to delay the next badly needed injection of pervitin or cocaine, which had an immediate pacifying effect on Hitler by turning him into an obedient bleating lamb. Although Morel warned Hitler not to start the Balkan campaign on 6 April 1941, Hitler in Morel’s short absence pushed through this stupid attack on Yugoslavia, which delayed the onset of the ”Unternehmen Barbarossa” and ultimately cost Germany the war. Morel never forgave Hitler for this moronic decision as it ruined Morel’s visionary plans of producing antibiotics after acquiring a chemical factory in Roztoky u Prahy.

    • Troll: Dan Hayes
  116. @Agathoklis

    Surely, in the end, national destiny comes down to the right to enjoy the bourgeois niceties of life albeit in your own language.

  117. @Diversity Heretic

    He was due to perform near me in September. That is uncertain because of SARS2. I last saw him live in 1975. He attracted a lot of female fans in the days when Prog Rock audiences were 19/20 male.

  118. nebulafox says:
    @Twinkie

    Underrated generals:

    WWI: Max Hoffmann.

    WWII: Konstantin Rokossovsky.

    >The mutually self-serving post war cooperation between Guderian (and others such as v. Manstein) and B.H. Liddell Hart was ably exposed by John Mearsheimer (who later received much public condemnation for his book on the Israeli lobby as well as his criticism of Zionism).

    I actually think Hitler had a valid point when he insisted his generals didn’t understand the economic aspects of the war, and he recognized considerably earlier than most in the German government and military that conventional victory on the Eastern Front wasn’t happening. He was too mentally rigid to go forward from the logical conclusion from this, though. Ideology was certainly a factor in this, but I think personal flaws were more decisive.

    >P.S. Geli Raubal died in 1931 and her death was ruled a suicide.

    Stalin and Hitler were completely different men in most ways. Most of their supposed similarities were stuff they shared with many, if not most political radicals of their age. But I do find an interesting parallel in how both seemed to lose whatever shreds of humanity they had left when a woman close to them committed suicide in mysterious circumstances: Stalin’s second wife killed herself barely a year later.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  119. Fox says:
    @karel

    Since you bring it up, why did the Czechs renounce their Austrian citizenship and had their people lobby especially Wilson to believe their stories to bring about treason against Austria? And then the Czechs were seizing the German territories which had declared that they wanted to become part of the german Reich – together with Austria.
    In your own words the Czechs were traitors for wantonly working against Austria of which they were citizens, while the Germans who had been forcibly incorporated in the monster state of “Czecho-Slovakia” wanted autonomy, and after the Czechs in Prague played deaf, decided to work for a secession from the state that had violated their right to self-determination in the first place twenty years earlier.
    That “Czecho-Slovakia” is no more is the expression of Nature’s will which does not want to be manhandled by chauvinists, Czech or other, and dissolves the unnatural bond she was forced into. “Czecho-Slovakia” lost its value to its protecting and creating patrons after it had lost the purpose of being a fortress enforcing French and British interests after the setting up of the Treaty of Versailles, which was in its essence just the continuation of the ruinous Entente politics that led to the First War in the first place. Nothing was learned from the disaster the wrong politics had caused, and it was thought in Paris and London that business could go on as before. The Czechs -and Poles- were willing stooges in all of this.

    • Replies: @The Shadow
    , @karel
    , @E_Perez
  120. @karel

    Rhetorical question: Why don’t you listen to your own advice?

    • Replies: @karel
  121. karel says:
    @Fox

    You are a seriously confused man. I was referring to the course of events after 1938. If you believe that Germany should have been awarded with more territory after a lost war, then I cannot help you.

  122. karel says:
    @Fluesterwitz

    Do you want to ingratiate with Colin? Mind your own business, Witzbold.

  123. @nebulafox

    ‘Underrated generals:

    WWI: Max Hoffmann.

    WWII: Konstantin Rokossovsky…’

    Russian generals aren’t my forte, but I’ve read Vatutin (killed by Ukrainian guerrillas, March 1944) usually got the job done with half the casualties other Russian generals suffered.

    Conversely, Zhukov seems overrated. In particular, his obstinate hammering at Army Group Center in the Summer and then again in the winter of 1942 seemed to be singularly futile and bloody. I’d be tempted to compare him to Grant or Haig — an obstinate butcher who had the good fortune to be on the winning side and so wound up being canonized as a great general.

    As to Max Hoffman, no doubt he was brilliant, but my readings about Tannenberg suggest Hindenburg may indeed deserve at least some of the credit he was initially given. He seems to have intervened to steady Ludendorff’s nerve at several critical junctures, and he himself once made a remart to the effect that while he might not have deserved all the laurels for the victory, he was quite certain who would have been blamed had the battle ended in defeat.

  124. @Timur The Lame

    ‘I am not aware of Rommel being known for habitually ignoring orders save for the fact that he would have had a certain freedom of action based on what was happening on the ground…”

    I would have to research the matter further to be sure of my facts, but as it stands, I am fairly confident that Rommel was sent to North Africa with what was initially designated a blocking force to prevent the complete collapse of the Italian position in Libya. He was not expected to take the offensive, and his instructions — and the Enigma intercepts the British read — reflected that.

    The whole offensive campaign in North Africa was not something the German high command sought or welcomed. Halder referred to Rommel as ‘this general gone mad’ and noted that ten percent of Germany’s supply of trucks were now going to North Africa. Paulus was sent there at the end of April to report on what was going on, and eventually recommended that Rommel be allowed to go ahead with his plans — but it all really wasn’t what OKH had intended.

  125. zimriel says:
    @Colin Wright

    That just goes to Durocher’s point, however. Hitler loved German women in the abstract. He loved them for being a potential support of the Teutonic nation. He did not, after his niece, love any particular woman in person.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  126. E_Perez says:
    @Fox

    Never mind. This @karel is the only agressive commenter on this thread.

    This confirms my own experience here (in Latin America): Poles and Czechs generally hide their inferiority complex with respect to Germans behind boastfulness and agressiveness – exactly what started WWII.
    Their arrogance has no basis whatsoever in culture, technology, arts or philosophy, all of which they inherited from Germanic areas.

    Czechs forget that Prag was a German speaking city not so long ago, in fact it was the site of the first German university.

    • Replies: @karel
  127. @zimriel

    ‘That just goes to Durocher’s point, however. Hitler loved German women in the abstract. He loved them for being a potential support of the Teutonic nation. He did not, after his niece, love any particular woman in person.’

    I dunno. It seems to me that there’s an imperative to see Hitler as somehow grossly deficient or warped as a human being.

    I don’t see any particular evidence that he was. He seemed to have liked and been liked by those around him. He got along well with kids, dogs, women, his personal staff, old comrades…

    Yet people keep trying to find something sinister and monstrous lurking there. It’s as if we need there to have been some great personal flaw to account for the catastrophic effect of his actions.

    Well, we may need that, but that doesn’t mean it was there.

  128. JackOH says:

    “Yet people keep trying to find something sinister and monstrous lurking there. It’s as if we need there to have been some great personal flaw to account for the catastrophic effect of his actions (emphasis added).”

    Yep, and in my view, there’s no deep-think at all that select constituencies today and their leaders need a Hitler that’s grotesque, demoniacal, monstrous, with only the slightest purchase on historical truth. Jewish Zionists, American Leftists, and maybe in the immediate post-WWII period some American veterans wanting to assuage guilt over the destruction of Germany, and so on.

    The Hitler of historical truth has been in my opinion fairly well-covered by historians. The burlesqued Hitler is what governs popular and much elite opinion though, which is too bad.

  129. @ Colin Wright,

    Thank you and I agree with your initial premise. I believe though that after Rommel’s initial successes that a broader and optimistic perspective emerged in the OKH of perhaps joining the Eastern front from below, fomenting rebellion in India and of course utilizing petroleum assets in the immediate area. I can’t comment more in detail at this time due to my not having any.

    While posting I would also like to point out to no one in particular as per previous posts that when transplanting sports like fantasies on who was a better “general” as an example Manstein or Guderian please understand the difference in rank. The higher the rank, the more strategic the necessary perspective, and the lower the more tactical.

    Or in plain English, you can’t have one of those “who would have won” boxing fantasy conversations comparing Sugar Ray Leonard and Mike Tyson arguing hand speed.

    Now who wrote the more emotionally memorable book, Manstein, Guderian or Sajer? Sajer hands down.

    Cheers-

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  130. karel says:
    @E_Perez

    How should I respond to fool’s comments spreading lies, which prevail on this thread? I try to joke about them but fools usually do not notice it. I have lived in Germany long enough to know that Germans, unless they are neo-nazis like most commenters on this thread, tend to have inferiority complex after loosing two world wars. Not really surprising, after all. Yes German have invented everything, that is why they started rewriting history books in ”Protentokrat” after 1939.

    I do not know what Germany university actually means but the language of instruction at the Charles University was Latin in those days. The emperor was probably as much German as you are and I cannot tell whether you are so ignorant or try to spread deliberate lies. just tell us. Semi-educated Germans have spread such nonsense because they had no other university at that time and always believed that everything on earth belonged to them

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  131. @karel

    ‘How should I respond to fool’s comments spreading lies, which prevail on this thread? I try to joke about them but fools usually do not notice it. I have lived in Germany long enough to know that Germans, unless they are neo-nazis like most commenters on this thread, tend to have inferiority complex after loosing two world wars. Not really surprising, after all. Yes German have invented everything, that is why they started rewriting history books in ”Protentokrat” after 1939.

    ‘I do not know what Germany university actually means but the language of instruction at the Charles University was Latin in those days. The emperor was probably as much German as you are and I cannot tell whether you are so ignorant or try to spread deliberate lies. just tell us. Semi-educated Germans have spread such nonsense because they had no other university at that time and always believed that everything on earth belonged to them’

    All Czechs aren’t like you, are they?

    • Replies: @karel
  132. @Timur The Lame

    ‘While posting I would also like to point out to no one in particular as per previous posts that when transplanting sports like fantasies on who was a better “general” as an example Manstein or Guderian please understand the difference in rank. The higher the rank, the more strategic the necessary perspective, and the lower the more tactical.’

    This is often said.

    I wonder how true it is — really?

    John Bell Hood comes to mind — perfectly competent division commander, catastrophe as an army commander. I imagine Conrad von Hotzendorf might have a better reputation today if only he hadn’t been commander of the Austro-Hungarian army in the First World War — and able to inflict his military theories on that rather fragile reed.

    However, most of the other possible examples I can think of strike me as somewhat strained. After all, Rommel did perform brilliantly in positions up to army command — consider Gazala. After that, well…

    Was he supposed to win at El Alamein or in Normandy? Now, that would have been impressive.

    Don’t — as a rule — those who perform brilliantly in lower commands go on to also perform brilliantly in higher command? Obviously, the demands become more sophisticated — but is there really such a complete division in skills between the talented battalion commander and the gifted field marshal?

    Certainly some fall short when they move up the chain of command — but are the requirements actually different in kind or merely more exacting?

  133. Sean says:

    In France Rommel earned the distrust of other generals and became seen as a loose cannon. In North Africa, Rommel not only violated the chain of command but greatly exceeded his orders and overstretched his logistical elastic so that reverses were inevitable; by the time of D Day his star had greatly waned with Hitler.

    If Rommel had been more balanced in his exploits with the Afrika Korps then by the time he was Field Marshal commanding the Army Group whose area included Normandy, he might have got his plan to have the armoured forces held on the coast fully implemented. On D Day the Allied gunnery and air strike control was not working effectively and Allied success had much to to with the opposition units on the coast being third rate ones, so yes Rommel defeating the invasion was not out of the question had his workable strategy been used. But he hadn’t retained the complete confidence of Hitler, so that strategy was never tried. In a nutshell, Rommel could have defeated the Normandy landings and gone down as the greatest general of all time, had he been less of a glory hound in the desert.

  134. @Escher

    After you and your European super white race spent the last 200 years slaughtering each other, and the first half of the twentieth century in reducing your population by tens of millions, you should be grateful for the Arabs and Muslims who’ll try to teach you to behave in a civilized way, and learn to live with each other peacefully, and to drop and quit your arrogance that’s perfectly match your stupidity.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  135. @ Sean,

    Materiel (severe lack of) in Germany most notably petrol, them having already reached the crossover point (can’t replace army with able bodied men) and the overwhelming allied air superiority made ANY chance of Germany pushing back the invasion impossible, Rommel or no.

    If, by some inexplicable miracle they did defeat the invasion then they could only wait for the next one which the allies would make sure would be even more impressive. Remember “unconditional surrender” so no hope for negotiation. All the while they could enjoy 1000 bomber raids and watch the Russian steamroller move towards Berlin at their leisure by now having the audacity to mop up areas on their way to ensure a more favourable post war position.

    Any hope for Nazi Germany to survive effectively ended with the military stalemate at Kursk (not the defeat at Stalingrad) whereby it forever lost the initiative on the Eastern front and thus ended any kind of negotiation possibilities with the Soviets which might have remotely affected the Western front.

    Remember also that the USA had a ‘terrible weapon’ which was being perfected at this time. It was game over on so many levels that it is only mental masturbation to speculate otherwise.

    Cheers-

    • Agree: JackOH
    • Replies: @Sean
  136. @ Colin Wright,

    In my opinion there is a great deal of difference in requirements when one moves up in the command structure in a military organization. Read some transcripts on conversations between high commands on whether General X or General Y should be promoted (or demoted for that matter). They are fascinating in that they take into consideration many more things than battlefield success. Stamina, personality (important if you have allies) managerial skills to deal with a larger cohort etc.. all become very important.

    As an extreme example do you think that Patton should have been put in charge of SHAEF over Ironhewer? Of course not, different skills, different temperament. Patton was a firebrand and very good fighting General but he was an ultimate asshole, egoist, and obnoxious personality on a personal level (as well as the wealthiest officer in the entire US Army). He would have had the British fighting the Americans before they got to the Germans-ha!

    A good analogy in everyday life would be where ignoring the vastly different skill set requirements, a super salesman is promoted into management to reward him in his career path. The result almost inevitably ends with a managerial disaster/firing where tragically the person cannot even regain his previous super salesman status because of ego damage. The company had effectively shot itself in the foot twice. I have seen this more than a few times.

    My two pesos.

    Cheers-

  137. karel says:
    @Colin Wright

    Colin, thank you for spreading my message and good news to the Nazi-leaning badgers. Please continue this selfless, but deeply rewarding service to truth. I have the feeling that you like everything I write and believe that I have already gained here a sturdy supporter of my contributions.

    Sadly, I have often difficulties understanding the meaning of your words. I wondered whether there is a hidden cabalistic code embedded in your question ”All Czechs aren’t like you, are they?” I have spent whole night trying to decipher its meaning but could come up with any better answer than ”Please ask them.” Are you satisfied Colin?

  138. Sean says:
    @Timur The Lame

    We will never know if Germany could have had an A bomb because they didn’t try to make one. One reason was scientific advisors did not tell Hitler it might be possible because they knew he would demand one and didn’t want to be ordered to build one along with all the other ‘top priority’ crash programs they had been lumbered with. Diversion of effort you see. Hitler in many ways had a WW1 siege mentality rather that a belief in a first daring advance.

    See comment 14, the war was lost in August 1941 because Hitler ignored advice, above all from Von Bock.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinz_Guderian#Invasion_of_the_Soviet_Union

    Halder had Guderian fly in to Führer’s Headquarters to argue the Army’s case for continuing the assault against Moscow.[50] Guderian, who had just recently been vehemently opposed to Hitler’s plan for the drive to the south, unexpectedly sided with the dictator. This abrupt change of heart angered both Halder and Field Marshal Fedor von Bock, commander of Army Group Centre, and turned Guderian into somewhat of a pariah amid Army leaders.

    If Guderain had more strength of character, Hitler might have been convinced by the unanimity of the military professionals and allowed Von Bock (who was to show a flash of genius in Typhoon when if finally got started) to press ruthlessly forward ASAP and attain what he insisted was his objective. No, not ‘capture Moscow’, but destroy the enemy’s army, the bulk of which was right in front of him.

    The question of whether Rommel failed as as a commander at the highest level was asked. I simply pointed out that Rommel’s early victory in the Battle of France and mixed results in the desert came from violating the chain of command, and so by 1943 when he had a good idea that Hitler would have been wise to listen to, Rommel was unable to get a strategy that probably would not have worked, but was the best option for defeating the invasion, accepted by Hitler, who by the way did not mastrubate, not even when he was a youth. There can be little doubt but that Rommel would have seen things Von Bock’s way. In fairness to Guderian, he was not the only person to be mesmerised by Hitler.

  139. See comment 14, the war was lost in August 1941 because Hitler ignored advice, above all from Von Bock.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinz_Guderian#Invasion_of_the_Soviet_Union

    Halder had Guderian fly in to Führer’s Headquarters to argue the Army’s case for continuing the assault against Moscow.[50] Guderian, who had just recently been vehemently opposed to Hitler’s plan for the drive to the south, unexpectedly sided with the dictator. This abrupt change of heart angered both Halder and Field Marshal Fedor von Bock, commander of Army Group Centre, and turned Guderian into somewhat of a pariah amid Army leaders.

    This comment is entirely wrong if it refers to the August 22 meeting

    As Guderian tells it, he had compiled a stack of excuses about how the panzers were worn out etc., etc., that would prevent them from fulfill the mission to the south. (p. 198). von Bock was pleased.

    Guderian then writes that von Bock “finally suggested that I accompany Colonel-General Halder to the Fuhrer Hq; as a general from the front, I could lay the relevant facts immediately before Hitler and thus support a last attempt on the part of OKH to make him agree to their plans [to head for Moscow] (p. 198).’

    But just before he was to meet Hitler, Brauchitsch orders that “‘I forbid you to to mention the question of Moscow to the Fuhrer. The operation to the south has been orderer. The problem now is simply how it is to be carried out. Discussion is pointless’” (p. 199).

    True to his character, sneaky Heinz got around to it anyway. For after he described how exhausted the troops were and how worn out their equipment was and needed maintenance that was designed to convince Hitler they were not up for the operation to the south, Hitler asked him: “‘In view of their past performance, do you consider that your troops are capable of making another great effort.’”

    “I replied; ‘If the troops are given a major objective, the importance of which is apparent to every soldier.’”

    “Hitler then said: ‘You mean, of course, Moscow.’”

    “I answered; ‘Yes. Since you have broached the subject, let me give you the reasons for my opinions.’” (p. 199)

    So like a great lawyer, sneaky Heinz obeyed orders and did not raise the question of Moscow with Hitler, but got Hitler to raise it for him by how he presented the “facts” to him.

    Of course, it was a bit unclear how the worn out tanks (he said he needed 300 replacement engines) would be miraculously rejuvenated to enable his men to accomplish that great mission. It was even more mysterious how they accomplished the Kiev encirclement that netted over 600,000 POWs without their getting the rest Guderian said they needed.

    This is just one example of how the generals tried outwitting Hitler to enable them to carry out their plans in opposition to Hitler’s that they, of course derided (at least after they lost the war).

    And just to be clear in case anyone misses it, by setting the record straight I am not taking sides in their argument.

    • Replies: @Sean
  140. Sean says:
    @The Shadow

    1. Whatever they privately thought of him, for the generals Hitler was the Fuhrer, and the original plan was one he had the last word on; in accordance with his wishes the stated intent of the plan involved Leningrad and was never to go straight at Moscow. The generals quietly accepted the plan (which had a timetable of a couple of months), but they thought and intended to go for Moscow with the North and South army groups having the mission of supporting by preventing interference with the drive on Moscow and a decisive battle. The army counted on the war developing so as to make what to them was such obvious strategy impossible to avoid. Guderian was on board with this consensus among military professionals, which was based on the result of war game simulations and preliminary studies.

    2. He was not alone in getting them, but Guderian got probably the greatest secret loyalty payments of any general, and he also asked for and got additional valuable emoluments such as not paying tax on the large estate he bought with the money Hitler gave him.

    3. When he came back from the meeting his superior Von Bock had dispatched him to with Hitler, Guderian acted as if, and as good as told Von Bock (who was not someone easy to serve under) that he Guderian was Hitler’s right hand man doing Hitler’s bidding in going South, and Von Bock had to give up to Guderian more armour by taking it from the positions in front of Moscow for the top priority operation in the South that Guderian was in charge of. So Guderian altered his position on Moscow, and violated the chain of command. Whether 2 has any bearing on that or not, it certainly would explain some things, because the payments were for loyalty to Hitler.

  141. @Sean

    He was as slippery as an eel.

  142. @Fox

    Edvard Benes and Roosevelt were part of that high-level fellow-travelling Freemasonry.

  143. ivan says:
    @conatus

    The Jew of Linz by Kimbereley Cornish, is an interesting book on the schooldays of both Wittgenstein and Hitler. The book is mainly about the philosophical difference between ‘one mind’ and ‘many minds’ and how these ideas manifested themselves in the work of these men.

    https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/1062575.The_Jew_of_Linz

  144. @Sean

    But later in the war didn’t Guderian clash, sometimes nearly violently, with Hitler, and was removed from command? My understanding is that Erich von Manstein, a very gifted tactician, was “never at his best in dealing with the Fuehrer.” Although he was later removed from command and retired, while Guderian become Inspector General of the Armored Forces.

    • Replies: @eD
  145. eD says:
    @Diversity Heretic

    Guderian was Chief of Staff of the German army in the second half of 1944 and early 1945.

    • Replies: @Sean
  146. Sean says:
    @eD

    In Barbarossa Guderian’s immediate superior was Von Kluge, who was himself responsible to Army Group Centre Field Marshal von Bock. None of these three were a good fit to work well together. Without orders from Von Bock and despite being ordered by Von Kluge not to, Guderian crossed the Dnieper river without waiting for the slower non motorized forces to catch up. and crushing the main body of the Soviets, Hitler began toying with his old idea of Army Group Centre taking Leningrad, but within a fortnight decided on halting the drive on Moscow to deal with the strong Soviet forces in Ukraine, which only happened in September 1941. The drive on Moscow only restarted in October 1941.

    Kluge like all top generals (that were not in the Hitler HQ entourage), was adamant on going straight for Moscow as fast a possible, but switched feet and spoke for the southern diversion from Moscow (that Guderian originally opposed along with Von Bock) entailing von Kluge’s force being detached from Army Group Centre, which may have been to get away from being under Von Bock, but Kluge ended up not going south. Von Bock and Guderian thought Kluge had been too slow in Typhoon. Replacing the ill Von Bock in winter 1941, Kluge successfully requested Hitler dismiss Guderian for a withdrawal that left Kluge’s other forces in front of Moscow exposed.

    To renovate his estates, Kluge got a massive gift from Hitler in 1942, he was alone among the top generals at Hitler’s pre Kursk conference in urging the offensive ought to be gone ahead with. Guderian was the most strongly opposed. In 1943 Guderian was given a huge (though not as huge as he had asked for) estate, his family had already reclaimed their ancestral one in 1939 when Poland was invaded. Later, when chief of staff and also armoured forces inspector, Guderian made sure Von Kluge had less than generous provision of tanks for the fighting in France in 1944.

    Hitler’s aim in trying to conquer Russia was to stop the hemorrhage of Germany’s most valuable blood by providing the best Germans with an alternative to emigrating to America. Hitler was a personally selfless individual who transfered all his desire for self aggrandizement to his country. He was thinking in terms of future generations of Germans. His generals’ greed was less sublimated, and their doubts about Hitler’s eccentric idea of ignoring Moscow were easily modified by emoluments, especially enhancement of their personal ‘living space’.

  147. @Wael Ahmad

    ‘After you and your European super white race spent the last 200 years slaughtering each other, and the first half of the twentieth century in reducing your population by tens of millions, you should be grateful for the Arabs and Muslims who’ll try to teach you to behave in a civilized way, and learn to live with each other peacefully, and to drop and quit your arrogance that’s perfectly match your stupidity.’

    So…if I have this aright, we should learn form the example the Arabs and Muslims set us over the last two hundred years?

    You’re sure about that?

  148. [1] For example, Guderian claims that “The Polish Pomeranian Cavalry Brigade, in ignorance of the nature of our tanks, had charged them with swords and lances and had suffered tremendous losses” (72). However, historians claim that this is a myth – developed by the Germans and then taken on by the Poles themselves as a gallant sacrifice – and that the cavalry had in fact charged German infantry in a costly but ultimately successful delaying action.

    Nobody charged the Germans with lances. Poles, even if they wanted to, could not do so, because no cavalry regiment had lances in their war equipment. ( Lances appeared only during ceremonial military parades ). I really doubt Guderian didn’t know about this.

    It was a myth based on Mr Montanelli story from the battleground of Krojanty.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charge_at_Krojanty
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indro_Montanelli

    It was allegedly him who reported about the Skirmish of Krojanty and created a myth from it.

    https://panzerworld.com/poland-1939#polish-cavalry-charges-against-tanks

  149. @Thorfinnsson

    Duh. But that would have been the best thing Hitler could have done for Germany at any point after 1933. Definitely after September 1941.

  150. @Thorfinnsson

    On this note probably the best thing Hitler could have done for Germany after the failure to defeat Operation Overlord was to commit suicide and have himself succeeded by a “moderate” or military government which the allies could respectably negotiate with. He did ultimately come to realize this, but of course far too late.

    The West had no intention of negotiating with any German Government, Hitler or not, which they made abundantly clear. Hitler was not the problem, it was what he represented. A free and independent Germany.

    Hitler killed himself because his orders were no longer being followed and the war irrevocably lost. He urged his successors to continue the fight. He full well knew it was a life and death struggle with no in between option. And he was right. Germany might as well have committed suicide in 1945, down to the last man, woman and child. That’s where they are heading right now. The only survivors being those willing to live as slaves.

    If the ignorant generals had realized the same they might have finally managed to bleed the USSR white and force a negotiated peace. Instead they wanted to “save” their soldiers by surrendering to the democratic butchers.

Current Commenter
says:

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone


 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments have been licensed to The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Guillaume Durocher Comments via RSS