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Old 6th April 2018, 07:49 PM   #1
Travis
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How competent were the Nazis?

So, since the election of Trump I've been reading all I can on the Nazis. Seems like a prudent thing to do. Currently I'm halfway through the Nikolaus Wachsmann book KL which is an astonishingly detailed blow by blow over how the concentration camp system evolved.

In it I found that my previous conceptions of the system of camps was mistaken. Instead of being a top down plan it was a thing that just happened because the SA couldn't help themselves and started rounding up people. Leaving the Nazi leadership to figure out what to do with them. For a long time they just stumbled along more intent on retribution than order.

And this book in conjunction with several others is revealing to me that the Nazis were not the methodical planners I imagined. They were largely incompetent, attracted to the party in large part because it was somewhere losers could thrive by simply being brutish.

So were the Nazis just the violent idiots of Germany, kept aloft by a larger image of German efficiency and planning?

How competent were the Nazis?
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Old 6th April 2018, 08:10 PM   #2
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Like most large groups, it varies. And you're conflating competent with organized.

They took over a country without ever gaining a majority of popular support. There's a whole set of competencies right there. And they may not have been very organized about persecuting and exterminating minorities, but they sure turned out to be pretty good at it anyway.

Or take von Braun: He wasn't an ideological Nazi, but he was certainly a competent one. And probably pretty organized, too. Applied rocketry isn't really a haphazard activity.

And the military staff seems pretty competent, as soldiers go. Ultimately they were dominated by Hitler, who was quite incompetent in a lot of things. But he was obviously quite competent in a few very important things.

And I think Goebbels is still widely considered to have been quite a competent propagandist.

So. Based on your reading, what's the over/under on the US becoming the Fourth Reich before California completes its initial stretch of HSR?
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Old 6th April 2018, 08:29 PM   #3
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Every actual historical account I've ever read suggested that the image of "Nazi Efficiency" is vastly over rated, in much the same way that no Mussolini didn't actually make the trains run on time.

http://www.cracked.com/article_21091...bout-wwii.html

Quote:
Pop culture has consistently depicted the Third Reich as a cruel, coldly calculating computer. Say what you will about the content of their lists, they were, at the least, impeccably organized. (And probably at least five items long, as all good list makers know is necessary.) It's almost impossible to picture Nazi Germany as anything other than a disturbingly efficient bureaucratic superpower.

Why It's (censored)

It's absolutely true that Germany's government was a well-oiled machine ... before the Nazis came along and threw a big ol' Aryan super-wrench into its gears.

Back when Hitler wasn't much more than a Mussolini fanboy, the German government was ticking along about as well as a post-war, pre-Depression era government could be expected to. They were keeping up with their reparation payments from World War I, their currency was stabilizing -- the I's were dotted, the T's were crossed, and everything was in order. But then the Third Reich came along, slapped all those nerd-papers into the air, and walked away laughing.

While it's true that the Nazis had a ton of paperwork, no one ever said that they were any good at it. The Nazi government was all about a political agenda and not so much about administration; from its very beginnings, it was a bureaucratic nightmare that completely destabilized itself through extreme politicization, intergovernmental conflicts, and other problems that didn't even exist in Germany until the Nazis came to power. Even the very poster child of unfeeling bureaucracy, the Gestapo, was an absolute mess. They were consistently and embarrassingly understaffed, and if it wasn't for the German public pulling Gestapo horror stories out of their asses, they'd have seen their influence crumble quicker than a certain young artist's career.
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Old 6th April 2018, 08:46 PM   #4
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Well, they lost the war so.... I’m gonna say: not very competent.
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Old 6th April 2018, 08:49 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Like most large groups, it varies. And you're conflating competent with organized.

They took over a country without ever gaining a majority of popular support. There's a whole set of competencies right there. And they may not have been very organized about persecuting and exterminating minorities, but they sure turned out to be pretty good at it anyway.

Or take von Braun: He wasn't an ideological Nazi, but he was certainly a competent one. And probably pretty organized, too. Applied rocketry isn't really a haphazard activity.

And the military staff seems pretty competent, as soldiers go. Ultimately they were dominated by Hitler, who was quite incompetent in a lot of things. But he was obviously quite competent in a few very important things.

And I think Goebbels is still widely considered to have been quite a competent propagandist.

So. Based on your reading, what's the over/under on the US becoming the Fourth Reich before California completes its initial stretch of HSR?
Unless a few very specific cultural changes happening (like some equivalent of the SA appearing) the HSR will be finished first. The longer Trump stumbles along the more I feel the rise of a Fourth Reich will need to get Pence in there along with a very far right Congress to enable him.

But on topic I found the topic of the brickworks at Oranienburg to be illustrative. Enormous efforts by slave laborers to build a factory that consumed more bricks than it ever produced. All because the SS refused to consult with "nerds" over how to do things properly.
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Old 6th April 2018, 09:02 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Ron_Tomkins View Post
Well, they lost the war so.... Iím gonna say: not very competent.
Look at the amount of effort it took, the number of nations and the years of effort. I'd say Nazi Germany did pretty well, all things considered.
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Old 6th April 2018, 09:13 PM   #7
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Is it fair to call all of the German military at the time Nazis too when talking about competence. The military would fight for the country regardless of the government right? And is their competence distinct from the competence of the Nazis who organized and manned the concentration camps and carried out Hitler's agenda?

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Old 6th April 2018, 09:29 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Look at the amount of effort it took, the number of nations and the years of effort. I'd say Nazi Germany did pretty well, all things considered.
For most of that time the allied response was pretty incompetent as well. They improved towards the end.
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Old 6th April 2018, 09:58 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Wayward son View Post
For most of that time the allied response was pretty incompetent as well. They improved towards the end.
Sure. But that kind of deals with the idea that the Nazis were especially incompetent. They seem to have been about par for the course, comparatively.

And did the allies really improve towards the end? Or did their industrial superiority simply overwhelm all other factors?
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Old 7th April 2018, 04:57 AM   #10
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Well, the Nazi hierarchy did spend much of their time fighting against each other, and there was a lot of duplication, cause by Hitler often appointing two people to do basically the same job, IIRC, with the party having its own structure alongside, and competing with the 'government'.
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Old 7th April 2018, 07:00 AM   #11
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This used to be a huge controversy. I recommend the defining text that basically resolved the debate: Kershaw's "The Nazi Dictatorship: Problems & Perspectives of Interpretation".

The brief summary is that Nazi Germany consisted of a lot of parallel authorities competing with each other, though all ultimately answering to Hitler. The absolute power of Hitler's word meant that people were keen to use personal connections or latch onto offhand comments by him in order to push through their agendas, leading to a system of no clearly defined hierarchies or clearly delineated spheres of authority. Even the mighty Himmler ran into problems with mere Gauleiters, local party bosses, because of this chaotic order.


As for the military, it was a mixed bag. Some of them gambled and it paid off. But they grossly underestimated Russia and pursued poor doctrines of weapon development.
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Old 7th April 2018, 07:19 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Travis View Post

So were the Nazis just the violent idiots of Germany, kept aloft by a larger image of German efficiency and planning?

How competent were the Nazis?
They were just violent idiots but they were not kept afloat by efficiency or planning. if you want a book that goes into great detail about the ineptitude of the Nazi economy then 'Wages of Destruction' by Adam Tooze is a must read.

Short version is that throughout the Nazi era Germany lurched from one economic crisis to another, staved off either by short term fixes, looting other countries, or increasingly appalling brutality in the form of mass starvation and slave labour. One grand plan after another collapsed in the face of shortages of money and raw materials, it was an utter shambles in other words.
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Old 7th April 2018, 07:28 AM   #13
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Many in the German military despised the Nazis, as for one thing many iof the Nazis were clueless about effective military tactics . The Nazis believed their own propaganda rather than be realistic about effective war strategy. Had Hitler not invaded the USSR and had the invasion and occupation of the UK gone ahead odds are Germany would not have lost the war in 1945.
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Old 7th April 2018, 07:38 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Tinfoil Hater View Post
Many in the German military despised the Nazis, as for one thing many iof the Nazis were clueless about effective military tactics . The Nazis believed their own propaganda rather than be realistic about effective war strategy. Had Hitler not invaded the USSR and had the invasion and occupation of the UK gone ahead odds are Germany would not have lost the war in 1945.
Operation Sealion was a non-starter. The idea that they would have won but for Hitler is just PR by the surviving Generals trying to buff their post war reputations. They had zero amphibious assault capability, the only thing trying to mount Sealion would have achieved is an earlier defeat of Nazi Germany.
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Old 7th April 2018, 08:22 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Look at the amount of effort it took, the number of nations and the years of effort. I'd say Nazi Germany did pretty well, all things considered.
If you ignore the outcome and a bunch of other things, then Nazi Germany did indeed pretty well, all remaining things considered. But that's not a reasonable thing to do, is it?
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Old 7th April 2018, 08:40 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Ron_Tomkins View Post
Well, they lost the war so.... Iím gonna say: not very competent.
Not just that they STARTED THE WAR that destroyed them - that is the height of incompetence.
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Old 7th April 2018, 08:45 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Look at the amount of effort it took, the number of nations and the years of effort. I'd say Nazi Germany did pretty well, all things considered.
Yes they did and were greatly aided by a greater level of incompetence on the Allied side, especially the French who in a way defeated themselves.

The Germans did well in the early war due to not being AS incompetent as the Allies.

Hindsight is a powerful thing!

I read a Sci-fi/speculation thing on "Historum??' thing once where instead of Hitler rising to power Erich von Manstein did with Rommel as his aide. The war went a bit differently.
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Old 7th April 2018, 11:04 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by GnaGnaMan View Post
If you ignore the outcome and a bunch of other things, then Nazi Germany did indeed pretty well, all remaining things considered. But that's not a reasonable thing to do, is it?
War is necessarily a zero-sum game. Considering only who lost doesn't tell you the whole picture. Obviously the Germans were competent enough at warfare. And we know they were competent in other areas as well. Ethnic cleansing and genocide, for example. Aeronautics. Rocketry. Propaganda. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was a stroke of genius.

What's not reasonable is to ignore half of what they did, focus on their ultimate loss in WW2, and conclude from that a general incompetence.
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Old 7th April 2018, 11:09 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Hans View Post
Yes they did and were greatly aided by a greater level of incompetence on the Allied side, especially the French who in a way defeated themselves.

The Germans did well in the early war due to not being AS incompetent as the Allies.
And that's exactly why I object to singling out the Germans as being incompetent. It smacks of special pleading.
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Old 7th April 2018, 11:23 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Travis View Post
So, since the election of Trump I've been reading all I can on the Nazis. Seems like a prudent thing to do. Currently I'm halfway through the Nikolaus Wachsmann book KL which is an astonishingly detailed blow by blow over how the concentration camp system evolved.

In it I found that my previous conceptions of the system of camps was mistaken. Instead of being a top down plan it was a thing that just happened because the SA couldn't help themselves and started rounding up people. Leaving the Nazi leadership to figure out what to do with them. For a long time they just stumbled along more intent on retribution than order.

And this book in conjunction with several others is revealing to me that the Nazis were not the methodical planners I imagined. They were largely incompetent, attracted to the party in large part because it was somewhere losers could thrive by simply being brutish.

So were the Nazis just the violent idiots of Germany, kept aloft by a larger image of German efficiency and planning?

How competent were the Nazis?
Roughly 46% of the Jewish population of Europe survived the war. So when it comes to genocide, not very.
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Old 7th April 2018, 12:03 PM   #21
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As others have said, their beaucracy was hopelessly inefficient. Hitler always wanted his subordinates competing against each other for his approval (who else do we know like that, hmmm?).

Their good luck was they had some first rate military innovators, and they were able to do a lot of damage with their new blitzkrieg tactics before their enemies caught on.

Our good luck is that their strategic planners (including Hitler) were total morons who ignored the advice of their logistics experts, didn't gear up the economy for total war until it was too late, and couldn't coordinate any semblance of strategy with Japan.
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Old 7th April 2018, 01:10 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Venom View Post
Is it fair to call all of the German military at the time Nazis too when talking about competence. The military would fight for the country regardless of the government right? And is their competence distinct from the competence of the Nazis who organized and manned the concentration camps and carried out Hitler's agenda?

This is a key point. The Nazis didn't really organize all that much, they just managed to co-opt a lot of the already-existing structure of the German Government, and then use that to implement the Nazis goals. By the time the professionals in the government realized working with the Nazis was a bad idea, they were already in too deep.
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Old 7th April 2018, 01:27 PM   #23
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I find their inept use of slave labor kind of telling. For all the lives lost and resources expended they got very little of use out of the effort. The USSR seemed to utilize slave labor much more effectively.
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Old 7th April 2018, 02:01 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Travis View Post
I find their inept use of slave labor kind of telling. For all the lives lost and resources expended they got very little of use out of the effort. The USSR seemed to utilize slave labor much more effectively.
If they had gone into the Ukraine, and simply made it a puppet state instead of gassing everyone, the war might have played out differently. On the other hand, they probably wouldn't have invaded Ukraine, had they not planned on killing everyone for living space in the first place.

That's just one in a series of spectacular blunders on that front.
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Old 7th April 2018, 02:06 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Travis View Post
So, since the election of Trump I've been reading all I can on the Nazis. Seems like a prudent thing to do. Currently I'm halfway through the Nikolaus Wachsmann book KL which is an astonishingly detailed blow by blow over how the concentration camp system evolved.

In it I found that my previous conceptions of the system of camps was mistaken. Instead of being a top down plan it was a thing that just happened because the SA couldn't help themselves and started rounding up people. Leaving the Nazi leadership to figure out what to do with them. For a long time they just stumbled along more intent on retribution than order.

And this book in conjunction with several others is revealing to me that the Nazis were not the methodical planners I imagined. They were largely incompetent, attracted to the party in large part because it was somewhere losers could thrive by simply being brutish.

So were the Nazis just the violent idiots of Germany, kept aloft by a larger image of German efficiency and planning?

How competent were the Nazis?
If you follow Nazi Germany's military production and procurement programs the chaos increases exponentially. There was a lot of getting contracts because you had connections and massive inefficiency. Heck, at one time they had 60 different new fighter aircraft development programs going on, many of them not even managed by the Luftwaffe. 2 or 3 should have sufficed.
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Old 7th April 2018, 02:11 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Horatius View Post
This is a key point. The Nazis didn't really organize all that much, they just managed to co-opt a lot of the already-existing structure of the German Government, and then use that to implement the Nazis goals. By the time the professionals in the government realized working with the Nazis was a bad idea, they were already in too deep.
Is it fair to say they were just following orders.
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Old 7th April 2018, 10:05 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Venom View Post
Is it fair to call all of the German military at the time Nazis too when talking about competence. The military would fight for the country regardless of the government right? And is their competence distinct from the competence of the Nazis who organized and manned the concentration camps and carried out Hitler's agenda?
The Wehrmacht is hopelessly intertwined with the Nazi party by the time war breaks out, and a major agent in the perpetration of the Holocaust. Absolutely some of the old Prussian military culture remained, but by this point nothing in Germany, except maybe the court system, can be separated from the Nazi party.
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Old 7th April 2018, 10:45 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Hans View Post
Yes they did and were greatly aided by a greater level of incompetence on the Allied side, especially the French who in a way defeated themselves.

The Germans did well in the early war due to not being AS incompetent as the Allies.
.
If both sides are being rated as incompetent, then perhaps your baseline is off and you expect real life humans to exhibit the strategic genius of space opera heroes.

Originally Posted by Hans View Post

I read a Sci-fi/speculation thing on "Historum??' thing once where instead of Hitler rising to power Erich von Manstein did with Rommel as his aide. The war went a bit differently.
Given Rommelís major weakness was strategy and logistics, it would seem that any alt-history that kept him away from the battlefield and in the high command would be a blessing for the allies.
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Old 7th April 2018, 11:57 PM   #29
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In all dictatorial regimes, the primary goal is to cover your ass - people who don't do anything can't do something wrong.
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Old 8th April 2018, 07:02 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by CaptainHowdy View Post
Roughly 46% of the Jewish population of Europe survived the war. So when it comes to genocide, not very.
They made a lot of progress though, in the regions they controlled, and in spite of everything else they were dealing with at the time.
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Old 8th April 2018, 07:30 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
They made a lot of progress though, in the regions they controlled, and in spite of everything else they were dealing with at the time.
And the Nazi's resolutely stuck to their policy even when it was clear that working the Jews/Soviet POWs/Poles to death would be more 'efficient'.
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Old 8th April 2018, 08:02 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Garrison View Post
And the Nazi's resolutely stuck to their policy even when it was clear that working the Jews/Soviet POWs/Poles to death would be more 'efficient'.
So we already agreed that the Nazis weren't particularly efficient in a lot of ways.
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Old 8th April 2018, 12:12 PM   #33
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Also I seem to get the impression that the SS was not the elite organization it has been made out to be. I suppose the frontline warfighting units might have had some reason to brag but the vast majority of the SS seemed more interested in plunder, bullying and binge drinking.
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Old 8th April 2018, 12:29 PM   #34
Hans
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
....and couldn't coordinate any semblance of strategy with Japan.
...nor with Italy. Italy was vast pool of incompetence but the Italian navy might have accomplished something against the British had they coordinated better with the German air force and had a more aggressive leadership. I believe they were also limited by fuel and other resource restraints, and lack of coordination with their own air force too.
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Old 8th April 2018, 01:04 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
The Wehrmacht is hopelessly intertwined with the Nazi party by the time war breaks out, and a major agent in the perpetration of the Holocaust. Absolutely some of the old Prussian military culture remained, but by this point nothing in Germany, except maybe the court system, can be separated from the Nazi party.
Actually even the Court system was to a very large extent Nazified. But then before the war the German Judicial system was not simply conservative but actively very pro radical right wing nationalism. The way the Judicial system basically coddled right wing terrorism was notorious during the period of the Weimer Republic.

After the Second World War Many of the judges of the Nazis era were very forgiving of Nazis criminals and outrageously coddled them in case after case. The Nazis were able to quite successfully Nazisfy the German Court system and many of the Judges and officials were perfectly willing to go along with it.

See Hitler's Justice by Ingo Muller at https://www.amazon.com/Hitlers-Justi.../dp/067440419X.
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Old 8th April 2018, 03:18 PM   #36
TubbaBlubba
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Originally Posted by Pacal View Post
Actually even the Court system was to a very large extent Nazified. But then before the war the German Judicial system was not simply conservative but actively very pro radical right wing nationalism. The way the Judicial system basically coddled right wing terrorism was notorious during the period of the Weimer Republic.

After the Second World War Many of the judges of the Nazis era were very forgiving of Nazis criminals and outrageously coddled them in case after case. The Nazis were able to quite successfully Nazisfy the German Court system and many of the Judges and officials were perfectly willing to go along with it.

See Hitler's Justice by Ingo Muller at https://www.amazon.com/Hitlers-Justi.../dp/067440419X.
Yeah, I was thinking mainly of their reluctance to always impose the harshest punishments possible during the war, leading Hitler to grant himself the power to dismiss judges in a special Reichstag session.
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Old 8th April 2018, 03:32 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Venom View Post
Is it fair to call all of the German military at the time Nazis too when talking about competence. The military would fight for the country regardless of the government right? And is their competence distinct from the competence of the Nazis who organized and manned the concentration camps and carried out Hitler's agenda?
No it's not fair to call all conscripts Nazis. It is very fair to call allofficers Nazis, or Nazi by complancy. "On December 8, 1938, the OKW had instructed all officers in all three services to be thoroughly versed in National Socialism and to apply its values in all situations. Starting in February 1939, pamphlets were issued that were made required reading in the military." https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi..._the_Wehrmacht

They new what the Nazis were about, and despite some Cold War era revisionism it was not just the WaffenSS that committed atrocities.
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Old 10th April 2018, 02:01 AM   #38
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Well, first of all, let's clearly define the following: "competent at WHAT?" Otherwise we'll be talking about very different things. As is happening already, in fact.

My first premise, and feel free to disagree, is that the implicit part of asking "how comptent is X?" is "at his job". E.g., a doctor could be very competent at leading a World Of Warcraft guild, or a lawyer could be even a world-class expert at translating ancient Egyptian, but that's not what we mean when we ask "how competent is X he", is it? What we mplicitly mean is as a doctor or respectively lawyer.

Or specifically in Hitler's case, I don't think anyone means "how competent a PAINTER was he?" Right?

My second premise is: well, what was the NSDAP's primary job after they won the elections? Was it to be brilliant at military strategy? No, that was the Wehrmacht's job. We're not asking whether Hitler would have been a brilliant general, are we?

And I submit to you the idea that their actual job was to lead their country and get the best possible outcome FOR THE COUNTRY in the specific set of circumstances.

Did they get that? Ehh... No. Not really. In fact, not even near.

But let's try to evaluate not just the end result, but the original plan. If it even went according to plan, was it the best way to go about it?

Well, no it wasn't. Rule of Acquisition #3: "Never spend more for an acquisition than you have to." Star Trek joke aside, there's an actual bit of wisdom in there.

And I will submit the idea that Germany had FAR cheaper ways to get whatever resources it was needing. In fact, the shortages in the late '30s were self-inflicted. Germany was starving its industry and infrastructure, to create the army for that war. And the price paid was with a hefty interest: the lost industrial growth.

And that's the problem: their goal was to have a war, not to judge whether that war is the best way to serve Germany's interests. And, sure, Rule of Acquisition #34: "War is good for business." But also #35: "Peace is good for business." You have a choice. Use what is best, not which one gives you a power rush.

But I mean, hell, not just the interests of Germany could have been acquired with a MUCH lower cost, but even murderous side-goals could be done much cheaper. E.g., Generalplan Ost and starving a couple million Ukrainians to get their food? Well, Stalin wa happy to do that for you. You could get that literally for zero cost. Just buy soviet grain, and daddy Stalin will throw in the genocide as a freebie.

So is it competent to pay a hideously higher cost for what you could get much cheaper? Would you call me competent if I were your stock broker and bought the same shares for 10 times the price?

And speaking of genocide, I submit this bit of insanity. Picture, if you will, being Germany in 1942. You've been stalled before Moskow, and the tide is turning. You're being outproduced by the Soviets, your manpower is not just limiting your front line troops but is starting to stall the industry again, and you have a MASSIVE logistics problem. Soldiers are coming back without fingers, toes, EYELIDS or in some cases GENITALS, which froze off. Literally. Why? Because you have the logistics to either ammo or clothes, but not both.

And it's not just on the frontline. Trucks and railway rolling stock have been nearly depleted for the industry and civilian use, to get even that much equipment hauled to the front line.

So what do the Nazis decide in this situation? What could possibly help their MANPOWER and LOGISTICS problems?

Well, I told you it's 42, so you know what they decide. They decide to kill a couple million Jews. Hitting Germany in the nuts on both counts. Not only now they drain some more able bodies that could serve the army or the industry, but they actually dedicate more trains, trucks, etc, to that task, at the detriment of the actual war effort?

Then by the end of 42, the situation gets worse. In fact, REAL bad. Do the Nazis stop the madness and dedicate that manpower and rolling stock to actually winning the war? NO. They accelerate the slaughter, diverting even more manpower and logistics from the war effort.

Was that a competent decision, I ask you? No, not really.

But let's look even deeper. What was the actual Lebensraum and Drang Nach Osten idea? What did so many Poles and Ukrainians and so on have to be murdered FOR? As in, what is the actual END for those MEANS? Well, the idea was to free land to use for German colonists. As in, more German peasants.

But let's stop and think about it for a moment. In the middle of the 20'th century, when everyone is industrializing and urbanizing, when Stalin is starving his own citizens for means to conduct his forced industrialization and urbanization... the Nazis think that what Germany REALLY needs is that more of its people be peasants? I.e., that the way to go is to become LESS urban and LESS industrialized? REALLY?

Is that the kind of plan you'd call competent, I ask you? Because I sure as hell wouldn't. In fact, I'd call it underpants-on-head pencils-up-the-nose idiotic. It's worse than the kind of plans Baldrick from Blackadder would come up with.
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Old 10th April 2018, 05:13 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Travis View Post
Also I seem to get the impression that the SS was not the elite organization it has been made out to be. I suppose the frontline warfighting units might have had some reason to brag but the vast majority of the SS seemed more interested in plunder, bullying and binge drinking.
A couple of the divisions were on par with the Wehrmacht divisions. But most were pretty useless and little more than preening toadies. Hitler tended to give them the best gear and the Nazi party bellowed any accomplishments as loud as they could.
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Old 10th April 2018, 05:16 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, first of all, let's clearly define the following: "competent at WHAT?" Otherwise we'll be talking about very different things. As is happening already, in fact.

My first premise, and feel free to disagree, is that the implicit part of asking "how comptent is X?" is "at his job". E.g., a doctor could be very competent at leading a World Of Warcraft guild, or a lawyer could be even a world-class expert at translating ancient Egyptian, but that's not what we mean when we ask "how competent is X he", is it? What we mplicitly mean is as a doctor or respectively lawyer.

Or specifically in Hitler's case, I don't think anyone means "how competent a PAINTER was he?" Right?

My second premise is: well, what was the NSDAP's primary job after they won the elections? Was it to be brilliant at military strategy? No, that was the Wehrmacht's job. We're not asking whether Hitler would have been a brilliant general, are we?

And I submit to you the idea that their actual job was to lead their country and get the best possible outcome FOR THE COUNTRY in the specific set of circumstances.

Did they get that? Ehh... No. Not really. In fact, not even near.
The problem with that criteria is that you'll have to call a lot of other historical figures (ie. Napoleon ) as incompetent.
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