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Old 21st May 2017, 09:31 AM   #121
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You are missing the point Henri; we aren't disputing the assertion that Churchill wasn't a strategic genius. We are pointing out that this assessment is hardly novel.

The bits about the state of the German forces at Kursk is different. We do disagree with that.

Similarly, we also disagree that Chamberlain had any useful knowledge of the German plans for the invasion of Russia due to him being dead when the planning started.
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Old 21st May 2017, 09:54 AM   #122
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Henri, you quote Peter Hitchens (of all people) who chooses to tell us that he can't distinguish between the post war loss of Empire, and being conquered by the Nazis. To Hitchens there's no difference really, so he doesn't know if we won the war or not. This is a remarkable point of view.
Because we lost so much wealth and power in the Second World War, we still have to keep telling ourselves that we won it. Or did we - as my father (who served in a pretty rough bit of it) used to ask from time to time, as he contemplated the state of the country he had helped to save.
What drivel. The state of the country is much better than it would have been if the Nazis had conquered it.
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Old 22nd May 2017, 12:50 PM   #123
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
You are missing the point Henri; we aren't disputing the assertion that Churchill wasn't a strategic genius. We are pointing out that this assessment is hardly novel.

The bits about the state of the German forces at Kursk is different. We do disagree with that.

Similarly, we also disagree that Chamberlain had any useful knowledge of the German plans for the invasion of Russia due to him being dead when the planning started.
Hell, Churchill talents as a strategist were being criticized as early as 1915, when Gallipoli,which was very much Churchill's strategic baby,did not turn out very well and ended up costing Churchill his post as the British Equivilent of Secretary of the Navy.

The role of the Sicilian landings in causing the halt to the Kursk Offensive is debated. Many feel it gave Hitler an excuse to stop an offesinve the was rapidly losing steam anyway and was proving very costly.
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Old 22nd May 2017, 12:52 PM   #124
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Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
Hell, Churchill talents as a strategist were being criticized as early as 1915, when Gallipoli,which was very much Churchill's strategic baby,did not turn out very well and ended up costing Churchill his post as the British Equivilent of Secretary of the Navy.

The role of the Sicilian landings in causing the halt to the Kursk Offensive is debated. Many feel it gave Hitler an excuse to stop an offesinve the was rapidly losing steam anyway and was proving very costly.
I wondered about mentioning Gallipoli.

However Churchill did manage to listen to people and he did have some good ideas.
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Old 22nd May 2017, 11:31 PM   #125
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Re: Churchill's strategic genius:

"The soft underbelly of Europe"

That is a man who hasn't really looked at a map.
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Old 22nd May 2017, 11:43 PM   #126
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Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
Hell, Churchill talents as a strategist were being criticized as early as 1915, when Gallipoli,which was very much Churchill's strategic baby,did not turn out very well and ended up costing Churchill his post as the British Equivilent of Secretary of the Navy.
Even in 1911 Churchill's judgement was being questioned after his actions at Sidney Street. This led to him being sidelined from the Home Office to the Admiralty.
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Old 23rd May 2017, 08:15 AM   #127
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
You are missing the point Henri; we aren't disputing the assertion that Churchill wasn't a strategic genius. We are pointing out that this assessment is hardly novel.

The bits about the state of the German forces at Kursk is different. We do disagree with that.

Similarly, we also disagree that Chamberlain had any useful knowledge of the German plans for the invasion of Russia due to him being dead when the planning started.
I don't know the exact details of the German forces at Kursk. Much of the information and intelligence given to the Russians by Ultra about numbers and intentions of the Germans is still secret and has never been published. I do know that Kursk was a battle that involved millions of troops, and many tanks, and is a battle that Churchill can't take the political credit for now.

I still maintain that Chamberlain and Halifax were fully aware that Hitler intended to invade Russia. Hitler mentioned it in his Mein Kampf book in the 1920s, and our secret service knew about it from 1934. Chamberlain's strategy of giving Britain another year to get organised for the Battle of Britain, and prepared for war was right judgment by him. Chamberlain's piece of paper about the Czechs, which keeps coming under so much criticism, was just diplomatic language, a bit like Tony Blair's empty waffle nowadays.

There is a bit of historical background to this on the internet:

Quote:
Alternatives to Appeasement: Neville Chamberlain and Hitler's Germany
Andrew David Stedman
Paperback | In Stock | £14.99

Paperback | In Stock | $24.00

Request an inspection copy

Description Author InfoBibliographic Info

Neville Chamberlain's policy of appeasing Hitler's Germany has been widely condemned. However, historians (and politicians) have been divided about the viability of alternative courses of action. Andrew David Stedman here charts the origins, development and viability of the various alternatives to Chamberlain's policy of appeasement. Using a wide range of sources, many previously unpublished, he provides a fascinating study of British foreign policy before World War II, surveying the main advocates of the other strategies available and outlining the complexities of each rival option. Providing a valuable new contribution to appeasement historiography, this is the first work to offer a comprehensive synthesis of all the alternatives available to Chamberlain, as well as to illuminate the policy debate within Government itself. Stedman provides a unique analysis of how realistic Chamberlain deemed each policy to be, as well as a bold assessment of strengths and weaknesses.

Stedman asserts that it was understandable that Chamberlain rejected the other policies he had available to him and that, contrary to popular belief, Chamberlain did in fact consider and explore each alternative as part of his wider strategy and his foreign policy often contained elements of the rival options. Ultimately, this book shows that none of the alternatives would have maintained a lasting peace in the troubled conditions of the 1930s. Although some might have affected the favourability, timing and circumstances of conflict, war could not have been avoided given the rapid rise of Hitler and Nazi Germany. Also contributing to debates on the use of appeasement in the modern world, this book will be essential reading for historians of World War II and the twentieth century, as well as scholars of International Relations.
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Old 23rd May 2017, 08:55 AM   #128
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Originally Posted by Henri McPhee View Post
I still maintain that Chamberlain and Halifax were fully aware that Hitler intended to invade Russia. [b]Hitler mentioned it in his Mein Kampf book in the 1920s, and our secret service knew about it from 1934.[/indent]Chamberlain's strategy of giving Britain another year to get organised for the Battle of Britain, and prepared for war was right judgment by him. Chamberlain's piece of paper about the Czechs, which keeps coming under so much criticism, was just diplomatic language, a bit like Tony Blair's empty waffle nowadays.
Do you think that Blair is still PM? I sometimes wonder if you're living in a time warp in which Chamberlain was alive during the Battle of Kursk, and Blair is still in no 10.

Your bit about Hitler attacking Russia is nonsense. I have already explained why; that it mixes general hostility with specific plans, and as we have seen, these plans were drawn up only after Chamberlain's death.

Moreover I didn't realise just how incompetent you think the secret service was back then. Hitler published Mein Kampf in the twenties. Only in 1934 does our secret service become aware that it says bad things about Bolshevik Russia! Very poor show, eh?
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Old 23rd May 2017, 08:56 AM   #129
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Originally Posted by Henri McPhee View Post
I don't know the exact details of the German forces at Kursk.
Henri, you haven't demonstrated much knowledge of the facts of Kursk, let alone details.

Quote:
Much of the information and intelligence given to the Russians by Ultra about numbers and intentions of the Germans is still secret and has never been published.
That would be because ULTRA did not provide that information. The soviets knew most of that information from their consistent use and collation of battlefield intelligence

Quote:
I do know that Kursk was a battle
Good, let's start here...

Quote:
that involved millions of troops, and many tanks,
About 800K German and 1.2M Soviet, and about 8,000 tanks on both sides.

Start here for an overview, then go into the sources. For heaven's sake, stop relying on alleged documentaries that you can't remember the title of and that you saw on the telly 20 years ago, it doesn't serve you well.

Quote:
and is a battle that Churchill can't take the political credit for now.
He couldn't take political credit for it then either. And so far as I am aware, no one is trying to give him political credit for the outcome of the battle.

Also, the idea that Stalin needed warning that Hitler had written in Mein Kampf in 1925 about his plan to invade the Soviet Union. First, it was written 9 years before he actually came to power and 16 years before it actually happened. Mein Kampf gives no useful information to the Soviets - which would be things like tactical and strategic objectives, allocation of forces, allocations of material, resupply plans, timetables. All it does is confirm that this Hitler guy really didn't like either the Russian people, or Bolshevism - which they had already deduced from his rather inflammatory rhetoric and being able to read the same open source material as either Chamberlain and Halifax.
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Old 24th May 2017, 03:37 AM   #130
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Originally Posted by Border Reiver View Post
Also, the idea that Stalin needed warning that Hitler had written in Mein Kampf in 1925 about his plan to invade the Soviet Union. First, it was written 9 years before he actually came to power and 16 years before it actually happened. Mein Kampf gives no useful information to the Soviets - which would be things like tactical and strategic objectives, allocation of forces, allocations of material, resupply plans, timetables. All it does is confirm that this Hitler guy really didn't like either the Russian people, or Bolshevism - which they had already deduced from his rather inflammatory rhetoric and being able to read the same open source material as either Chamberlain and Halifax.
There are historians who think that Stalin intended to double cross Hitler before the Russian invasion, as well as the usual Holocaust denier nutso historians. It's just that the British public have never been given any evidence of that. There is something that Stalin sacked his Foreign Minister in May 1938, who had proposed an alliance with the Czechs, and replaced him with Molotov who came to an agreement with the German Ribbentrop to carve up Poland. Personally, I think Stalin was taken by surprise.

There is a bit of background to this on the internet:

Quote:
The controversy will continue, at least until the former Allied powers Britain, the United States and Russia, whose governments have liberally exposed Germany's wartime records, release the relevant material in their own archives. The Austrian newspaper Die Presse of April 4, 1997 quoted the Moscow journalist Konstantin Preobrashenskiy about use of the Russian archives. "Once again, the archivists only approve access to the documents when they feel like it. It is regrettable to see how what was accessible yesterday is today closed once more."
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Old 24th May 2017, 04:51 AM   #131
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Originally Posted by Henri McPhee View Post
There are historians who think that Stalin intended to double cross Hitler before the Russian invasion, as well as the usual Holocaust denier nutso historians. It's just that the British public have never been given any evidence of that.
If it's not true, then no evidence for it can exist. It has been discussed, and rejected, by many historians. See eg What Stalin Knew David E Murphy.
Quote:
There is something that Stalin sacked his Foreign Minister in May 1938, who had proposed an alliance with the Czechs, and replaced him with Molotov who came to an agreement with the German Ribbentrop to carve up Poland.
In the context of Nazi insanity, it is worth noting that the previous foreign minister, Maxim LitvinovWP, was a Jew. He adopted the pseudonym Litvinov when he joined a socialist party in tsarist days, but he was originally Meir Henoch Wallach-Finkelstein, which would not have endeared him to Hitler or Ribbentrop.

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Old 24th May 2017, 08:29 AM   #132
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Historians seem to disagree in the same way as economists and psychiatrists disagree among themselves.

In theory America and Russia should have done a sledgehammer on Hitler in 1933 or 1934, but it never happened. America was isolationist, and it had the same 'with what' problems as Britain at the time. The Czechs were a far away country of which few Americans had heard.

Also in theory there was nothing to stop the Czechs from taking on Nazi ruthlessness themselves on their own if they had such marvellous tanks, as some people say on this forum. As it turned out several Czech pilots joined the RAF, and the monster German Heydrich was bumped off by Czech agents during the war.

It could be that Stalin was only interested in a Russian Empire, including the Baltic states and Eastern Europe, including Bulgaria, which turned out to be the case after the war. The problem the Russians had with that was that the Czechs and the Poles and Rumanians were not reliable Russian allies, as has been proved in recent times. They joined the European Political Union at the earliest opportunity.

Chamberlain gave the Poles a guarantee which he never did with the Czechs. That's not appeasement. There is background waffle about this on a Wikipedia website:

Quote:
Historic views of appeasement and the guarantee of Poland[edit]

A major historiographical debate about Chamberlain's foreign policy was triggered in 1976 by the American historian Simon K. Newman's book March 1939. Newman denied there was ever a policy of appeasement as popularly understood. Newman maintained that British foreign policy under Chamberlain aimed at denying Germany a "free hand" anywhere in Europe, and to the extent that concessions were offered they were due to military weaknesses, compounded by the economic problems of rearmament.

Most controversially, Newman contended that the British guarantee to Poland in March 1939 was motivated by the desire to have Poland as a potential anti-German ally, thereby blocking the chance for a German-Polish settlement of the Danzig (modern Gdańsk, Poland) question by encouraging what Newman claimed was Polish obstinacy over the Danzig issue, and thus causing World War II.

Newman argued that German-Polish talks on the question of returning Danzig had been going well until Chamberlain's guarantee, and that it was Chamberlain's intention to sabotage the talks as a way of causing an Anglo-German war.

In Newman's opinion, the guarantee of Poland was meant by Chamberlain as a "deliberate challenge" to start a war with Germany in 1939. In this way, Newman argued that World War II, far from being a case of German aggression was really just an Anglo-German struggle for power. Newman wrote that World War II was not "Hitler's unique responsibility..." and rather contended that "Instead of a German war of aggrandizement, the war become one of Anglo-German rivalry for power and influence, the culmination of the struggle for the right to determine the future configuration of Europe".

The "Newman controversy" caused much historical debate about what were Chamberlain's reasons for the "guarantee" of Poland in March 1939, with some reviewers arguing that Newman had failed to support his case with sufficient evidence,] whilst the Polish historian Anna Cienciala described Newman's views as wrong, and argued the British and French wanted to avoid war by pressuring the Poles to make concessions

Recently, Newman’s book was cited by the American journalist Patrick Buchanan in his 2008 book Churchill, Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War" to lend support to his assertion that the British guarantee of Poland in March 1939 was an act of folly that caused an "unnecessary war" with Germany.
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Old 24th May 2017, 08:34 AM   #133
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CHAMBERLAIN WAS DEAD WHEN THE GERMANS STARTED PLANNING THE INVASION OF RUSSIA. HE WASN'T ABLE TO CONVEY ANY USEFUL INFORMATION ABOUT THOSE PLANS BECAUSE OF THIS INCONVENIENCING FACT
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Old 24th May 2017, 09:36 AM   #134
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Originally Posted by Henri McPhee View Post
Also in theory there was nothing to stop the Czechs from taking on Nazi ruthlessness themselves on their own if they had such marvellous tanks, as some people say on this forum...
If you are in doubt about that, why in God's name don't you consult an article about these weapons, of which there are many on the Internet? You will find material like this.
By May 1939, the Germans had received the balance of the TL38s ... which had been part of the original order from Skoda for the Czech Army. Soon after, as a result of favorable field trials, the Wehrmacht ordered the production of 325 additional such vehicles. All would be almost identical to the initial Czech design. The PzKpfw 38(t), which the Wehrmacht placed in its light divisions in the following three months, proved a very potent weapon and soon earned the admiration of its crews as Robuste Fahrzeuge (durable vehicles) ... Following the renewal of major operations in the West on May 10, 1940, Czech-designed tanks of the German Army roll(ed) rapidly across France and toward the English Channel. Using Czech technology enabled the panzer arm of the Wehrmacht to deliver firepower and mobility to the front in the early days of the war.
So the Wehrmacht, as well as "some people on this forum", rated these vehicles quite highly.

The Czechs were inhibited from risking a Nazi invasion because Chamberlain had given away the Sudetenland which contained the hilly area in which the Czechs had constructed their main defensive lines.
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Old 24th May 2017, 11:21 AM   #135
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Originally Posted by Tolls View Post
Re: Churchill's strategic genius:

"The soft underbelly of Europe"

That is a man who hasn't really looked at a map.
Yeah, all those mountains in the Balkans and Italy should have told him something.
As one Historian, commenting at the WW2 Italian campaign, which Churchill basically forced on a skeptical FDR (there was a strong feeling in the US military to stop after Sicily) said that the Soft Underbelly turned out to be a Tough Old Gut.
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Old 24th May 2017, 11:36 AM   #136
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The soft underbelly of Europe was another phrase that sprung to mind
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Old 24th May 2017, 01:34 PM   #137
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Originally Posted by Henri McPhee View Post
There are historians who think that Stalin intended to double cross Hitler before the Russian invasion, as well as the usual Holocaust denier nutso historians. It's just that the British public have never been given any evidence of that. There is something that Stalin sacked his Foreign Minister in May 1938, who had proposed an alliance with the Czechs, and replaced him with Molotov who came to an agreement with the German Ribbentrop to carve up Poland. Personally, I think Stalin was taken by surprise.
Litvinov was sacked a year later, in May 1939, so after Munich and after the annexation of the Czech lands by the Nazis. Moreover, Stalin was dismayed at not being invited in Munich: the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia had a Treaty on Mutual Assistance since 1935. As you can read from the protocol, Soviet assistance to CS was conditional on French assistance.

Stalin may well have been surprised at Barbarossa, but that doesn't mean he was surprised that Nazi Germany would attack; it only means he didn't expect it already in 1941.
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Old 25th May 2017, 02:29 AM   #138
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post
Litvinov was sacked a year later, in May 1939, so after Munich and after the annexation of the Czech lands by the Nazis. Moreover, Stalin was dismayed at not being invited in Munich: the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia had a Treaty on Mutual Assistance since 1935. As you can read from the protocol, Soviet assistance to CS was conditional on French assistance.

Stalin may well have been surprised at Barbarossa, but that doesn't mean he was surprised that Nazi Germany would attack; it only means he didn't expect it already in 1941.
You are right that Litvinov was sacked by Stalin in May 1939. There is something in a Wikipedia article about him that he tried to send Russian troops to help the Czechs, but this was refused by Poland. The Czech other neighbour Rumania was going Nazi Fascist at the time. Hitler was putting on pressure for Slovakia to split from the Czechs and for Slovakia to have a pro-German Nazi Fascist government.

I still firmly believe that Chamberlain knew Hitler intended to invade Russia. Our secret service knew about it in 1934. It could be that Stalin didn't expect a German attack in 1941, though that was not too bright of him if it's true. The warning signs were there. Our secret service definitely had the warning signs. Even Churchill tried to warn Stalin. It was speed surprise and simplicity, and deception, and even secrecy, by Hitler.

Part of the trouble is, as I have said before, that much of the hard documentary evidence in Russia and America, and even Britain, is still secret. In the UK there are these 30 and 50 year rules, and then much of it is redacted, or even destroyed. It's like trying to find out about bugging.

There is some background to all this in a recent American newspaper article:

Quote:
Moreover, there were fears overall about Britain’s military preparedness in 1938, as Nick Baumann, now an editor at the Huffington Post, detailed in a 2013 article in*Slate:

In March 1938 the British military chiefs of staff produced a report that concluded that Britain could not possibly stop Germany from taking Czechoslovakia. In general, British generals believed the military and the nation were not ready for war.

On Sept. 20, 1938, then-Col.Hastings Ismay, secretary to the Committee of Imperial Defense, sent a note to Thomas Inskip, the minister for the coordination of defense, and Sir Horace Wilson, a civil servant. Time was on Britain’s side, Ismay argued, writing that delaying the outbreak of war would give the Royal Air Force time to acquire airplanes that could counter the Luftwaffe, which he considered the only chance for defeating Hitler.

British strategists, including Ismay, believed their country could win a long war (so long as they had time to prepare for it).*This was a common belief, and doubtless factored into Chamberlain's calculations.
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Old 25th May 2017, 03:29 AM   #139
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Jesus Christ, Henri, *everybody* knew Hitler intended to invade Russia. It was never a secret. The only question was when, where, and how. And Chamberlain could not have known that, because those things didn't get decided until *after he was dead*.

Seriously, what are you trying to get from this? What agreement are you looking for, here?
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Old 25th May 2017, 04:09 AM   #140
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Originally Posted by Henri McPhee View Post
I still firmly believe that Chamberlain knew Hitler intended to invade Russia. Our secret service knew about it in 1934. It could be that Stalin didn't expect a German attack in 1941, though that was not too bright of him if it's true. The warning signs were there. Our secret service definitely had the warning signs. Even Churchill tried to warn Stalin. It was speed surprise and simplicity, and deception, and even secrecy, by Hitler.

Part of the trouble is, as I have said before, that much of the hard documentary evidence in Russia and America, and even Britain, is still secret. In the UK there are these 30 and 50 year rules, and then much of it is redacted, or even destroyed. It's like trying to find out about bugging.

There is some background to all this in a recent American newspaper article:
This is all complete rubbish. Nobody could have warned Stalin about June 1941 on the basis of somebody reading Mein Kampf in 1934, as you have been told many times. Chamberlain knew nothing. He didn't even know that Hitler intended to invade the rest of Czechoslovakia after he had swallowed the Sudetenland. Chamberlain was deceived, and consented to the annexation of Sudetenland, although it deprived Czechoslovakia of her lines of defence and opened her to complete destruction. Did Chamberlain foresee that? Did Chamberlain foresee the Nazi-Soviet non aggression pact of August 1939? Was that in Mein Kampf?

Did Chamberlain know that Hitler hated Jews, Slavs and communists? Yes. After reading Mein Kampf everyone knew that. But what does it have to do with Churchill discovering the date of Barbarossa? That date was decided by Hitler after Chamberlain had died.

Please also identify your sources, which by the way don't look very impressive.
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Old 25th May 2017, 07:47 AM   #141
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It was Stalin who was deceived by Hitler. Stalin thought he could come to an agreement with Hitler to seize the Baltic states and carve up Poland. In March 1938 the British military chiefs of staff produced a report that concluded that Britain could not possibly stop Germany from taking Czechoslovakia, and that Britain was not prepared for war.

I don't think the mainstream media at the time told the British public what a very narrow shave it was. It was a typical British all must be well attitude. My own father when he was alive once made the remark that Britain could not possibly be defeated because of the British Navy. I don't think he ever counted up the number of Spitfires in service in 1938.

It still annoys me that Hitler occupied the Channel Islands. I don't like seeing old film of British policemen saluting Nazi soldiers there. All it needed was for hare-brained Churchill to choose between war and dishonour and we all would have ended up in concentration camps.

Quote:
There is a bit about the matter in that Peter Calvocoressi Top Secret Ultra book published in 1981:

Quote:
The most convincing volume of evidence about Hitler's plans for 1941 came from signals intelligence and Ultra. I have already described how the monitoring of undecyphered wireless traffic disclosed the movements of Luftwaffe units to eastern Poland, and this intelligence was supplemented by Ultra which reported a massive shift of both air and ground forces from the western and Balkan fronts to the Russian front. Even the German Army's General Staff was transferred from Berlin eastward, a fact which we knew from Ultra before the beginning of 1941.
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Old 25th May 2017, 07:56 AM   #142
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Originally Posted by Henri McPhee View Post
My own father when he was alive once made the remark that Britain could not possibly be defeated because of the British Navy. I don't think he ever counted up the number of Spitfires in service in 1938.
That's rather a non sequitur, don't you think? Britain couldn't be invaded because the Royal Navy had such a great superiority over the Kreigsmarine that it was impossible to safeguard an invasion fleet for the 24 hours it would take to cross the Channel; the only hope Germany had was for the Luftwaffe to be so effective at anti-shipping operations that it could deny the Channel totally to British warships, and it simply didn't have even the beginnings of that capability until about 1941. Even then, a fast-maneuvering destroyer was a hell of a difficult thing to sink, and the barges envisaged for an invasion fleet would have been swamped simply by the bow wave of a destroyer making a high speed pass. And then, put a force ashore, and then what? An armoured division needs about 100 tons of supplies per day to operate effectively; that logistical capability didn't exist for Germany at any time.

Whether Britain could have been defeated by German bombers simply obliterating everything south of the Thames is a different question, and one that Spitfire numbers are relevant to. But even so, Germany survived for a couple of years under a level of bombing almost beyond the imagination in 1940, and far beyond German capability in 1938.

It's a classic mistake of amateur historians to deduce imbalances in strength by comparing capabilities of two countries at different times. Comparing British capabilities in 1938 with German capabilities in 1940 is one of the commonest examples.

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Old 25th May 2017, 08:45 AM   #143
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
And then, put a force ashore, and then what? An armoured division needs about 100 tons of supplies per day to operate effectively; that logistical capability didn't exist for Germany at any time.
IOW, they could have been checked and driven back into the sea by Dad's Army?

Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
Whether Britain could have been defeated by German bombers simply obliterating everything south of the Thames is a different question, and one that Spitfire numbers are relevant to. But even so, Germany survived for a couple of years under a level of bombing almost beyond the imagination in 1940, and far beyond German capability in 1938.
But Germany developed far too late big strategic bombers like the four-engine Lancaster and B-17. They simply didn't have the capability to obliterate Britain on the same scale as the UK and USA would do to Gerrmany, not during the Battle of Britain and not afterwards.

Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
It's a classic mistake of amateur historians to deduce imbalances in strength by comparing capabilities of two countries at different times. Comparing British capabilities in 1938 with German capabilities in 1940 is one of the commonest examples.
And those 1940 German capabilities included Czech tanks like the 38t.
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Old 25th May 2017, 09:22 AM   #144
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post
IOW, they could have been checked and driven back into the sea by Dad's Army?
There's a story I've heard, possibly apocryphal, that Sandhurst war-gamed a German invasion in 1940 in which the forces available to Britain were Snoopy in his Sopwith Camel, Captain Pugwash and the Black Pig, and the Walmington-on-Sea platoon of the Home Guard, and the German invasion still failed. Germany's logistical planning was virtually non-existent; their plans involved requisitioning the entire stock of barges in northern Europe (handwaving away the economic effects), towing them in strings across the channel, working up to full speed before releasing them to turn inland and hit the beach by momentum alone, blowing the bows off with explosive bolts to land the troops, then re-using the same set of beached, bowless barges for a daily cargo lift until they could capture a major port in good enough shape to use it - something they later found wasn't all that difficult to prevent. Plus, the Army demanded a large scale attack on multiple fronts, while the Navy could barely scrape together a plan for a single landing. There never seems to have been a coherent enough plan for any of it to be more than just a colossal bluff.

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Old 25th May 2017, 09:33 AM   #145
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
There's a story I've heard, possibly apocryphal, that Sandhurst war-gamed a German invasion in 1940 in which the forces available to Britain were Snoopy in his Sopwith Camel, Captain Pugwash and the Black Pig, and the Walmington-on-Sea platoon of the Home Guard, and the German invasion still failed. Germany's logistical planning was virtually non-existent; their plans involved requisitioning the entire stock of barges in northern Europe (handwaving away the economic effects), towing them in strings across the channel, working up to full speed before releasing them to turn inland and hit the beach by momentum alone, blowing the bows off with explosive bolts to land the troops, then re-using the same set of beached, bowless barges for a daily cargo lift until they could capture a major port in good enough shape to use it - something they later found wasn't all that difficult to prevent. Plus, the Army demanded a large scale attack on multiple fronts, while the Navy could barely scrape together a plan for a single landing. There never seems to have been a coherent enough plan for any of it to be more than just a colossal bluff.

Dave

Operation Sealion probably would have shortened the war

I am reminded of the old saw, "Amateurs study tactics, professionals study logistics".

The Western Allies were the only armies with entirely motor-based logistics

The Axis and the Russians had lots of mules etc.
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Old 25th May 2017, 01:07 PM   #146
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
There's a story I've heard, possibly apocryphal, that Sandhurst war-gamed a German invasion in 1940 in which the forces available to Britain were Snoopy in his Sopwith Camel, Captain Pugwash and the Black Pig, and the Walmington-on-Sea platoon of the Home Guard, and the German invasion still failed.
Where have I heard that before? Oh, here on 15 December 2009:
Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
There's a legend that Sandhurst, who regularly wargame Sealion, tried a scenario where the forces available to the defence were the Walmington-on-Sea platoon of the Home Guard, Captain Pugwash in the Black Pig, and Snoopy in a Sopwith Camel. The Germans still lost.

Dave

Googling suggests that the story originates with a certain Alison Brooks, who claims to have been involved. But he has Snoopy just lying on the roof of his kennel. I guess he lost his biplane to the Red Baron. He also has an amusing write-up why Operation Sealion would have been an unmitigated disaster.

And this was the same vaunted German war machine that exercised for a year how to capture Eben-Emael.
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Old 25th May 2017, 01:48 PM   #147
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
I am reminded of the old saw, "Amateurs study tactics, professionals study logistics".

The Western Allies were the only armies with entirely motor-based logistics

The Axis and the Russians had lots of mules etc.
Though to be fair - thanks in large part to Lend-Lease - the USSR forces eventually came close to Western forces in this arena...

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Old 25th May 2017, 01:53 PM   #148
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post
Where have I heard that before? Oh, here on 15 December 2009:
Yeah, thought I might have mentioned that before, and that's probably where I read it originally.

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Old 26th May 2017, 03:04 AM   #149
Henri McPhee
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
That's rather a non sequitur, don't you think? Britain couldn't be invaded because the Royal Navy had such a great superiority over the Kreigsmarine that it was impossible to safeguard an invasion fleet for the 24 hours it would take to cross the Channel; the only hope Germany had was for the Luftwaffe to be so effective at anti-shipping operations that it could deny the Channel totally to British warships, and it simply didn't have even the beginnings of that capability until about 1941. Even then, a fast-maneuvering destroyer was a hell of a difficult thing to sink, and the barges envisaged for an invasion fleet would have been swamped simply by the bow wave of a destroyer making a high speed pass. And then, put a force ashore, and then what? An armoured division needs about 100 tons of supplies per day to operate effectively; that logistical capability didn't exist for Germany at any time.

Whether Britain could have been defeated by German bombers simply obliterating everything south of the Thames is a different question, and one that Spitfire numbers are relevant to. But even so, Germany survived for a couple of years under a level of bombing almost beyond the imagination in 1940, and far beyond German capability in 1938.

It's a classic mistake of amateur historians to deduce imbalances in strength by comparing capabilities of two countries at different times. Comparing British capabilities in 1938 with German capabilities in 1940 is one of the commonest examples.

Dave
The point any amateur strategist can appreciate is that the Germans would have had to have had air superiority before they made an opposed landing in Britain. It's like D-day. A bridgehead is not much use unless you can stay there.

Guderian's blitzkrieg tactics relied on the Stuka dive bomber. That was very effective in Spain, France and Poland, and probably in Russia, and a danger to British shipping and the British Navy. Against Spitfires, the Stuka was described by the Germans as a flying coffin:

Quote:
here their weakness showed the Stukas lacked the range and payload capability needed to inflict real damage on the British air defence. Slow as they were they were no match for the RAF fighters.
Winston Churchill and Lloyd George can be accused of appeasement from their public quotes in the 1930s, and not Chamberlain, There is a quote somewhere, which I now can't find, that Hitler blamed Chamberlain for Germany losing the war. From a Wikipedia Hitler quotes website:

Quote:
On February 9, 1934, J. F. Rutherford, the president of the Watch Tower Society, sent a letter of protest to Hitler stating these words. As the Nazi rage against Jehovah’s Witnesses reached new heights, the Witnesses’ denunciations became ever more scathing. The May 15, 1940, issue of Consolation stated: “Hitler is such a perfect child of the Devil that these speeches and decisions flow through him like water through a well-built sewer
”.
One may dislike Hitler's system and yet admire his patriotic achievement. If our country were defeated, I hope we should find a champion as indomitable to restore our courage and lead us back to our place among the nations.
Winston Churchill, "Hitler and His Choice" in The Strand Magazine (November 1935).

We cannot tell whether Hitler will be the man who will once again let loose upon the world another war in which civilisation will irretrievably succumb, or whether he will go down in history as the man who restored honour and peace of mind to the Great Germanic nation.
Winston Churchill, "Hitler and His Choice" in The Strand Magazine (November 1935).

[W]hen Hitler says that “the State dominates the nation because it alone represents it,” he is only putting into loose popular language the formula of Hegel, that “the State is the general substance, whereof individuals are but accidents.”
Albert Jay Nock, Our Enemy, The State, Caldwell, ID, The Caxton Printers (1950) pp. 21-22, first published in 1935

He [Hitler] is a very great man. "Fuhrer" is the proper name for him, for he is a born leader, yes, and statesman.
David Lloyd George, A. J. Sylvester's diary entry (4 September 1936), Colin Cross (ed.), Life with Lloyd George. The Diary of A. J. Sylvester 1931-45 (London: Macmillan, 1975), p. 148.

I have never met a happier people than the Germans and Hitler is one of the greatest men. The old trust him; the young idolise him. It is the worship of a national hero who has saved his country.
David Lloyd George, Daily Express, September 17, 1936.

I have just returned from a visit to Germany. … I have now seen the famous German leader and also something of the great change he has effected. Whatever one may think of his methods — and they are certainly not those of a Parliamentary country — there can be no doubt that he has achieved a marvellous transformation in the spirit of the people, in their attitude towards each other, and in their social and economic outlook.

One man has accomplished this miracle. He is a born leader of men. A magnetic dynamic personality with a single-minded purpose, a resolute will, and a dauntless heart. He is the national Leader. He is also securing them against that constant dread of starvation which is one of the most poignant memories of the last years of the war and the first years of the Peace. The establishment of a German hegemony in Europe which was the aim and dream of the old prewar militarism, is not even on the horizon of Nazism.
David Lloyd George As quoted in The Daily Express (17 November 1936).
Hitler is a prodigious genius.
David Lloyd George, A. J. Sylvester's diary entry (7 July 1940), Colin Cross (ed.), Life with Lloyd George. The Diary of A. J. Sylvester 1931-45 (London: Macmillan, 1975), p. 275.
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Old 26th May 2017, 03:31 AM   #150
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Originally Posted by Henri McPhee View Post
The point any amateur strategist can appreciate is that the Germans would have had to have had air superiority before they made an opposed landing in Britain. It's like D-day. A bridgehead is not much use unless you can stay there.
The point any logician can appreciate is that this is denying the antecedent. It's perfectly clear that Germany could not have carried out a successful landing without air superiority; this does not, however, imply that Germany could have made a successful landing with air superiority. Stukas were very effective against land armies, but against freely maneuvering warships they were very much less so; the Luftwaffe could not have prevented enough of an all-out assault by the Royal Navy against an invasion fleet to make the result anything less than an outright military disaster for Germany, and based on the RN's record in WW2 it's difficult to imagine they'd do anything less.

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Old 26th May 2017, 04:11 AM   #151
Craig B
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Please also identify your sources, which by the way don't look very impressive.
I asked you to do that, and I'm disappointed with your response.
Originally Posted by Henri McPhee View Post
There is a quote somewhere, which I now can't find, that Hitler blamed Chamberlain for Germany losing the war.
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Old 26th May 2017, 07:29 AM   #152
Henri McPhee
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
I asked you to do that, and I'm disappointed with your response.
My previous quotes have come from Adolf Hitler-Wikiquote under Google.:

There is an internet article from Maynooth University about the unpublished Nazi Caucasus campaign. It's interesting but a bit hard going. I can't get these websites to link with this forum:

In a way Germany won the war. Germany now has a unified Europe with Germany on top. German war criminals like Dr Mengele and Barbie, who I suppose was French, went unpunished and are now dead. Russia gained Eastern Europe for a time which caused ruction with America to this day.

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Old 26th May 2017, 08:00 AM   #153
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Originally Posted by Henri McPhee View Post
In a way Germany won the war. Germany now has a unified Europe with Germany on top. German war criminals like Dr Mengele and Barbie, who I suppose was French, went unpunished and are now dead. Russia gained Eastern Europe for a time which caused ruction with America to this day.
In no way did Germany win the war. Disagreement between Russia and the US was not a war goal, and anyway had already started in the 30s. As a result of the war, Germany was destroyed, invaded, occupied, and divided. Half of it was enslaved and tormented by the Soviet Union for a generation. Germany's present condition is the benefit that accrues to a peaceful democracy that engages with its neighbors in good faith through economic and diplomatic means. Germany today is a new nation, that with the help of its former conquerors--and even against their malign interference--built itself up from the rubble of the Germany that was destroyed. It bears no responsibility for the war entered into, and utterly lost, by the evil regime that preceded it.

It is hard to imagine a nation losing a war more completely and decisively than Germany did. Carthage, maybe?

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Old 26th May 2017, 08:24 AM   #154
Craig B
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Originally Posted by Henri McPhee View Post
In a way Germany won the war. Germany now has a unified Europe with Germany on top.
Read about the Nazi occupation, compared to the EU alliance, and be ashamed of yourself for the idiocy you are expressing.

Are you by any chance a supporter of Brexit?

If it wasn't for us they'd be talking Kraut in Berlin now! Oh, they are talking it, are they? So Hitler must of won the war then.
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Old 26th May 2017, 11:55 AM   #155
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Read about the Nazi occupation, compared to the EU alliance, and be ashamed of yourself for the idiocy you are expressing.

Are you by any chance a supporter of Brexit?

If it wasn't for us they'd be talking Kraut in Berlin now! Oh, they are talking it, are they? So Hitler must of won the war then.
Well said
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Old 26th May 2017, 03:17 PM   #156
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Originally Posted by Henri McPhee View Post
In a way Germany won the war. Germany now has a unified Europe with Germany on top. German war criminals like Dr Mengele and Barbie, who I suppose was French, went unpunished and are now dead. Russia gained Eastern Europe for a time which caused ruction with America to this day.
Ahem.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klaus_Barbie:
Quote:
Nikolaus "Klaus" Barbie was born on 25 October 1913 in Godesberg, later renamed Bad Godesberg, which is today part of Bonn.
and
Quote:
Barbie was identified as being in Peru in 1971 by the Klarsfelds (Nazi hunters from France) who came across a secret document that revealed his alias.
[...]
In 1984, Barbie was indicted for crimes committed as Gestapo chief in Lyon between 1942 and 1944. The jury trial started on 11 May 1987 in Lyon before the Rhône Cour d'Assises.
[...]
The court rejected the defense's argument. On 4 July 1987, Barbie was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. He died in prison in Lyon four years later of leukemia and cancer of the spine and prostate at the age of 77.[25]
I'd have thought his trial and conviction was common knowledge.
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Old 26th May 2017, 04:34 PM   #157
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Originally Posted by Henri McPhee View Post
German war criminals like Dr Mengele and Barbie, who I suppose was French, went unpunished and are now dead.
Originally Posted by ddt View Post
I'd have thought his trial and conviction was common knowledge.
Henri, why are you always wrong?
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Old 28th May 2017, 02:23 AM   #158
Henri McPhee
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post
Ahem.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klaus_Barbie:

and


I'd have thought his trial and conviction was common knowledge.
I don't know much about Barbie. I remember the case in the newspapers, when it happened, but I didn't take much notice at the time. The newspaper reports never mentioned that Barbie murdered people by throwing them into a lime pit.

There is a bit of background to all this in a book called The Secret Hunters by
Anthony Kemp published in 1986. This is a quote from Prince Galitzine:

Quote:
In fact I thought that we were being far too soft and I still do actually.. I think that a lot of the people that were caught by any of these war crime teams in Europe had committed the most terrible crimes, and we couldn't understand why they were given a year, four years, six years imprisonment. very few of them got life and it was really a question of getting either a short term of imprisonment or being hung.

If really one feels that war crimes are a crime against humanity then I think the death penalty should have been inflicted and a lot of us were surprised at the leniency shown.

The derisory sentences, he felt, were not due to a sense of justice:

I think there was a natural reaction against killing and against all the horrors of war. And I think because the British nature is forgiving and tolerant there was a feeling among the judges that having caught the people, having actually indicted them and having imprisoned them, that they would - when they got back to their own country - be branded as marked men and therefore they would never be able to live it down.

Time as shown, however, that the culprits did live it down, rapidly re-emerging into public life in Germany.
I still think Germany came out on top, with Britain,and even America just being left with currency and property speculation, and football, and bank fraud.
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Old 28th May 2017, 03:00 AM   #159
Henri McPhee
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Please also identify your sources, which by the way don't look very impressive.
That article about the Germans in the Caucasus comes from D. Galbraith at Maynooth university, which is Irish would you believe. It's rather hard going but it seems to be comprehensive:

http://www.academia.edu/11902948/1_D...-_October_1943
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Old 28th May 2017, 05:35 AM   #160
Craig B
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Originally Posted by Henri McPhee View Post
... MaynoothWP university, which is Irish would you believe.
Yes I would believe that. It became exceedingly well known as the subject of anti-Catholic agitation in the mid nineteenth century, when the UK government granted funding to it, causing indignation and consternation among extremist Protestants. See link.

It was also the source of the Maynooth CatechismWP, well known to Catholic Irish schoolchildren.
... It was "ordered by the National Synod of Maynooth. . . . for General Use throughout the Irish Church" in 1882 ... In the 20th century in Irish schools it was known as the "Green Catechism" from the colour of its cover. The James Joyce short story "A Painful Case" references this catechism.
It was revised and republished in 1951.
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