Originally posted by NaturalReject:
I don’t have specifics. I was taught in school that Hitler basically stopped making strategically sound decisions and that it eventually brought Germany down. Other sources such as articles and documentaries I have come across since have seemed to all agree, so I have never had any reason to doubt that.
While he did stop making strategically sound decisions increasing towards the end, that happened to a time where Germany’s defeat was ultimately already decided.
Things before 1942 that are commonly seen as Mistakes, where very often not truly mistakes. For example these three:
Originally posted by thepunisher52:
Invading russia .
Insisting Capture of stalinngrad.
Letting brits go on dunkrik.
Invading Russia was hardly a mistake. The Axis came very close to succeeding and it took a series of unlucky and at the start of the planed attack unforeseeable events to stop them.
1. Italy’s unilateral decision to attack Greece and failing to accomplish the task without needing help from its allies. Resulting in unnecessary losses to remove entrenched British and Greece Units and delaying the attack on Russia for more than a month.
2. German’s northern Ally Finland stopping their attack towards Leningrad(St. Petersburg) at the old finish boarder from 1939, resulting in a siege that would bind an entire Axis Army for the rest of the war and stopping that army from being used to cut off the supply route over Murmansk.
3. The unusually unusually early and harsh winter.
4. Japans attack on Pearl Harbor and the resulting entry of the USA into the war.(Worsened by Japan not returning the favor of Hitlers declaration of War against the USA or at least blocking Russia shipping to America).
1. If one also looks at what would have likely happened if the Axis did not attack Russia it becomes quite clear that there was not much choice. A confrontation between Hitler and Stalin was imminent in the future. Stalin had only recognized the true weakness of Russia’s military during the 1939-1940 War against Finland. Even with the overwhelming size difference Russia could achieve a costly partial victory. After this experience a massive overhaul of the Russian military was started. Russia was getting stronger compared to Germany with each passing day.
After the failed air campaign against the British Isles and GB refusal to sue for Peace, Germany was dependent on importing Resources, but GB was successfully blockading them. Germany did have some imports from Russia and Iran. But Russia was increasingly using its resources for itself. To continue and end the was Germany did not have many other options.
It was Either Russia or the middle East. The middle east having the drawback that it would do nothing to slow down Russia’s improvement of their military. It also meant shipping units, supplies and resources over the Mediterranean Sea. With British superiority at sea a costly endeavor(which they proved to the anguish of the Africa Corps).
So the attack against Russia was actually a very solid decision.
2. The Capture of Stalingrad(unlike the order to not break out of the later Stalingrad cauldron) was not equally solid, but only a mistake in hindsight, though a devastating one. Germany High Command(not just Hitler) underestimated Russia’s ability to make a counter offensive. But Stalin was able to out fit new units and refit old units with the help of Allied Supplies.
Sometimes it is argued that not trying to capture Stalingrad but instead sending more or most forces south to capture the Caucasian Oil fields and resources would have been better than splitting up. But the fact is Germany needed both.
The resources to continue operating effectively and Stalingrad because of its Strategic placement. Failing at one would have meant Failing at both as it in the end did.
3. And Dunkirk is more a Myth of a mistake than an actual one. The Army Units that were stopped from attacking Dunkirk, were stopped (by Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt) with good reason. They were motorized armored Units and had outpaced most of their infantry support. If their attack had failed, the British and French troops in Dunkirk could have escaped southward. The myth relies on the idea that the Allied troops had left all their equipment behind in their retreat but the resistance surrounding Dunkirk during and after the evacuation shows otherwise. Yes the men on the beaches and in the water were quite defenseless, but the rearguard covering the retreat was not.
Also the idea to bomb the British into submission proved to be less effective than the leaders of the Air Force(to be reapeted by the attack with the Air raids against Britain) had envisioned, but ultimately failed mostly due to bad weather.