Germany in WWII Essay

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Germany's Failure in World War II

Germany had launched several successful attacks and was successful in conquering several territories such as Poland, Netherlands and France, that proved Germany is invincible. However, Germany failed in strategic planning. The first obvious attack was on Britain, where its aerial attacks were softened. If they had been strong and steadfast, Germany would have been successful in invading United Kingdom. However, German troops were called back. This was the first silent defeat of Germany. Secondly, it had attacked Russia without proper planning. Russia is a large country with large territory and winter.

Germany's Failure in World War II

In World War I, Germany's failure was because two reasons: inadequate alliances and war of several fronts. During the World War II, Germany was close to achieve its target but failed to win the war. Hitler failed to manage the areas he had conquered and this allowed the opposition to rebel against the German forces in the occupied territories. Organized army, strong alliances, weapons and resources, gave advantage to the Allied Forces and had been successful in weakening German forces during the final stages of the World War II. Even though Germany was successful in conquering territories from Poland to France, it failure was inevitable. The goal of this paper is to analyze why Germany had failed to win the World War II and why it was unable to translate tactical and operational victories into strategic success.

Background

In the year 1939, before invading Poland, preparations were being made to initiate the war. Initial preparations were started as soon as Hitler came into power in 1933[footnoteRef:2]. He had signed the treaty of Versailles, which did not allow Germany to maintain proper army. Therefore, Hitler concentrated on creating an army, navy and air forced in secret[footnoteRef:3]. In the year 1936, Germany recaptured Rhineland, annexed Austria as part of Germany in 1938 and made claims on Bohemis-Moravia and Memel in 1939. These occupations were not taken seriously by European powers. Britain declared war against Germany on September 1, 1939 as Germany invaded Poland[footnoteRef:4]. However, Britain failed to provide assistance to Poland and therefore, it had to retreat to the German forces. This allowed Hitler to believe that he is invincible and no power can avert his dream of conquering entire Europe. Temporary opposition came from Soviet Union but in 1940, Nazis had successfully conquered Denmark and Norway in order to gain access to Norwegian Ports, where Swedish iron ores were secured[footnoteRef:5]. Tactic used by Germany was "lightning war" tactic, where it successfully invaded a territory and forcefully occupied it before the Allied Forces can take any action[footnoteRef:6]. During the 1940, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France were attacked and invaded. After France's surrender to German and Italian forces, Germany next target was to attack England. [2 S.J. Lewis. The fall of Poland, September 1939. U.S. ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE. ] [3: Murray, Williamson A. "The World in Conflict." In The Cambridge History of Warfare.Edited by Geoffrey Parker, 322 -- 29. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005.] [4 S.J. Lewis. The fall of Poland, September 1939. U.S. ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE] [5: Murray, Williamson A. "Strategic Bombing: The British, American, and German Experiences." In Military Innovation in the Interwar Period.Edited by Williamson A. Murray and Allan R. Millett, 96 -- 143. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996.] [6: Bell, P.M.H. The Origins of the Second World War in Europe. (3rd ed. 2007).]

Invasion of Britain

Germany's next objective was to invade Britain. In the 1940, the Battle of Britain was initiated by Germany through air attacks. The Luftwaffe concentrated on accomplishing supremacy in air battles and was considered to be the first major attack and confrontation. Furthermore, many historians believe that this was the first turning point that affected Germany. Germany armies were divided into three groups, who were part of Operation Sealion. This Operation concentrated on attacking the south coast of England. However, Germany had to face defeats. Herman Goering, who was the commander in Chief of the Luftwaffe, attacks on Britain were not strong. Furthermore, Germans were not successful in defeating radar systems and air warning systems of Britain[footnoteRef:7]. This was the initial stage of the battle. Germany faced losses. However, Commander in Chief of RAF, Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Downing had experienced issues and hurdles because the number of fighters decreases. During this time, Germany changed its strategy. 15 of September was the turning point for Germany and RAF, as Luftwaffe failed to annihilate the RAF forces and therefore, Hitler had no choice but to call back Luftwaffe and thus, it was silent victory for Britain and defeat for Germany. This silent victory had been successful in fortifying Britain's position. [7: Deist, Wilhelm et al., ed. Germany and the Second World War. Vol. 1: The Build-up of German Aggression. (2001). 799 pp., official German history]

Germany's Failure to maintain its Power in Territories it Conquered

The silent victory of Britain in Battle of Britain, gave it the confidence to launch attacks on Germany through air. Furthermore, occupied areas experienced revolts and oppositions and guerrilla fighters emerged to sabotage German forces.

Attack on Russia

Hitler took the decision to invade Russia and this was a wrong decision. Firstly, territorially, Russia was large. Furthermore, it had extreme winter and a large and powerful army. Before attacking Russia, a treaty was signed between the two countries. However, Germany violated it and launched Operation Barbarossa, which after few months, was proved to be wrong decision. Germany army was only equipped with summer fighting equipment[footnoteRef:8]. The Operation Barbarossa was launched in three phases, north, south and center, targeting Leningrad, Ukraine and Moscow respectively[footnoteRef:9]. German Luftwaffe was successful in defeating the Russian Defenders and Nazi legions were successful in capturing 150000 prisoners along with 1200 tanks and 600 weaponry. Russian territories captured included Kiev, Smolensk and Riga. In 1942, Hitler ordered to his army to attack Stalingrad, which ended in a failure as Russians had encircled that German unit. Attacks were also made in south of Russia and the costs associated with it proved to be fatal for Germany as compared to the victories[footnoteRef:10]. Furthermore, German army did not have access to winter clothing, their vehicles were frozen and communication lines were disrupted. In north of Stalingrad, Germany and Russia faced the greatest tank battle and Germany had to face defeat because of failed aerial attacks[footnoteRef:11]. In Russia, Germany experienced defeat in Kursk also. North African campaign also failed as it required more resources and men[footnoteRef:12]. [8: Davies, Norman (2008). No Simple Victory: World War II in Europe, 1939 -- 1945. New York: Penguin Group] [9: Jonathan M. House. The German Invasion, 1941. The Soviet-German Conflict Reading H207RB] [10: Sommerville, Donald (2008). The Complete Illustrated History of World War Two: An Authoritative Account of the Deadliest Conflict in Human History with Analysis of Decisive Encounters and Landmark Engagements. Lorenz Books.] [11: Jonathan M. House. The German Invasion, 1941. The Soviet-German Conflict Reading H207RB] [12: Lightbody, Bradley (2004). The Second World War: Ambitions to Nemesis. Routledge]

Declaring War against USA

Germany declared war against USA because of its alliance with Japan. Japanese Bombing of Pearl Harbor made Hitler think that USA would be busy with Japan. However, U.S. forced were sent to Europe as well as North Africa. USA supplied men and materials to Allied Forces in Europe, which allowed them to overcome German forces.

Other Defeats

Axis Ally Italy also experienced defeat on July 1943 and this was a massive blow for Germany. In 1944, Allied Forces were successful in liberating France. The Battle of the Bulge also failed and thus marked the end of German attacks.

Analysis

Germany had launched several successful attacks and was successful in conquering several territories such as Poland, Netherlands and France. Initial victories demonstrated that Germany is invincible. However, Germany failed in strategic planning. The first obvious attack was on Britain, where its aerial attacks were softened. If they had been strong and steadfast, Germany would have been successful in invading United Kingdom. However, German troops were called back. This was the first silent defeat of Germany. Secondly, it had attacked Russia without proper planning. Russia is a large country with large territory and winter. German troops did not have access to winter clothing, fuel and equipment, which further wasted Germany's time and resources. Attacks in North Africa also proved to be disastrous as Hitler had assumed that USA would not send its troops there and would be busy dealing with Japan in the Pacific. However, the opposite happened. Germany had to face uprisings in North Africa as well as American troops. It required resources and army and therefore, it was busy in Russia. If Russian attack had not been launched, Germany would have been able to deal with uprisings in North Africa. USA had sent its army and materials to Europe in order to deal with German forces. This was another smashing blow for Germany[footnoteRef:13]. [13: Brody, J Kenneth (1999). The Avoidable…[continue]

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