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World War II ending year?

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jdean
614426.  Thu Sep 17, 2009 10:42 am Reply with quote

bobwilson wrote:
I agree that Germany would ultimately lose the war as it had an unsustainable economic model. But the single biggest factor that shortened the war was the inexplicable decision by Germany to declare war on the US. Make no mistake - despite all the Boys Own comics - Britain was defeated by Germany.


I must take exception to this. Opperation Sealion was canceled because the Royal Navy and the RAF were still opperational, very much so. They would have taken a prohibative toll on any German forces crossing the chanell.

Britain was not defeated, even if we were on the edge.

Also, I think you underestimate the part played by the USSR. Certainly, Britain would have been defeated without American involvement, but without the USSR the cost of victory would have been much higher.

 
tetsabb
617283.  Thu Sep 24, 2009 2:36 pm Reply with quote

While so much effort has been put into the start of WWII on this forum, I wonder if it would be interesting to ask older relatives, friends, neighbours what their perception was in Sept 1939 of what Britain was going to war for. Sadly, it is too late for me to ask my parents, who were in their late teens at outbreak of war.
By the following summer, after Dunkirk and the start of the Battle of Britain, any British adult would have seen it as a fight for survival, but I would love to know what the feeling was among the general population at the time of the declaration of hostilities.
Were we defending Poland, defending the Empire, combatting an evil oppressor?
(I think that the last became a post-facto justification for the war from 1943 or so, once awareness began to spread of what was happening in the concentration camps)

 
Curious Danny
617478.  Fri Sep 25, 2009 3:52 am Reply with quote

I remember from education that Kristallnacht and the Absorption of Czechslovakia after the 4 power garuntee at Muncih went a long way to turning public opinion against the Nazis.

 
otyikondo
654216.  Wed Jan 06, 2010 6:20 pm Reply with quote

tetsabb wrote:
While so much effort has been put into the start of WWII on this forum, I wonder if it would be interesting to ask older relatives, friends, neighbours what their perception was in Sept 1939 of what Britain was going to war for. Sadly, it is too late for me to ask my parents, who were in their late teens at outbreak of war.
By the following summer, after Dunkirk and the start of the Battle of Britain, any British adult would have seen it as a fight for survival, but I would love to know what the feeling was among the general population at the time of the declaration of hostilities.
Were we defending Poland, defending the Empire, combatting an evil oppressor?
(I think that the last became a post-facto justification for the war from 1943 or so, once awareness began to spread of what was happening in the concentration camps)


Not speaking specifically for what Britons thought they were going into war for, but I am reminded of the famous quote by the French neosocialist Marcel Déat in L'Oeuvre: “Mourir pour Dantzig?”.

He and others of his ilk certainly did not relish going into bat for the Polish Corridor. I would not be too surprised if there were not quite a few who thought similarly in the UK at the time.

I'm not sure if this has been covered in any great detail, but the whole significance of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939 was not necessarily its non-aggression aspects but the so-called secret protocol to the agreement that divided the spoils of Eastern Europe into spheres of interest, such that things would be returned to the status quo existing between the wars, with Poland divided between the two neighbouring superpowers and the three Baltics (by this stage quasi-dictatorships) going back to Russia, along with Finland, which had earlier been a Russian Grand Duchy.

With the table set in this way, both Nazi Germany and Russia knew from the get-go that they could pretty much play as they wished in their respective backyards.

For Soviet Russia, one significant factor was the securing of Leningrad and access to the Baltic via the Gulf of Finland, which they had enjoyed until the loss of the Baltic States - Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania - and of Finland, whose border with the USSR was perilously close to Leningrad in the Karelian Isthmus, and which controlled the northern shore of the Gulf. This was the ostensible reason for their attack on Finland in late November 1939, after a further agreement with Germany in late October had divided up Poland and ensured them that the coast was clear for a push into the areas under their "sphere of influence".

Incidentally, they took a leaf out of Hitler's book when going after Finland. The opening salvo was a false flag shelling in Mainila, just as Germany had carried out at the end of August in Gleiwitz.

To whomsoever it was who said that Hitler was encouraged by the poor showing of the Russians against the Finns in 1939-40, yes, he probably was, but he ought to have known that Stalin would not make the same mistake twice (purging his high command before the offensive, taking the opposition too lightly, using troops completely unfamiliar with winter warfare, and deploying suicidal tactics that meant the fighting was often licensed slaughter).

Once bitten, twice shy.

My late father-in-law fought in both the Winter War and the Continuation War of 1941-44. He was in some pretty bad places and at very bad times. He didn't talk much about it, and he was scared of thunder. Considering that in 1944, when the Soviets made their final push on the Isthmus, they had nearly 3,000 45mm and 50mm guns lined up on a 20km front and let go practically non-stop (like 80,000-odd rounds), I'm not altogether surprised.

 
joefoxon1
661350.  Sun Jan 24, 2010 10:39 am Reply with quote

The war did end in 1945. Germany did not split until 1948, so it did exist at the time the peace treaty was signed.

 
Vacca
661723.  Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:08 am Reply with quote

bobwilson wrote:

Hitler began the war against Russia when it was clear that Britain was defeated. And in the summer of 1941 there was absolutely no doubt that despite the cancellation of SeaLion Britain WAS defeated........Because it's embarrassing - we were defeated.



You have a strange concept of what "defeated" means. While Britain might not have been able to wage war against Germany in mainland Europe, they were far from defeated. Sure, they had lost the battles, but in the end, they (and the allies together) won the war.

A boxer who is knocked down, might seem "defeated", but without a ten count, he's not.

Hitlers biggest mistake was allowing the British army to escape at Dunkirk. Letting his tanks press on and destroy the army there, would almost certainly have had Britain suing for peace. Instead, he failed to defeat Britain and allowed a second front to remain in place. A mistake which ultimately cost him the war.

 
bobwilson
661920.  Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:51 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
You have a strange concept of what "defeated" means. While Britain might not have been able to wage war against Germany in mainland Europe, they were far from defeated. Sure, they had lost the battles, but in the end, they (and the allies together) won the war.


Britain could not have won the war (or even defended against an invasion) with the situation as it was in 1940. If Hitler hadn't declared war on the US following the Pearl Harbor attack then that situation would have remained the same.

Quote:
Hitlers biggest mistake was allowing the British army to escape at Dunkirk.


That's not true. The decision to allow the British Army to evacuate Dunkirk was a calculated political decision designed to encourage a peaceful settlement with the British Empire. A decision to destroy the army would have led to political repurcussions. The British Army posed no threat to Hitler - by allowing it to leave he presented a face that showed magnaminity.

As a Brit (and as many of my posts will show - an Anti-Yank Brit) I have to confess that it was the US that won the war. Britain was absolutely defeated in 1940 - and it was only the fortuitous decision of Hitler to declare war on the US that turned the tide.

 
Curious Danny
662003.  Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:14 am Reply with quote

Although nobody knows for sure exactly why Hitler ordered the advance on Dunkirk to be halted - it could just as easily have been a petulant response to his commanders advancing ahead of his orders.
Also, you could also point out that without Britain and her territories being available as a landing point, the US could hardly have fought Hitler in mainland Europe.

 
AlmondFacialBar
662008.  Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:23 am Reply with quote

joefoxon1 wrote:
The war did end in 1945. Germany did not split until 1948, so it did exist at the time the peace treaty was signed.


it still didn't, because we merely capitulated. there was, to my knowledge, no peace treaty.

as for the beginning of the war - i still have a photo of my grandma a couple of family members on the beach in timmendorf, dated on the back as august 31st, 1939. i wish i had found it while she was still alive because i'd love to have asked her about what it felt like to her to look at it with hindsight. to me the picture and the date on the back are just absolutely chilling, the innocence of the holiday shot vs. the knowledge what was to happen just one day later.

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
Vacca
662642.  Wed Jan 27, 2010 12:25 pm Reply with quote

Curious Danny wrote:

Also, you could also point out that without Britain and her territories being available as a landing point, the US could hardly have fought Hitler in mainland Europe.



One could also point out that without Britain, WW2 might never have begun in the first place and the US would never have needed to go to war with Germany (this is not meant to blame Britain for WW2 btw).

 
Curious Danny
662652.  Wed Jan 27, 2010 12:50 pm Reply with quote

Vacca wrote:
Curious Danny wrote:

Also, you could also point out that without Britain and her territories being available as a landing point, the US could hardly have fought Hitler in mainland Europe.



One could also point out that without Britain, WW2 might never have begun in the first place and the US would never have needed to go to war with Germany (this is not meant to blame Britain for WW2 btw).


You could equally blame Russia for existing.

 
soup
730193.  Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:24 pm Reply with quote

If it is accepted that Germany couldn't surrender as it didn't exist again until reunification, the USSR IS still at war with Japan.

It can't sign any armistice as it no longer exists, the USSR will stay at war with Japan until it reunifies and can sign some sort of 'end war agreement'.

 
Sadurian Mike
732974.  Wed Aug 11, 2010 3:12 pm Reply with quote

bobwilson wrote:
That's not true. The decision to allow the British Army to evacuate Dunkirk was a calculated political decision designed to encourage a peaceful settlement with the British Empire. A decision to destroy the army would have led to political repurcussions. The British Army posed no threat to Hitler - by allowing it to leave he presented a face that showed magnaminity.

*cough*
Hitler most certainly did not allow the British to evacuate Dunkirk. He halted his tanks, that's all. Why this was done can be interpreted in several ways (the Arras counter-attack made him more cautious, the losses in his dwindling armour gave him pause for thought, he didn't want a single commander to gain the glory, etc, etc), but the fact is that he ordered the Luftwaffe to destroy both the troops being evacuated and the ships taking them away. He also ordered the tanks to resume their advance and destroy the Dunkirk pocket once it was clear that air power alone wasn't up to the job.

Many lives and ships were lost at Dunkirk, it was most assuredly not an evacuation "allowed" by Hitler

bobwilson wrote:
As a Brit (and as many of my posts will show - an Anti-Yank Brit) I have to confess that it was the US that won the war. Britain was absolutely defeated in 1940 - and it was only the fortuitous decision of Hitler to declare war on the US that turned the tide.

I (and they) would cite the Russians as the winners but, as with so many things, the answer is a combination of factors.

 
Sparkyweasel
735702.  Sun Aug 22, 2010 6:30 pm Reply with quote

Apparently WW2 ended in September 1940.
Source; Daily Mail :)

When criticising the BBC website for showing the wrong photo in a story, DM on-line wrote;

"Winging it: BBC homepage use image of planes that were not used in the Battle of Britain. The aircraft was ordered from the US, but didn't arrive in the UK until September 1941, a year after the war had ended".

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1305108/Spitfires-4-o-clock-Not-BBC-s-Battle-Britain-website-mistakenly-used-picture-US-plane-didn-t-1940-conflict.html

Pots and kettles.

 
john.birch
747786.  Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:23 pm Reply with quote

bobwilson wrote:
Hitler began the war against Russia when it was clear that Britain was defeated. And in the summer of 1941 there was absolutely no doubt that despite the cancellation of SeaLion Britain WAS defeated. I know it's unfashionable but the simple truth is that, invaded or not, Britain was irrelevant in late 1941. Ever wonder why British history glosses over the period after the Battle of Britain and before 1942? Because it's embarrassing - we were defeated.

Despite the heroic stories the truth is that Nazi Germany lost the war because of its own internal contradictions. But hey - why ruin a good yarn with death and glory for a plain truth? Go ahead - write your A Level essay and get an A Plus and go on to peddle the same old lies to a new generation.


Sorry if I have only just picked up on this, and I guess this rather depends on the definition of "defeated". But to begin with, if Britain could not invade Europe, and Germany could not invade Britain, we have a stalemate? Britain was effectively neutralised, though still capable of bombing Berlin so not entirely out of things.

However even if we accept that Britain was out of the European war, in as much as it ceased to be a threat to German ambitions on the continent, are you not forgetting that the war was not just taking place in Europe? A year after the Battle of Britain we have El Alamein which began the roll-up of Axis forces in Africa. That was done by exclusively British and Empire forces - which is a bit odd if we were defeated.

As Stalingrad had also happened by this point, even without the USA joining the war, Germany would have been defeated with Imperial forces pushing them out of Africa, and the USSR rolling them up in Europe. Its possible that without US support the 8th Army would not have been able to invade Italy, but that hardly matters as far as German defeat is concerned. They were doomed ("defeated" by your definition) from the end of 1941.

In practice the only difference the US made was to bring about the end of the war a bit earlier and (more importantly) to save western Europe from being "liberated" by the Soviet Union.

 

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