Hey, lets discuss WWII!

HammerHead

Rear Admiral
On a conventional war, it’s not that easy. The losses on the eastern front were far too great, it's unknown if the US would be willing fight a war of attrition with the Russians. It wouldn’t need to, anyway, because the US had nukes and the Soviets didn’t.

In any case of a conventional war on Russian soil, you forgot mother Russia's most notorious protector -
General Winter...

And about nukes - well, you could say that at the time the US "had the chance" to nuke the soviets away...

Luckily, (or should we say "sensibly"?) it didn't...
 

Drakon

Spaceman
I would think that a war between the US and Russia after WWII would have been a completely absurd situation. Though the States came out of the war with an incredible position of power, the notion that we should have turned on one of our most helpful Allies and try to conquer most of eurassia after that many years of conflict is ludicrous. The Soviets sacrified 10 times as many lives in the conflict as the rest of the Allies combined, and their major cities and economy were left in shambles by the war. If it hadn't been for their sacrifices Allied operations in Western Europe would have been much, much more difficult and costly. Nations just don't wage war every time they don't like one another, and especially not right after such a massive war at a time when Western and Eastern troops meeting one another on the front was a good thing.

On top of that, both the US and USSR were very defensive nations when it comes to big conflict. While they both wanted to spread their ideologies and power (sometimes political, other times military) over increasingly large portions of the world, neither was stupid enough to want to engage the other superpower outright if it'd lead to catastrophic losses - especially once H-bombs were coming into service. C'mon, there was so much villianating propaganda that people came to see their adversary's level of aggression and nature of character in completely distorted ways.

The US entered WWII because it had been attacked by the Japanese. We didn't want to fight in the war but somebody came on over and forced us to join in. Aside for the foray into Poland, the Russians were hardly doing anything until the Germans put them in a similar bind. Nobody decent actually wants war - especially the leaders of big nations that know that they have the most to lose if things go badly. Why didn't we crush the Soviet Union right there and then in the 40's? Because at the time they didn't endanger our security, and in hindsight nobody there at the time thought they were going to get the bomb, so no worries. I think the US was hoping to avoid ever having to wage war again by maintaining a nuclear monopoly. The Cold War that followed was a result of a mutual feeling of fear and intimidation induced by the Bomb not being an exlusive weapon. It shows the tendency towards self-interest even more clearly. Even today as the world's sole superpower we still foster this same stance towards war more often than not.
 

HammerHead

Rear Admiral
It's possible that one or two small nukes would make them surrender, like the japanese.

I seriously doubt that dear old Stalin would capitulate after one or two (or five, or even ten of the wwII era A-bombs - they were kind of "small") nukes. And beside - the entire US nuclear arsenal of the time (all TWO bombs) was used on Japan.
True - they were both used to to let Stalin know that "Hey, this first blast wasn't a fluck - we have nukes and we're not afraid to use them", but the truth is that all this A-bomb business was pretty much in it's diapers.
I also believe that Oppenheimer and Szilard and Einstein, as well as the whole American people would not approve such an adventure - the US is a democracy after all. (or at least, I want to believe that).


Luckily for whom?

Being who I am, and were I'm from, I believe that one genocide per world-war/century(/FOREVER) is quite enough... So I do believe it's lucky for all of us.


Also about what dragon said, I totally agree with you...

However,
I have this uncomfortable feeling that if the situation was the other way around - In which I mean that the US was the one devastated by 4 years of brutal warfare on it's soil, with tens of millions of deaths, and Stalinistic Russia (with emphasis on the Stalininstic part) was the industrial super-power who just saved the day and won the war -
We all were nice little commies today...
 

Tyrant

Spaceman
I would think that a war between the US and Russia after WWII would have been a completely absurd situation. Though the States came out of the war with an incredible position of power, the notion that we should have turned on one of our most helpful Allies and try to conquer most of eurassia after that many years of conflict is ludicrous. The Soviets sacrified 10 times as many lives in the conflict as the rest of the Allies combined, and their major cities and economy were left in shambles by the war. If it hadn't been for their sacrifices Allied operations in Western Europe would have been much, much more difficult and costly. Nations just don't wage war every time they don't like one another, and especially not right after such a massive war at a time when Western and Eastern troops meeting one another on the front was a good thing.

I was merely saying that as a what-if.



The US entered WWII because it had been attacked by the Japanese. We didn't want to fight in the war but somebody came on over and forced us to join in.

FDR wanted in anyway, and he was going to get us in, sooner or later. Pearl Harbour was just the perfect context for going to war.
 

Tyrant

Spaceman
I seriously doubt that dear old Stalin would capitulate after one or two (or five, or even ten of the wwII era A-bombs - they were kind of "small") nukes. And beside - the entire US nuclear arsenal of the time (all TWO bombs) was used on Japan.
True - they were both used to to let Stalin know that "Hey, this first blast wasn't a fluck - we have nukes and we're not afraid to use them", but the truth is that all this A-bomb business was pretty much in it's diapers.
I also believe that Oppenheimer and Szilard and Einstein, as well as the whole American people would not approve such an adventure - the US is a democracy after all. (or at least, I want to believe that).

Stuart Slade's The Big One covered this. We only had four bombs in 1945, three already used. The US nuke prodution system was jury rigged in '45. In our timeline, we took down that production line to build better ones, and that halted nuke production for 18 months. In The Big One, this didn't happen, the jury-rigged system kept going while we build better production lines. As a result, the US had the same number of nukes in 1947 as it did in 1949 in OTL.




Being who I am, and were I'm from, I believe that one genocide per world-war/century(/FOREVER) is quite enough... So I do believe it's lucky for all of us.

Agreed.



However,
I have this uncomfortable feeling that if the situation was the other way around - In which I mean that the US was the one devastated by 4 years of brutal warfare on it's soil, with tens of millions of deaths, and Stalinistic Russia (with emphasis on the Stalininstic part) was the industrial super-power who just saved the day and won the war -
We all were nice little commies today...

A Nazi invasion on US Soil was no more possible then a Nazi invasion of England, or the Germans actually being able to hold Moscow, or Vladivostok.

Unlike it's made out in ST: Enterprise's episode Stormfrount, a Nazi invasion of the USA simply couldn't be done. The USA is too far off, and has far too much manpower and industry to even hope to pull of a invasion. It'd be a worse meatgrinder for the German's then if their landing on Britan worked.
 

Drakon

Spaceman
Yeah, I know. Speculation is fun and debatable. It's always very thought-invoking to consider how differently things could have happened. ^^

As for FDR, that is a good point. Roosevelt is a hero of mine and if he'd have done something first Hawaii likely would never have been scathed. The Japanese wanted land desperately and really ought to have found an alternative to snatching away the territories and conspiring against more powerful nations. ;) On the other hand, if the fleet had been undamaged and we won the war against Japan before Germany fell there wouldn't have been an A-bomb for quite awhile I imagine. :eek:

And the Nazis actually being able to realize their goals... hehehe, I agree that it definitely wasn't possible with the force they started out with. Maybe if there had been 10 more years of buildup, but I think they'd really been hoping for an easy defeat of the Eastern nations and then being able to take on the Western ones a couple at a time. Wow did they start something they couldn't finish. xD I would think that since the Industrial Revolution perhaps it has been made impossible for a nation to dominate the world by force. Globalization can only happen only through the melding of economies and the strengthening of alliances. It's just too much of a strain on resources and population. :p
 

Delance

Victory, you say?
I seriously doubt that dear old Stalin would capitulate after one or two (or five, or even ten of the wwII era A-bombs - they were kind of "small") nukes. And beside - the entire US nuclear arsenal of the time (all TWO bombs) was used on Japan.

If he didn't surrender, the US could simply nuke him. The US would be able to manufacture more bombs way before the soviets.

Being who I am, and were I'm from, I believe that one genocide per world-war/century(/FOREVER) is quite enough... So I do believe it's lucky for all of us.

Actually there were multiple genocides on the XX century, and a major portion of which was commited by the same regime you think nuking was a bad idea. Considering the communists (either on the URSS or on nations where they rose to power due to soviet influence) murdered millions of people after the war, it's not lucky for those victims.

No one (or almost no one) likes the idea of using nukes, but we can't deny that it arguably could've saved millions of lives opressed and lost to totalitarian regimes after world war II, and not to mention prevented the entire cold war. But of course those "what-if" scenarios are not very clear.

Same deal with the US using nukes on Japan. It was a bad thing, I believe - killing civilians with nukes and radiation is a very bad thing - but it probably saved a lot of lives too. It's not a black & white situation.
 

Falcon988

Commodore
In a sense the Axis defeat was a foregone conclusion, if one looks at the economic aspect of the war, as one smart chap already mentioned. The Allies won because they were were wealthier, but most importantly they won because they actually mobilized their economies for war very early on. Little known fact (at least it seems little known to me) is that the German industry was not mobilized for total war until early 1943, after the defeat at Stalingrad.

In my opinion the war was decisively lost for the Axis in May 1940 when Churchill refused to surrender, which any rational head of state would have done given Britain's position at that point in the war. It is not often noted that Churchill really sacrificed Great Britain in order to win the war. They could have struck peace and maintained their influence and dominance in European and global affairs.

As far as the Battle of Britain goes, the Luftwaffe had the means to win it but not the knowledge. The way to do it would have been low level attacks with their Messerschmitt 110's. They experimented this tactic with a special squadron of 110's during the battle and achieved great success, but as it happens fate intervened. During one of those successful low level attacks one of the 110's got lost and dropped bombs on London, prompting an RAF reprisal raid against Berlin, prompting the Luftwaffe to alter its target permanently for London.

However, without the benefit of hindsight, we can't really blame the Luftwaffe commanders for not using their resources as well as they could have. Aerial warfare was still in its infancy after all. The real reason they won was because even as early as 1939 the British warplane industry was outproducing Germany's by a significant margin. It actually wasn't until 1944, after the mobilization of the economy, that Germany was able to produce more planes than the UK or the US but by then it was way way too late.

Really though, the whole thing was doomed by Hitler's insistence on attacking the Soviet Union as soon as possible. We need to keep in mind that he did not actually want to fight Britain and France when he did, the Germans did not expect those two countries to respond militarily to the invasion of Poland. Most of the commanders in German military were rather dismayed when hostilities broke out in 1939, they hadn't planned on having the military "ready" for war until the early to mid 40s (they especially wanted to improve the navy). The invasion of Poland, Churchill's refusal to surrender, and Hitler's haste to invade Russia essentially sucked Germany into a large scale intercontinental war that it was completely unprepared for. The German military fought superbly, their defensive battles in Russia are absolutely textbook, but the war was lost before the battles started at an economic and political level.


Edit regarding the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: the use of nuclear weapons at the time was the intelligent move by the United States from a purely military perspective. It benefited the United States greatly and helped them avoid the invasion of Japan. The U.S. lost 12,000 men at Okinawa, dozens of ships to kamikazes, and that battle was just the demo of what the invasion of Japan would have been like. Frankly the U.S. public would have made an outcry. Morally, the bombings were reprehensible but this is a moot point because war itself is reprehensible. One forgoes morality the moment one opts to kill an enemy. So morality doesn't factor into it, because the right thing to do would have been to avoid the war altogether. Once both sides commit morality steps aside and it becomes purely about maximizing damage to your enemy while minimizing your own.
 

Farbourne

Rear Admiral
Fascinating discussion, with some interesting points. A couple of thoughts:

1) The outcome of the war wasn't a foregone conclusion at its start--it only was from about 1943 on. But the Axis powers didn't expect to fight a world war--they thought they could grab some territory and end it. Think about the Japanese experience in the 19th and 20th century. In the 1860's, Japan is arguably the most advanced civilization in the world, but completely isolationist. The U.S. forces open their borders with a quick show of military force. The Euopeans show up in China and India, make some quick victories, and divide the land up. The U.S. has a couple of quick, decisive victories over Spain and attains all their far eastern possessions. Japan wins a few quick decisive victorys over Russia and acquires territory. Japan declares war on Germany during WWI and snatches some territory. The modus operandus of nations throughout this time period, especially in the far east, was to win a few decisive victories and force the other side to negotiate a quick peace--the myth of the "short, decisive war". So WWII rolls around, and Japan decides to win a few, quick decisive victories and grab some territory. What do the American people care if Japan, not the U.S., imperialistically dominates the Phillippines? Japan understimated the resolve of the Americans to pursue the war to the end. Even at the end, before the A-bomb, their thinking was that if they could bloody the Americans' nose enough, the U.S. would accept a conditional surrender and sign a peace treaty.

Germany believed a similar thing, and why not? They had grabbed Austria, and Europe had watched. They had grabed Czecheslovakia, and Europe had watched. They had grabbed Poland, and started the war, but even after the formal declaration, France and Britain sat and watched. And why should Britain care if Germany attacked the Russians, I'm sure Hitler thought. After all, the British feared communism as much, if not more, than Nazisim. Again, there was an underestimation of the resolve of the allies. And this resolve may almost have not been realized.

Roosevelt was facing serious opposition to continuing Lend-Lease, let alone entering the war. If Moscow had fallen to the Germans in 1941, or if Japan had not attacked the U.S. and Russia had fallen in 1942, the war might have ended with a German superpower, not a Russian one.

2). Regarding the idea that we could, and should, have just "taken out the Russians when we had the chance"--well, that is exactly the same mistake that Germany and Japan made at the start of the war. As we're finding out in Iraq, there is no such thing anymore as a "short, decisive war". Maybe we could have had a quick MILITARY victory over the Soviets in 1946 (although not necessarily---(1) the Soviet troops, thought bloodied, were in a high state of readiness, with a great deal of combat experience, and still had strong defensive infrastructure over the long length between Berlin and Moscow. (2) The Soviets had a LOT of land, and the U.S. had essentially only 1 A-bomb left, and A-bombs could only be built maybe one or two a year. Yes we had the B-29, but destroying cities does not equal conquering territory. We would have had to move troops all across the Atlantic and Europe to even get to the front, and then fight a determined foe, when the American people were all ready war-weary and wanting the troops to come home). However, even if we did triumph militarily, the amount of troops necessary to hold Russia and REBUILD it into a nation that is favorable to us would have been far beyond the capacity of the U.S. and Britain in 1946. I mean, we can't even do that in Iraq today, and Iraq is a lot smaller than Russia. Militarily defeating the Soviets would have left the country in chaos, we would have been unable to rebuild it in our image, and eventually, some new power would have arisen in Russia with an even stronger fear, distrust, hate of the U.S. and western Europe.
 

Farbourne

Rear Admiral
Incidentally, for a VERY good read about the Japanese thought process near the end of the war, and why the A-bomb did what it did for the surrender process, try treading "Japan's Longest Day". Great book about the Japanese perspective of the end of the war, and the coup that almost prevented the war from ending.
 

Death

gh0d (Administrator)
Really though, the whole thing was doomed by Hitler's insistence on [...]

... anything at all. :p Master strategist, Hitler was not.

Edit regarding the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: the use of nuclear weapons at the time was the intelligent move by the United States from a purely military perspective. It benefited the United States greatly and helped them avoid the invasion of Japan. The U.S. lost 12,000 men at Okinawa, dozens of ships to kamikazes, and that battle was just the demo of what the invasion of Japan would have been like. Frankly the U.S. public would have made an outcry. Morally, the bombings were reprehensible but this is a moot point because war itself is reprehensible. One forgoes morality the moment one opts to kill an enemy. So morality doesn't factor into it, because the right thing to do would have been to avoid the war altogether. Once both sides commit morality steps aside and it becomes purely about maximizing damage to your enemy while minimizing your own.

One could argue that there is a moral argument to be made for dropping the A-bombs. Instead of many millions of Japanese deaths (they were more than ready to send everyone at invaders, even small children, in suicide attacks) and even more of Japan turned to rubble (well, splinters or ash, given the emphasis on wooden structures) in a conventional invasion, there were only 2 cities blown up with A-bombs, and a little over 200 thousand deaths between them.
 

Sarty

Rear Admiral
This is all just speculation on my part, but I believe a lot of the tension between Russia and the US were due mostly to the failure of Operation Market Garden. If Market Garden had not been plaqued by airborne miss-drops and poor coordination because of them, it would have placed the US in Berlin a decent amount of time before Russia. There would still have been an East Germany and a West Germany, but all the hostility in Berlin itself, including the Berlin Wall, would not have been present. Russia may not have been able to secure as many German scientists as it did as well.
 

HammerHead

Rear Admiral
As far as the Battle of Britain goes, the Luftwaffe had the means to win it but not the knowledge. The way to do it would have been low level attacks with their Messerschmitt 110's. They experimented this tactic with a special squadron of 110's during the battle and achieved great success, but as it happens fate intervened. During one of those successful low level attacks one of the 110's got lost and dropped bombs on London, prompting an RAF reprisal raid against Berlin, prompting the Luftwaffe to alter its target permanently for London.

I disagree with you on the point that the Luftwaffe had the means to win - the Luftwaffe had no long range bomber - at any point in the war! - the "genius" corporal at the helm simply wouldn't let them make one - and it's not like their designers didn't offer designs for such bombers (some of the best designs of the war BTW).
True - the Luftwaffe tried some excellent tactics, but this no-big-bomber policy made sure that almost 2/3 of the British Isles would stay out of the Luftwaffe's reach - eventually the Brits would move their industry more to the north and the Luftwaffe would simply ran out of (strategic) targets.
The mistake that eventually made the German bomb civilians only hasten their loss of the BoB - but I do not believe they had any real chance of winning it (mainly because of Hitler's concepts of war)

However, without the benefit of hindsight, we can't really blame the Luftwaffe commanders for not using their resources as well as they could have. Aerial warfare was still in its infancy after all. The real reason they won was because even as early as 1939 the British warplane industry was outproducing Germany's by a significant margin. It actually wasn't until 1944, after the mobilization of the economy, that Germany was able to produce more planes than the UK or the US but by then it was way way too late.

I have posted the percentage on an earlier post but it seems I was a bit off -
this site discusses the reason for the Japaneses lose of the war, but if you'll scroll down a bit you'll see a nice table showing the total production of the main power as a percentage of the total global production made in the war - The Germans might have produced more planes then the Brits at some point, but they have never surpassed the American production - with the US production totaling almost 42% of the total global production of the war, no one nation ever did so.


Delance said:
Actually there were multiple genocides on the XX century, and a major portion of which was commited by the same regime you think nuking was a bad idea. Considering the communists (either on the URSS or on nations where they rose to power due to soviet influence) murdered millions of people after the war, it's not lucky for those victims.

No one (or almost no one) likes the idea of using nukes, but we can't deny that it arguably could've saved millions of lives opressed and lost to totalitarian regimes after world war II, and not to mention prevented the entire cold war. But of course those "what-if" scenarios are not very clear.

Same deal with the US using nukes on Japan. It was a bad thing, I believe - killing civilians with nukes and radiation is a very bad thing - but it probably saved a lot of lives too. It's not a black & white situation.

I must say I completely agree.



One last - another excellent read about Japan and Japanese policies and viewing of the war - The rising Sun, by John Toland.
 

Farbourne

Rear Admiral
I disagree with you on the point that the Luftwaffe had the means to win - the Luftwaffe had no long range bomber - at any point in the war! - the "genius" corporal at the helm simply wouldn't let them make one - and it's not like their designers didn't offer designs for such bombers (some of the best designs of the war BTW).
True - the Luftwaffe tried some excellent tactics, but this no-big-bomber policy made sure that almost 2/3 of the British Isles would stay out of the Luftwaffe's reach - eventually the Brits would move their industry more to the north and the Luftwaffe would simply ran out of (strategic) targets.
The mistake that eventually made the German bomb civilians only hasten their loss of the BoB - but I do not believe they had any real chance of winning it (mainly because of Hitler's concepts of war)

That argument would be great if the Battle of Britain had been about crushing Britain's industry, but it wasn't, really. At least, not at first (you're right that Hitler's misguided orders to shift the focus to civilian targets doomed the effort).

The purpose of the BoB, from the German standpoint, was to establish local air superiority over the southern part of Britain, so as to neutralize the British navy (which, I might add, consisted largely of cruisers and battleships, which weren't *quite* as pointless as some posters in this thread have implied) so that they could establish a solid beachhead for Operation SeaLion. The British being able to move their industry north would have done no good if the Germans had succesfully landed an invasion and overrun the islands as they had overrun France and the Low Countries.

And Germany had been very close to that aim. The British Air Defense was all but smashed when the Germans switched their focus to London and civilian targets and gave them a chance to re-arm. Had the Germans kept targeting airfields a little bit longer, and been smarter about taking out the British radar installations, then they could have used the air superiority to fend off the British fleet away from their invasion force, and they *might* have been able to successfully land the Wehrmarch and either take over the islands or at the least force a peace treaty, taking Britain out of the war.

I'm a fairly big WWII airplane buff, but even I will concede that the importance of heavy bombers is often overstated, especially in the European theater.
 

Falcon988

Commodore
Kriegsmarine would have had a hell of a time fending off the British navy in the Channel though. That would have been ugly.
 

Tyrant

Spaceman
Kriegsmarine would have had a hell of a time fending off the British navy in the Channel though. That would have been ugly.

True. The Germans thought the U-Boat was literally it, and their ships suffered for it. The Graf Zepplin was supposed to be a horrible design, and the Nazi's later ship designs were extremely grusome.

Although I'd love to see a fight between Prince of Wales and the Tirpitz.
 

Delance

Victory, you say?
In Panzer General, the game, you can use your prestige to have Germany invade Spain, take Gibraltar, and free the Italian Navy to help invade England. It's quite a fight.

A later scenario has the American Navy, Army and air power protecting britain. On the other hand, the player has Tigers.
 

Falcon988

Commodore
Little known fact (at least I never see anyone mention it) is that the Germans were intent on capturing the French navy in 1940 for use against Britain. After the surrender Churchill ordered the British navy to attack French units in a neutral harbor in the Mediteranean to force them to remain there for the duration of the war, sinking a few and preventing the ships from being used by Germany. About 1200 French sailors died as a result. It's a rather controversial act that rankled the British and French relationship quite a bit.

Wiki article on said attack http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attack_on_Mers-el-Kébir


Also later on at Toulon the Germans tried to capture a rather large sized French fleet but the French scuttled the entire thing before they could. Germany's greatest disadvantage in the war was its lack of a powerful navy, and Britain's greatest advantage was its own navy. If the Kriegsmarine -had- gotten their hands on the French navy either in 1940 or 1942 (when the Toulon scuttling took place) things would have gone quite differently in Western Europe and North Africa. Without naval superiority the Allies would have found their landings at North Africa, Italy, and France quite a bit more problematic than they were. They would have had to fight many naval battles in order to diminish the Kriegsmarine enough for them to do operations like those.
 

HammerHead

Rear Admiral
Actually, IIRC, the French Vichy government has ordered what ever was left of the French navy (and was under her control) to fire on the allied forces which were going to invade N. Africa in operation Torch in 1943.
Eventually Ike (Eisenhower) had managed to get a French admiral (François Darlan) to join up with the allies instead.
(That inxlude both the French navy of the Med. sea as well as the Frech XIX corp. stationed at Maroco)
 
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