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What were the major turning points of World War 2?

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Major Turning Points of World War 2This is a question that cannot have a definitive answer. In such a large confict, there are certainly many "turning points", and there will be differing opinions on them. Here are some of the many opinions offered by FAQ Farmers:
Battle of Britain
  • If the RAF had been destroyed, the English fleet could have then been attacked by the German air force and navy, resulting in the invasion of England and Spain joining the war alongside Germany. Spanish leaders had said if England was knocked out of the war they would join in.
  • If Germany had defeated or otherwise subdued Britain in 1940, Germany would have reaped these benefits: time to continue building their military machine before invading Russia; the ability to attack Russia without Britain as an enemy in the rear; loss to the Allies of Britain as a staging area for invasion of Europe/Africa, etc. It is not all that far-fetched, that the Germans could have won the Battle of Britain. Their strategic mistake was to shift the point of attack, from the RAF (attain air superiority), to wanton and pointless destruction of British cities. The Germans were actually winning the Battle, although both sides were suffering horrendous losses, when they switched to bombing cities, etc. Once the Luftwaffe had achieved air superiority over Britain, an invasion (by air or sea) becomes achievable.
  • In terms of the western front, the Luftwaffe failure to defeat the RAF in the Battle of Britain was a major failure on the German part, and it's not like they didn't have the opportunity, with Hitler and Goering changing tactics from the airfields to the cities just when the RAF's back was nearly broken. (It came back to haunt the Germans later when the Allies began to launch the infamous bombing raids on German cities and the main industrial sectors.)
  • This was probably one of the most important turning points in the war. If Hitler had defeated Britain the US and Russia would have lost a valuable ally and it would have allowed Germany to concentrate on the USSR. It also allowed D-Day and El Alamein to happen.
  • The Battle of Britain was one of the most important events during the courseof World War II, this showed the people of the world that Hitler was not undefeatable, the British showed everyone what the Germans were weak at. The Battle of Britain kept the British from German control and later staged the D-Day landings, when if the Allies had not re-entered Europe Russia would have been alone against the Germans. If the Americans, British and other Allied forces had not gained the French beaches then France would have still been under German control. Without Britain being free, Germany would still have controlled Eastern Europe, and would not have had to fight on two fronts, meaning it could concentrate the bulk of their forces in Russia.
  • I give the BoB a low ranking on the ladder because it was really only a pipe dream of Hitler's. There was no way he could have moved enough men across the Channel, let alone gain air superiority. Nevertheless, the Battle of Britain ate up many German aircraft that otherwise would have been flying over the Eastern Front.
  • If the Luftwaffe had concentrated more on the airfields of the RAF instead of tartgeting British cities, the RAF could well have been utterly destroyed leaving Britain defenceless from the air. Hitler may have been satisfied at this outcome at leaving Britain weaker, rather than invading. The lack of RAF would have certainly have weakened Britain's position in the war, for example, no air recon planes to observe German movements by sea and air. Thus, German warships and subs may have been able to roam freely without being spotted apart from by other ships, and would causes more damage to the British shipping fleet. If Britain had been invaded by the sea, it may have led to the invasion of the Soviet Union being postponed for a year or more, depending on how the invasion of Britain went.

Battle of The Atlantic
  • If the Germans had won here (although it was much more of a terror war than anything else; less than one percent of Britain's total merchant-marine was sunk) it would have made the Torch and Overlord/Gymnast landings impossible.
  • If the U.S. had not been able to help Britain in the form of materials, ships, food i.e. the Lend-Lease Act, the Brits would of fallen to the Germans, or at the very least been useless to the war effort. And if the Brits would have fallen, there would have been no African Campaign. In that case, the Germans would have been fighting one on one with the Russians, and based on the initial performance of Germany, it is almost certain they would of crushed Russia.

D-Day (Operation Overlord)
  • Europe was occupied by the Germans, their troops were concentrated on taking over Russia, so most of the troops were stationed there. The Germans always expected the Allies to attack Europe someday, they just didn't know when. When D-Day took place their Atlantic wall was destroyed, heavy fights with great losses on both sides took place in the area around Normandie. Those fights were even worse and cost more casualties than the rush on Normandie itself. The battle of the Bulge and The Bocage were probably the hardest tasks for the Allied forces. After those places were finally taken over by the Allies, most parts of France were secured. After that the Netherlands and Belgium were freed. The German Army got weaker and weaker. The Germans desperately tried to win the battles in Stalingrad (Russia) almost all their reinforcement was sent there, but the Russians beat them. I would say D-Day and the battles in Russia made it possible to defeat the Germans. After this there just wasn't a chance for the German Army to win the war in Europe.
  • The importance of the U.S. involvement in Europe cannot be understated. Some say Russia would have won the war against Germany without U.S. support. This statement is totally bogus. The Germans got all the way to Moscow before they were stopped by a combination of things. Even with the demise of the 6th Army, Hitler still had enough troops to stop the Russians. The reason he could not stop them is because he had to man the Atlantic Wall from a western invasion and continue his fighting in North Africa. This is where the United States comes in. Stalin had been begging President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill to start a second front so as to relieve the Russian burden as early as the Argentine Conference in 1941. Just the threat of a U.S. invasion made Germany move troops from Russia to France, which made is easier for the Russians when they finally went over to the offensive because they had less enemy to fight.

Battle of the Bulge
  • Where the German forces in the West were broken. The Bulge was the climax of the campaign in the West.

Operation Cobra
  • In Europe, on the Western Front, you could argue for Operation Cobra, since that was when the Western Allies broke out and removed the Germans from France and Belgium and put them onto the defensive.

Battles of Gustav Line/Monte Cassino
  • This ended the most staunch and fierce German resistance outside the Soviet Union and finally allowed the Allies to move on Rome.

Second Battle of El Alamein
  • The battle of El Alemain deprived Germany of the Middle Eastern oil fields and necessitated the invasion of the tCaucasus that ended disastrously at Stalingrad.
  • Put an end to the Desert Fox's escapades in Egypt and brought the 8th Army back from the brink, allowing for Torch to knock Italy out of the war.
  • Resulted in the loss of the Afrika Korps for the Germans. Opened up the British for a more active role in the mainland war.

Hitler's Meddling and Japanese Military Arrogance
  • The major turning points in World War Two are always described with major battles that Germany and Japan had lost. Whilst this is clearly seen there are many mistakes made by these nations leading up to and after these battles. They say it is the little things that count, so when you look at the mistakes made by Germany leading up to the second battle of El Alamein and Stalingrad there becomes clear a picture of less noticed turning points leading to these debacles. Firstly allowing the British and French forces to escape from Dunkirk, The Battle of Britain, the failure to defeat Britain, the failure to occupy Malta, the underestimation of Soviet strength in material and determination to fight, the belief that an entire army could be supplied totally by air transport and the failure to destroy American Aircraft Carriers at Pearl Harbour. These mistakes and there are more that have not been mentioned all contribute to the major losses the Axis forces suffered. There can be said that it was Arrogance and a overestimation of there own abillities that was the turning point in World War Two.
  • Most of the blame rests squarely on Hitler. He not only got involved in a two front war, which is a major no-no in most military scenerios, but he was actually involved on three fronts. The first front was the Russian, the second was the Invasion of Europe through France, the third was the invasion of Italy by the Allies. The latter two involving major U.S. forces which diverted German soldiers from Russia, thus allowing the Russians an easier and faster route to Berlin. Ironically, multi-front fighting is one of the core reasons Hitler labled the pre-Nazi government as criminals, saying they got Germany involved in a hopeless war which ended with their defeat in WWI.
  • The most critical error of WW2 began with Adolph Hitler. The German General Staff knew that they didn't have the logistics or modern military equipment to win a large war in the late 1930s. They wanted to wait until 1945 and develop their weapons and logistics to defeat Western Europe and then defeat Eastern Europe. Hitler though was getting older and impatient and wanted to see his 3rd Reich.
  • There are many areas that Hitler lost the war, it has been stated numerous times that if he had not stopped the panzers from closing Dunkirk, or if he had continued the attacks on the RAF airfields and radar stations, Operation Sealion could have happened, or if he had focused more research on U-boots (remember the early wooden rifles incidents), or if the drive into the Soviet Union had been focused on seizing Moscow in the late August early Sept. time frame, so on and so on. As Hitler stated before the war, the winner will be the side the commits the fewest blunders. Germany if properly ran could have won WWII even though it was a three front war, East, West and South.

Germany Attacking Russia (Operation Barbarossa)
  • The single largest point of failure that cost the Axis powers the war was Germany attacking Russia ("Barbarossa"). This meant the Germans were fighting on multiple fronts, something the leaders of Germany (even in 1914!) desperately tried to avoid because they knew the possible results. By having the Germans stuck between two larger forces, and knocked out of the war, the Japanese were doomed. This is irregardless of what actually happened in the Pacific. Had Midway not happened, had Japan taken Port Moresby, they still would have lost (eventually), as the combined might of the Allied nations would have ground them to dust.

Moscow and Leningrad
  • The failure of Germany to capture Moscow and Leningrad when they first invaded the Soviet Union cost them dearly.

Stalingrad
  • The first major German loss on the land. Soviet victory here rallied the Allies and proved that the Wehrmacht was definitely not invincible.
  • No doubt about it. It consumed a huge chunk of the Wermacht (German army).
  • In the east, easily Stalingrad. The Soviets destroyed the 6th Army, which, in turn, forced the other half of Army Group South (engaged in capturing the Caucasus and Baku oil fields) to withdraw to the north-west to regroup and form a new defensinve line. The failure to capture the oil fields cut off the Axis powers from any hope of finding a large enough fuel source to continue an effective war, essentially sealing their fate with that of the 6th Army.
  • The climactic turning points of WWII are the battles of Moscow and Stalingrad. I don't want to insult Western people, but in 1944, when Allies commenced "Overlord", there was no doubt that Germany would be defeated by Russia. In 1942 Germany had more than five million excellent soldiers in Russia (compare it with just several divisions in Africa at the same time). By the beginning of 1944 most of those troops were smashed by the Soviet Army, and in Normandy the Allies faced just a ghost of a German army. So, "Overlord" would be impossible without Russia.

Battle of Kursk
  • If the Germans were able to break through to Kursk, the Eastern war could have been prolonged for a couple more years.
  • Consumed absolutely massive proportions of German and Soviet armour. The only hitch was that the Soviets had recovered within weeks whereas the Germans still hadn't recovered from the losses two years later. Debut of the Panther, Ferdinand/Elefant and Tiger AFVs in large numbers.

Pearl Harbor
  • Technically, Barbarossa or Pearl Harbor were turning points because although Germany and Japan continues on the offensive for some time, they brought into the war the USSR and the USA, both of whom had the economic and (eventually) military power to win the war.
  • In terms of the Pacific, when Japan failed to destroy the Pacific fleet in Pearl, they had effectively lost the war there and then, and although it is true that they did commit themselves to offensive operations up until Midway, the loss of the element of surprise and sheer industrial and military might of the US in comparison to that of Japan had already doomed the Japanese army and navy, which was both smaller and more ill-equipped than their American counterparts.
  • Pearl Harbor (and the declaration of war against the US by Germany and Italy) was the only major turning point in WWII. We like to think of battles, but it is the economy (Bill Clinton quote). During 1941, the US economy was one third of the world economy (in terms of steel production). Germany's contribution equaled Russia and Britain combined. Japan's was 10% of US. When Germany declared war on the US, Germany went from tied (production wise) to immediately being out numbered by 2.5 to one (in EVERY category). Regardless of what battles were fought, eventually the sheer weight of 2.5 to one odds would have overwhelmed the German defenses. We like to think of battles, but by the end of the war, the US was producing equipment (50% of world economy)-- as many planes, tanks, ships, etc. PER MONTH as the Germans produced during the entire WAR. The US alone had 16 million people in the military (population of Germany was less than 75 million). The US needed one year to mobilize (1942), and their enemies never experienced a sustained victory again. Once the US entered the war, the war ended PERIOD!
  • Mr. Churchill wrote in his diary on night of Pearl Harbour: "So that's how it ends, we win the war!"

Battle of Midway
  • After this the Japanese were always on the defensive.
  • It hurt Japanese morale and boosted American morale.
  • Those four carriers could have prolonged the struggle for a considerable time.
  • The true turning point of World War II was the Battle of Midway. Without the United States, WWII would have taken MUCH longer and many more lives would have been lost. Pearl Harbor was attacked. Americans wanted revenge, and if the US did not make revenge against the Japanese, the American public would not be in favor of going to Europe. When the Japanese Naval fleet was crushed, it allowed the US to win the war in the Pacific and it allowed the US to invade France and Italy. Germany would only have one significant front to deal with.

Guadalcanal
  • The US Army/Marines finally demonstrated their ability to desisevly stop any Japanese land offensives.
  • First US land offensive into Japanese held territory. Japan is forever on the defensive.

The Marianas
  • The remains of the Japanese navy were crushed.

Papau New Guinea
  • Before then everyone thought the Japanese army (not the navy) to be invincible. This was when the Japanese army started being pushed back.

Soviet invasion of Manchuria
  • The Soviet attack on Manchuria was a large, but underrated factor in the Japanese surrender. Although by this time American forced would have destroyed Japan in any case, the Soviet Union destroyed the one-million strong Kuantung army, which, although greatly weakened, was a central part in the Japanese plans to defend the home islands.

Atomic Bomb
  • The development of the atomic bomb. All other battles and heroic deeds would all have been for naught if Nazi Germany had used their several year head start in the development of the atomic bomb. The war was won at Los Alamos, NM.
  • The bombing undermined the Japanese will to fight on.
  • It stopped Japan.
 It was the winter of 41', that helped the Russians out. They were being beaten at first by the blitzcreig, but Russia had too many resources and people to give up, They regrouped and got ready to attck. Then they came with a crap load of guys and took all their land back. Then they took Berlin. That winter was the major turning point. Doolittle's raid on Japan helped boost the moral of the US people - even the soldiers taken captive heard about it.
Battle of the Bulge was one of the more telling moments of the war that swung the tide for the Allies. The atom bomb was not a major turning point in world war two. This happened too far the end of the war and would only circumventJapan who were already extremely weak.The battle of Britain on the over hand was a major turning point, on D-Day, once being forced to retreat home, we stood back and preapared ourselves for an arial battle. when Hitler decided not to invade England (operation sea lion), he attacked russia. that's when he lost the war. also the misinformatoin that the allies fed to Germany during the d-day invasion (operation overlord)was a major factor in their success. in the pacific theatre it was the battle of midway that took japan off the offensive D-Day in Europe, (June 6, 1944), and the taking of Iwo Jima in Feb-Mar of 45 that provided an air base that was within easy striking distance of Japan. A Few Major Turning Points:
  • The German decision to stop the advance in France, thus allowing the British and French Reebarkment in Dunkirk.
    • The German decision to invade Russia.
    • The US entering the war after Pearl Harbor.
  • Stalingrad.
  • The Strategic bombings in Germany '43-'44.
    • Kursk (more than Stalingrad, here the Germans lost the initiative of the war in the east for good).
  • The surrender of The Afrika Korps.
  • The Success of the D-Day Landings
  • Midway
    • The battle in the Gulf of Leyte
    • Guadalcanal

There are others, but the big ones have two stars, that is how I see it, be sure I forgot something. the major turning points of ww2 are as followed, Hitler killing himself was definitely one of the most biggest turning points of ww2 because nazi Germany and all other nazi soldiers lost their faith and agressivness. Hitler could of led gremnat to a strong victory if he hadnt of told and say to japan to go along and fight us that idiot who i consider a very smart man made the biggest mistake in the war. jospeh stalon being the dictator of russia (the ussr.was what put Germany at scare stalon had a winter to back up his army and some nice artilary too much to name had hiler scared.that's what i think were the major turning points of ww2.


The major turning point of WWII was the Battle of Britain. Hitlers first major defeat and the end to his dream of global domination. No other battle in WWII was so pivotal.

Pearl harbour, the victory in north Africa were vital.

The Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union was an irrelevance as even if Hilter had won the allies would have got to Berlin and cut off the nazi soldiers in Russia anyway. The Russian soldiers fought bravely though.

Midway was not piotal as Japan had no ability to achieve gobal domination as they were unable to beat the British in India and Australia, or to invade the USA.

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Midway Island was the turning point in the Pacific.
The Siege of Stalingrad was the turning point in Europe/Asia.
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