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The German military high command were professional and new about military strategies. The problem was that Hitler all too often interjected himself too closely in everyday battle plans. Although Hitler, generally speaking, was better that Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt concerning actual field battles, he was not a true military professional. This hampered the generals war efforts.

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βˆ™ 2016-02-28 21:27:40
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Q: What is the history of the German general staff and the role it played throughout World War 2?
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What cultural stereotypes did Hitler take advantage of when he was in power?

He played upon the fears and antisemitism already inherent in the German people. His propaganda focused on the differences between the Jewish people and the Aryans: their difference in appearance, their cultural differences, their rituals, etc.


Could the German General Staff have won the war without Hitler's continual disastrous interference?

There is no doubt if Hitler's bungling had not been a factor, Germany would have won the war. But you must also remember that without Hitler, the Anschluss with Austria, the annexation of Czechoslovakia and the remiliarization of the Rhineland would not have happened. The German general staff feared these pre-war moves of Hitlers. The reason they feared them was they knew how weak the Wehrmacht and other services were. If either Britain or France had forcefully objected (by this I mean military response), Germany would have had to back down. These pre-war incidents led Hitler to think he knew more than his Generals and they were to timid. I do not know of anyone who would argue that the German General Staff training was the best in the world. If they had not been hamstung by Hitler, the panzers would have been in Dunkirk before the BEF and others (over 330,000) could have been evacuated. Also the biggest gamble of the war, the invasion of the Soviet Union, would have been aimed right at the heart, i.e. Moscow. If the General Staff had it's way, this would have been the main objective in Aug and fallen by end of Aug, beginning of Sept. This would have had drastic impacts upon this front. First it would have demonstrated to many of the Soviet people that Stalin was failing. The troops from Siberia would not have been on hand to intervene and rescue their capitol. Moscow was the heart of the rail network in European Soviet Union. W/o Moscow, to use the trains to transport men and supplies, they would have had to start laying tracks to connect different lines together. Also the symbolicness of the fall of Moscow would have convinced many that resistance was futile. And you would have seen a very strong move on the part of other nations towards the German political sphere. All in all, Hitler lost the war for Germany. W/o his bungling, the German war machine would have ground the rest of the world beneath it's jack boots. Today things would be a lot different. The issue is fundamentally one of political control over military technocrats - and in addressing this issue we should remember that Germany essentially lost the First World War because the entire war effort was run by the German General Staff duo - Hindenburg and Ludendorff who not only completely overshadowed the political decision-makers but later even kicked out their own leader, the Kaiser. So, in terms of group-think it is unlikely that the German General Staff could have won World War 2 without Hitler. Always it should be borne in mind that the instruments of strategic decision in WW2 - armoured Blitzkrieg and air power - were hit on by Hitler himself and had to be forced on an unwilling General Staff. Those Generals and General Staff officers who played such a major role in Germany's initial successes were initially identified and advanced by Hitler himself with resistance from the military hierarchy. The Fall of France in 1940 is the most brilliant example of this. This is not meant as an apology for Hitler or to excuse his many mistakes - but in fact it is possible to say, at the risk of being politically incorrect, that Germany was successful when Hitler followed his instincts and unsuccessful when he fell victim to conventional wisdom by the General Staff. The General Staff itself was not monolithic or representative of German "Generalship" anyway - it was a fine instrument of military socialisation but, as in any system, had built-in weaknesses. Rommel was not a General Staff officer but a field commander. Von Paulus was the archetypal General Staff member but suffered the huge defeat at Stalingrad - he failed to disobey Hitler and break out. Rommel, Hitler's favourite, disobeyed often and was forgiven time and again, as were numerous Waffen SS generals who directly disobeyed Hitler in the field (eg Kharkov)because they believed they had first-hand facts at their disposal which Hitler could not have had for front-line decision-making. But ultimately we should not only look to such factors in assessing Hitler or any other German roleplayer's judgment in WW2 - in many ways this was in any case completely overshadowed by ULTRA, the real hidden hand of Allied success against Germany. As always, superior intelligence provides the criytical advantagein any strategic process, and WW2 was no exception. One must remember that there were in fact two General Staffs in the German military machine: OKW and OKH.The former being largely Hitler's creation, and more or less a body of 'yes men' for Hitler's plan.. In regards to your question, yes I do believe that OKH (which directed the war on the Eastern Front, where the war was fought and lost and 80-90% of all German forces were committed.) would have won the war. Disasters such as the demise of the 6th army at Stalingrad, and failure to take Leningrad and Moscow would have been properly planned and carried out. Military geniuses such as Manstein, Hoth, Gunderian, and Rommel would not have been dismissed or forced to commit suicide because of Hitler's whim. However, I must say the General Staff was not perfect. The Battle of Kursk was an entirely OKH planned offensive, and was a complete failure.


What role did television play in increasing Americans doubts about the war effort?

Vietnam was the first war in history that played out nightly on national television. The pictures and video from the war zone were shocking to many Americans and caused disillusionment for our role in the fighting.


What Rivers impacted World War 2 in Europe?

There were a number of rivers that played large role as barriers that , though they did not stop , proved to be a hindrance to both offensive and defensive operations by the Allied and Axis armies . The Rhine was supposed to be an obstacle had the bridge at Remagen been destroyed thus slowing the Allied crossing . The one river that proved to be the greatest of obstacles was the Volga on the Eastern Front in Russia . This was primarily because the Russians conducted a defense of the Stalingrad city itself and thwarted the forward advance of the German Sixth Army under General Paulus' command . The defense of the city and the Volga proved to be the furthest-most advance of the German ambitions in the East . The above is but a limited view to the problems that rivers as defensive lines possessed . Many strategic aims were to impede enemy forces from establishing a bridgehead to launch offensive operations thus slowing down the enemy advance somewhat . As an example - see related link on the Battle of Stalingrad .


How did General Thomas Jackson contribute to the Civil War?

Through his effective teamwork with Robert.E. Lee. (Jackson carried out most of the bold thrusts that Lee ordered.) Before that, he seems to have played an important part in the winning of the war's first battle, at Manassas (Bull Run), where he earned his name of 'Stonewall'.

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