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Was Hitler good for the World in any way?

 
 
Booman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Nov, 2002 04:27 pm
O-o-kay....It's kinda' looking like maybe Steve summed it up.

BillW.....Absolutly!
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Debacle
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Nov, 2002 04:52 pm
I'm not 100% positive ... have been wrong numerous times ... but I believe I catch the drift of Steve's thinking here. There is, of course, an alternate conclusion which might been drawn, but as it's half again as lengthy, for the sake of brevity I'll not elaborate, except to mention it's rather opposed to Steve's point of view.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Nov, 2002 04:56 pm
Given that Hitler did rise to power, and started the war in Europe, the Allies owed him a big debt of genuine gratitude for having made all of the major military decisions . . . militarily speaking, that boy couldn't pour urine from a boot with the instructions printed on the heel . . .
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Nov, 2002 04:59 pm
I still haven't decided but even though I know the what if game is dangerous I think:

The US would not be the same country it is today, isolationism might have gone the way of the <insert really old and archaic thing here> but our power projection wouldn't have developed the way it did.

Israel might not have been realized.

Japan would still be quite isolationist and would have been late to modernize.

Europe would not be as prone to war wearniness.

etc etc etc

Just guesses of course. I also do think Hitler's legacy includes the fact that it's now easier to get a mandate to stop ethnic cleansing.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Nov, 2002 05:04 pm
Japan was in Manchuria by 1935, because the Army had already planned that one. War with Japan was inevitable once the Army and the Navy took over the government. It is always a mistake to consider the "alliance" between Germany, Italy and Japan to have been a real alliance. Italy was under the German thumb from the time that idiot Moussolini invaded Greece (Metaxas was a facist, and a true admirer of Hitler), and Japan and Germany both could have cared less about the success of the other . . . the only benefit ever accrued from the "Axis" was to the Allies, because that idiot Hitler declared war on the US in response, ostensibly, to his "treaty obligations." Hitler gives new meaning to the term "stooooopid" in national leadership . . . see my post above . . .
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Nov, 2002 05:12 pm
I DO think that Hitler was one of the stupidest leaders of all time. But I don't think Japan would have attacked Pearl Harbour without the "Axis", as loose as an alliance as it was.
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Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Nov, 2002 05:20 pm
A fair bit written on this, but no one has really been able to reply in the affirmative and give details. I was going to say his memory provided a useful lesson and a warning to mankind. But even this is of limited value the name Hitler or Hitlerian is all too often invoked to stifle debate and close minds.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Nov, 2002 05:29 pm
It's also used to spur the doves into action in certain cases.

"We can't have a Hitler on our doorstep" < about Milosevic
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Nov, 2002 06:18 pm
Well, Craven, Hitler showed a talent for gutter politics and the knife in the back--none of his stuff was original, he used Ernst Rohm and the Brownshirts to further his goal of personal power, coopted all of their very savvy methods of gaining public support, and then wiped them out. He could smell a political coward a mile away, which is how he was able to take over the Rhineland, and then take Czechoslovakia. He was completely wrong about the reaction of an invasion of Poland, and simply got lucky with the "sitzkrieg." He was able to exploit the loyalty of the Wehrmacht with his insistence upon a personal oath of loyalty, and was then able to epxloit the expertise of the German military for his own purposes. Hitler is due no credit whatsoever for any German military success, he backed Italy's military moves in the Balkans--this sucked him into the Yugoslav quagmire, and the campaigns in Yugoslavia and Greece badly interferred with his invasion of the Soviet Union. In addition, the airborne assault of Crete nearly destroyed Kurt Student's Fallschirmjaeger Armee, with the result that Hitler permanently shelved what was then the best and most experienced airborne force in the world. He was pigheaded about his military moves, so that he sacrificed almost all of his destroyers and smaller armed vessels in a useless sea campaign against the English, whose destoyer forces were pretty damned poor in terms of the quality of the vessels, but which were, outside of the Japanese, the best trained and most experienced destroyer force in the world. Given that he took and held Narvik by an overland campaign, the destruction of the Navy's destroyer force was extremely counterproductive as well as pointless. The point in controling Narvik was access to Swedish iron ore, and the Navy could no longer convoy ore ships, lacking the resources to protect them. He was convinced (and no one ever changed his dimwitted mind once it was made up) that terror bombing would work, and diverted Luftwaffe resources to the production of aircraft models, notably the Junkers 87 and 88, which experience had already proven to be outmoded and extremely vulnerable aircraft. He delayed the deployment of the jet prototype which would eventually become the Me262 fighter because he wanted a bomber--providing another example of his profound technological ignorance. When the T34 rolled onto the plains of the Ukraine, and made a mess of the Panzerkampfwagen III & IV's, the Panzer officers pleaded with visiting "pros" to simply produce a German model of the same weapon. Hitler's active interference resulted in the Tiger- and Panther-series tanks--definitely tributes to the engineering skill of the Germans, and definitely industrial liabilities. Their design required massive resources for production which Germany simply did not have, and Allied bombing, especially the American daylight raids, made it increasingly difficult to manufacture such vehicles, and the parts to keep them in service. These weapons were also designed for central and western European service, no attention was given to conditions in the Soviet Union, where they underperformed on the soft ground of the Ukranian plains and the unimproved roads of all of the Soviet Union. His invasion of the Soviet Union was further, very seriously damaged by his hubris--his army arrived before Moscow completely unprepared to deal with winter conditions. The alliance with Japan was an ugly joke--the Japanese renewed their armistice with the Soviet Union, because they had already planned to attack the US and the European colonial powers--very ugly indeed for the Wehrmacht, which was hit by dozens of divisions of battle-hardened troops from Siberia, fully equipped to campaign in the Russian winter.

He did not understand the sea at all, and squandered his naval resources in useless and ineffective commerce raiding. Although the submarine service did horrible damage to the Allies, the successful response of the Americans, English and Canadians doomed three out of four members of the submarine service. Whether surface raiders or submarines, the German Navy had no chance at being effective in the long term, for exactly the reasons which Mahan gives in his books on sea-power: Germany had no surface force sufficiently large to protect the commerce raiders, and they had no overseas bases for their support. His one shot at invading England was squandered in an ineffective airwar which did far more damage to the Luftwaffe than it did to the RAF, and had no appreciable effect on the ability of England to produce war materials--it basically forced the English to quickly take the proper measures to product their war production. When Scharnhost and Gniesenau "ran the channel" in broad daylight, Adolf Galland demonstrated that the Luftwaffe had adequate resources to protect naval vessels for several hours in the most hostile waters the German Navy ever entered. In 1940, Luftwaffe resources were much larger, and England's only land defense was the 330,000 men evacuated from Dunkirk, most of them unarmed, and largely unequipped, and the English Territorial Army. It certainly would have cost him much to cross the water and invade England, but not nearly what he wasted in the first year in the Soviet Union. Like Napoleon, he (figuaratively) looked out across the waters of the Channel, and backed down. Hood was sunk in under seven minutes, with three men surviving out of a complement of more than 1400 because the English Navy's warship designs were woefully out of date and inadequate. By contrast, Bismark took terrific punishment for days on end, and was finally sunk when literally dozens of ships attacked her after she was alreay crippled. Prince of Wales was sunk off the coast of what is now Vietnam because the Japanese attacked relentlessly, and her anti-aircraft defenses were murderously inadequate. By contrast, no battleship in the world had better anti-aircraft defenses than Bismark until North Carolina was put into commission. The only serious "what if" of the war in Europe was the non-invasion of England, something which was definitely "do-able" and which Hitler lacked the intelligence, judgment and, ultimately, the courage to undertake.

Hitler insisted on the "last ditch" defense of Stalingrad, assuring the destruction of Sixth Army. Hitler, previously lukewarm to any campaign in North Africa, not only insisted that Italian territories in North Africa be held, but poured more men and materials into Tunisia, assuring that the survivors would be well-fed in Allied POW camps for the rest of the war. In The Rommel Papers, Rommel complained again and again about the performance of these new, largely inexperience troops in the drive against the Americans in the campaign known as Kasserine Pass. Not only did Rommel despair of the lack of initiative in the officers commanding these formations (he condemns them for stopping the advance repeatedly to attack relatively weak American positions head-on, assuring the maximum casualties and minimum results), he praises the ability of the inexperienced but resourceful American field- and company-grade officers to improvise and keep their forces moving and fighting during what was basically a head-long retreat--the most difficult of military accomplishments. Many panzer officers in the reinforcements sent to Tunisia had been hand-picked by Hitler or his cronies, and they lacked that personal initiative at all levels which was the greatest legacy of Frederick the Great to the German Army. I don't admire Rommel as much as others do--militarily he was very competent, but he also sucked up to Hitler for career reasons, and i only "forgive" him for it because he paid the ultimate price. At least he learned what a disaster had come upon the German nation, and tried to make the best of a very, very bad situation.

Hitler withheld armored forces after the D-Day landings, because he bought into Jodel's plan of a massive, decisive armored battle in the interior of France. In fairness to Jodel, others suported this plan as well, von Ruhnstedt (sp?) being the most noteworthy "old-line" officer to approve of the plan. Sadly, Rommel was proved correct again in saying that the Allies must be defeated on the beaches, because Allied air power would make the approach march impossible. He said this after his experience with the English 8th Army, which managed to keep 24 bombers in the air over the Afrika Korps at all times. On D-Day, there were more than 14,000 sorties made. The 6th Fallschirmjaeger Brigade had a 50 kilometer approach march from Brittany to St. Lo in Normandy--it took them six days. The 21st Panzer, formerly the 5th Light Infantry, and Rommels first panzer division in the desert, was strung out on the road southeast of Caen. With the lead elements less than 15 kilometers from the English beaches, they never made it to the beaches, and it took three days to assemble the division, with no element more than 10k from the rest of the division. By the time the SS panzer divisions finally reached Normandy, although the fighting was fierce, the Allies were too well established to be driven out.

Because Hitler could never admit that he had been wrong, the 15th Army was kept in place in the Pas-de-Calais until they were almost cut off. Only because those units had been there almost from the beginning of the war, and therefore were "old-line" units in which personal initiative by junior officers and NCO's was still encouraged were they able to escape across Walcheran Island and place themselves across the path of XXX Corps doomed thrust across southern Holland. Additonally, Kurt Student was sent with the First Fallschirmjaeger Armee to block the path of Allies. That army virtually did not exist, but a better officer for the job could hardly have been found. When the Irish Guards pushed off from Belgium, despite continuous air support from the RAF, they bogged down immediately. Given the performance of Student and 15th Army in Holland, it's a damned good thing that Hitler was in charge and "micro-managing" the war--the thought of what the Germans might have accomplished under intelligent leadership is truly chilling.

I just wanted to get that off my chest--there has been, almost since the war ended, a strong current of admiration for what Hitler "accomplished" militarily. He deserves no credit, other than to say that he was the best friend in Germany that the Allies had.

As to the Japanese attack on the US, it was inevitable. The young army officers who engineered the attack on Manchuria acted with the prior knowledge and tacit consent of the Japanese General Staff. By 1941, the Japanese were running out of petroleum and strategic minerals. The only way to get them immediately was to attack the Dutch East Indies, or the Soviet Union. To get them from the Soviet Union required driving deep into Siberia, and the Japanese had failed in that attempt since 1939.To get them from the Dutch was to assure war with England and Australia, and to do so without dealing effectively with the US was to leave the most powerful navy left in the war on the flank of the attack. Had the Japanese not initiated world war in the Pacific, they would have been obliged to abandon French Indo-China and withdraw from China back into "Manchuko"--their puppet state in Manchuria. With the composition of their government in 1941, this was unthinkable. Yamamoto's plan for the attack on Pearl Harbor was brilliant, and horrifying to the military authorities. But they all recognized that they had "painted themselves into a corner," and that it was necessary to have those resources to continue, and that meant it was necessary to defeat the United States. War in the Pacific was inevitable, even if war in Europe had never taken place.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Nov, 2002 06:34 pm
Oh, and Steve, although you seem awfully prolix ( :wink: ), i'll go with your first response as the correct answer to this question . . .
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Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Nov, 2002 07:11 am
Setanta

Thanks for your history of the second world war (seriously). Glad it boils down to "no" (!)
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Booman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Nov, 2002 12:53 pm
Okay, let me put it this way. "For every action, there is a reaction, opposite in direction, and equal in force". I believe this so firmly, thay I say definately YES, some good came out of Hitler's evil. People may be reluctant to say that, because they're afraid of being accused of condoning the dirty bas...., wellyou know. Craven showed some detail. It's just a fact of exsistance. If you beat you head against a wall all day, when you stop, it feels so-o-o-o-o good.
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fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Nov, 2002 01:33 pm
If we are talking about "History of the World" then Hitler was not much different from any other dictatator (past present or future).
Did he teach us the dangers of imposing reparations on a defeated nation or the dangers of appeasement ? I doubt it. Was he the first to show how a supposedly "cultured" people could descend into the abyss of cruelty and inhumanity ? ...Not if you consider the Roman Empire, or the Spanish Conquests. Did he epitomise how ANY organised "belief systems" can be a pernicious basis for tribalism ?
9/11 should answer that !

No - Hiltler's greatest legacy to the world is a thriving war film industry, and of course the establishment of Israel whose tenuous existence reminds us of the lessons of history we persistently fail to learn.
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Booman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Nov, 2002 01:44 pm
Speaking of good coming out of evil; there once was this group of people who came to a foreign land. They slaughtered men,women and children in the proscess of taking overthe land. Out of this came the great US of A. I'm not being sarcastic either, I can't think of any place, I'd rather be.
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Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Nov, 2002 01:55 pm
Touche!
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Nov, 2002 06:19 pm
Let's see: We'll kill off over three million Arabs, then sometime in the future, somebody will discuss how the American invasion of Iraq and other Middle East countries was justified (and good), because somebody was able to find some positives out of this slaughter. hmmmm.... c.i.
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New Haven
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Nov, 2002 06:36 pm
During Hitler's reign of terror, more than 6 million Jews were killed in the gas chambers. Was this a good thing?

Of course not.

Not only was this killing evil and immoral, but as importantly it deprived the whole world of the intellectual potential possessed by these victims . It also is one of the reasons for the decline in the total number of Jews in the world. This is a loss for which, the civilized world will never receive any compensation nor will the world ever recover from.
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Booman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Dec, 2002 03:46 pm
.
.Warner Von Braun!
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Dec, 2002 03:58 pm
Werner von Braun? Did you ever hear of "Lager Dora", where 19,000 slave workers died, who were forced to work for the development of von Braun's V1 and V2? (Not to speak of what British might think of this.)
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Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Dec, 2002 03:58 pm
Living in this part of the world, the achievements of German rocket scientists in putting a man on the moon, pale into insignificance compared with the death and destruction they inflicted on us.
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