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Hitler responsible for the defeat of nazi germany


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This essay will examine to what extent Hitler's decisions were responsible for the defeat of Nazi Germany. At the start of the Second World War Hitler took on the role of supreme commander of the German armed forces. To an extent it could be said that the defeat of Germany was inevitable because of the difference between Germany and the Allies, militarily and economically. Some of Hitler's decisions were poorly made and may have catalyzed the defeat of Germany. His policies were one of the major factors that catalyzed the defeat of Germany, for example "The Holocaust" where he wasted a lot of supplies on. Hitler missed opportunities that would allow him to defeat Britain which later on became a starting point for D-day. One other mistake he made was the invasion of the Soviet Union; with the forces he had it was impossible to defeat the USSR. It was just a matter of time before Hitler's army got pushed away. Towards the end of the war Hitler's struggle for Tide turning brought him into making less rational decisions, he created V-rockets which rewarded him less that when he invested, moved and organized armies according to his will, use children as troops and launching various operations that made matters worse. Hitler's decisions were contributed to the defeat of Nazi Germany; however there are other factors as well. Ever since the start of the Second World War, the defeat of Nazi Germany was already inevitable; Hitler was going up against a lot of super powers such as Britain and France. To make matters worse the Americans were taken into the war; this could be because of Germany's alliance with Japan which put Hitler into a worse position than he already was. Furthermore the geographical position of Germany allows Germany to be easily encircled by its enemy, this gave Germany a disadvantage.

During the holocaust from 1941-1945, Hitler had a policy where he sent the Jews off to concentration camps and had them exterminated. However, in order to carry out this policy, large amount of military supplies had to be invested. Men, Resources and war supplies were sent to these camps instead of being used to defend the line or to attack the enemy; Hitler invested them on insignificant purposes. Furthermore disposing of the Jews can be seen as wasting his own human resources, Hitler killed roughly around 6 million Jews in Europe [1]. The Jews in Germany consider themselves German therefore if he had used them as troops instead of having them disposed; this would have made a difference, because one of the reasons to why Germany lost was because of its lack of troops and war supplies. However, the Jews may not get along with the Germans because of how they were treated and refuse to collaborate which may result in internal fighting and result in the opposite effect. Internal fighting will result in catalyzing the loss of Germany due to the lack of unity within the troops. Although the Germans killed up to nearly 6 million Jews, only 210,000 were from Germany [1]. This means that Hitler would get only 210,000 more soldiers to fight the war. Not only this, he would also be able to invest all his supplies on war alone.

Hitler missed two opportunities to defeat Britain when it is at its weakest state. In June 1940, allied defense in Belgium and France collapsed; this was Hitler's first major opportunity to attack Britain. However Hitler did not make use of this situation, instead he ordered his tanks not to attack the British force of 338,000 on Dunkirk and put his powerful German troops at standby as Britain revive its defense[2]. Hitler had let that opportunity slide; the reason to why he did not attack the British was never revealed. If he had invaded Britain at the time, There was a high chance that he was going to win, however he did not which led to the possibility of the D-day.

Another opportunity arose 3 months later, when the German air force was close to breaking the smaller British air force, Hitler changed the plan from destroying the British air force to the bombardment of London. This allowed the British air force to recover from previous German attacks and allowed them to be powerful again. [2] If Hitler had took the opportunity to destroy the British air force it would have given the Germans Air supremacy in the western front. Again Hitler let this opportunity slide resulting in victory in neither front, both the west and the east. Hitler's decision was responsible for both events, if Hitler had continued with the attack on Britain and concentrated on Britain; he may have won the war in the west and would not have to fight a war in two fronts. Germany was at disadvantage because it was surrounded by its enemy; this is why Hitler should have concentrated on defeating either front first in order to avoid being encircled like in World War 1. Britain took a huge role in D-day; it was where the allied troops gathered for the D-day offensive. Therefore if Britain was defeated D-day may have not occurred or may not be as effective. Because there will not be anywhere else for D-day to take place, France was occupied and so was most of Europe and Africa. With these areas being occupied by Germany, D-day would only be able to take place from the east because Hitler would have got rid of all the allied countries on the west front. A war in only one front gives Germany a better chance of survival and so they could focus all their troops in one direction.

D-day as mentioned earlier was one of the biggest attacks, where over 3 million troops gathered in Britain for a huge attack on Germany. [3] After Hitler had occupied France Hitler proceeded towards Britain, during the attack on Britain he turned his attention to the Soviet Union and decided to invade that Soviet Union in 1941. This broke the Nazi-soviet non aggression pact signed in 1939 [2] and this was where Hitler opened a war in two fronts. [6]

Attacking both to the west to Britain and to the East to USSR while thinking that Britain was powerless and thought that they were unable to fight the war, his underestimation was the reason why operation D-day was able to take place, therefore it was Hitler's responsibility, D-day then took place on 6 June 1944, after Hitler's army was pushed back across Europe. After Stalin attacked Germany on its eastern front with vast amount of troops Britain launched operation overlord. As operation D-day commences, Stalin's red army pushed the Germans away from Stalingrad; the Germans are now fighting a war at two fronts consisting of vast armies from both sides. If Hitler had focused on defeating Britain in the first place he could have avoid fighting at two fronts and fought the Soviets alone. However Germany was already in a bad state, it was highly possible that even without D-day Germany would still have lost against the Soviets. The allied forces broke through the "Atlantic Wall", this was a defense wall that Hitler ordered to be constructed along coast of France. Hitler believed that the wall was impregnable and he thought that wall could drive the allied attacks away. However the invasion proved otherwise.[4]

Another mistake Hitler made was in 1941, where he thought he could conquer parts of the USSR in two weeks with little resistance. Most historians claimed that Hitler's attack on the Soviet Union was one of the major mistakes Hitler made, and was one of the main factors that made Germany lose the war. The invasion of the USSR opened a war in two fronts, which was part of the reason why Germany lost world war 1, not only this Hitler also had declared war with one of the major powers in Europe who has a greater empire, economy and population which makes his defeat inevitable. The invasion was considered as a mistake in Hitler's decision which catalyzed the defeat of Germany. Hitler started his surprise attack on the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941 with his allied countries which included Romania, Hungary, Italy, Bulgaria and Finland. The alliances he made can also be seen as a factor that caused the defeat of Germany, Hitler allied with countries that shared the same ideology and not countries that would benefit him. Alliance with Japan was reasonable in order to surround the Soviets, however allies with Romania, Hungary and Italy wasn't a good decision. Because they hardly helped Germany, instead to an extent it could be said that it hindered Hitler. Mussolini entered the war and requested a lot of support from Hitler. This may hinder Hitler's capabilities, not to mention the less powerful axis, such as Romania and Hungary. They were weak and did not make a lot of difference to Hitler's army. By forming alliances with other countries, Hitler will have to support them in the war they are fighting as well, by sending them resources. As a result of this he was unable to use those resources on his own army. Allied with Japan may also be the reason to why Germany lost the war, Hitler form an alliance with Japan this seemed to be good at first until the attack on pearl harbor which brought the Americans into the second world war. The involvement of America was one of the factors that caused the defeat of Germany, because one of the main armies that took part in D-day was the Americans. So perhaps if Germany did not form an alliance with Hirohito of Japan he might have avoided war with the Americans, hence reducing his enemies.

Despite Japan's actions, Japan was powerful and aggressive. Hitler did not make full use of Japan, and Hitler knew beforehand that Japan was planning to attack either to the north or the south. He should have co-ordinate his attack on the Soviet Union with Japan. If Japan was to continue its' attack for a few more months as Hitler invades the west of the Soviet Union, Hitler wouldn't have to deal with as much troops. Japan secretly signed a secret non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union two months before Hitler invaded. Once Hitler invaded, troops fighting in the eastern of Russia moved towards the west, this meant that Hitler had to deal with the vase amount of troops that was station in the east of the Soviet Union during his invasion. If that non-aggression pact between Japan and the Soviet Union wasn't formed, Hitler's invasion would've been a lot easier as the Japanese kept the Russians occupied. This could be considered as Hitler's fault for not using his allies effectively. [2]

On the 22nd of June 1941, Germany and its' allies attacked the soviet union in all direction with vast amount of troops, an army of 3 million troops using the German tactic "Blitzkrieg". Also the Blitzkrieg tactic may have given the troops over confidence and make them vulnerable because they were sweeping across the Soviet Union rapidly, this may also be why Germany lost the war. [3] It was as Hitler predicted at first, the Germans advanced hundreds of miles into Soviet territory. However Hitler's troops then had to face the notorious winter of the Soviet Union. The winter in the Soviet Union was one of the major obstacles that hindered the invasion. Hitler was not cautions and was unaware of the fact that Soviet winter was very different to Germanys', the oil in the machine guns start to freeze and made fighting much less efficient for the Germans. The Germans never fought in a winter like in the Soviet Union before therefore they are not adapted to the weather, hence makes combat less efficient. [3] Hitler did not predict this to happen, however even if he did it would not change much in the war. Because the German economy was very bad during the invasion therefore Hitler would still not be able to provide all his troops with all the suitable equipment. Moreover the line was moving very fast that supply lines were unable to keep up with the advancing troops. Hitler was not responsible for this.

During the invasion of the USSR many soldiers froze to death. Hitler then introduced the non-retreat [5]. Whoever retreats would get shot for desertion. This policy may contribute to the defeat of Germany. It maybe because of the policy which made Hitler lost a lot of troops. At the same time it lowered his troop's morale, maybe retreating wouldn't have been a bad decision considering how the German economy dropped and supply lines were not able to keep up, this means that Hitler's troops were not fighting with fully equipped supplies; this will lower the fighting efficiency. At the same time this can be considered as his only choice. Because he had already reached Stalingrad, he had to keep it at all cost. Stalin also issued a policy of no retreat which resulted in a stalemate.

In September 1942 Stalin launched "Operation Uranus" with the main objective of destroying German forces around Stalingrad. The red army took advantage of Germany's poor preparation for Soviet winter and counter attacked. This can be seen as Hitler's fault for allowing his troops to go into battle with unsuitable equipments and weapons, as a result Hitler's lost a lot of troops. With the south of the Soviet Union (Occupied by Germans) poorly guarded by Romanian, Hungarian, and Italian armies which was overstretched creating various weak points. This allowed Stalin to establish a suitable starting point for his operation. It was Hitler to blame for his incautiousness and for allowing the south of Soviet to be poorly guarded and over stretched. Because he was fighting a war in two fronts he was unable to focus all his troops into guarding the line. The Soviets were at great advantage; they were used to the weather and were fully equipped with suitable equipments. In contrast German allied forces were equipped with unsuitable equipments, were not used to USSR weathers and they were lacking in weapons against Soviet armored vehicles. [3] [7]

During the Soviet Union invasion by Hitler in 1941, Hitler took over most of eastern USSR. It was also rumored that Stalin has requested to get contact with the German intelligence through his Agents and find out what demands Hitler would make if he were to propose a peace treaty. This conversation was over heard by Georgy Zhukov who was the Marshal of the Soviet Union. It was also rumored that Hitler rejected the treaty because he wanted to take over USSR. [8] If Hitler had been approached by Stalin and offered a peace treaty and rejected it, that would make Hitler responsible for the defeat of Germany in World War 2. If Hitler had stopped he would have gained large portions of Soviet territory and will be considered winning the war. Hitler was also too anxious, he announced that the Soviet Union was defeated even though the war was still going; doing this may also make the troops over confident hence making them vulnerable, thinking that the war was already won. During the USSR invasion, Germany's economy suffered severely from allied bombing in Germany, Hitler ignored this fact and continued the invasion. He believed that strength came from attack and not defense; he also believed that the best thing to do was to take down the enemy in one strike regardless of the losses. This theory also gave him the idea of the "non-retreat" policy.[5] Hitler quoted that "A single blow must destroy the enemy... without regard of losses... a gigantic all-destroying blow."[9]Which suggests that he didn't care about the losses and he was just gambling everything on his theory, therefore this could be considered as Hitler's failure.

Hitler ignored many of his general's warnings after making himself supreme commander of the German armed forces in 1941. He disposed his generals who opposed his ideas and kept those who supported him, in 1944 when the Germany army got pushed back by the red army across Europe Hitler made a lot of decisions without informing his generals. For example Hitler moved the SS panzer troops from the Vistula front to Hungary, leaving Vistula light guarded because the panzer was one of Hitler's strongest armies Hitler had at the time. Vistula became vulnerable to attacks, not only this he moved the panzer troops forward to the range of soviet artillery as warned by his generals but he ignored those warnings. Hitler also launched Luftwaffe on the western front hoping to turn the tide. Again this was against his general's ideas, he used almost 1000 planes. The plan failed and gave the allied forces total air supremacy, this was Hitler's responsibility. [10] The consequences of ignoring his generals contribute to the results of ww2. His generals have warned Hitler about the invasion of the Soviet Union that it had to be at the right time. However Hitler ignored his general's warnings and invaded the USSR. Hitler's generals were far more experienced than Hitler was, if Hitler had listened to his generals and not make risky moves Hitler may have made a difference to the war. Then again it could be argued that the defeat of Germany was inevitable and that Hitler stood no chance of winning anyway. His decisions were only a contribution to the results of the war. Even Hitler had listen to his generals Hitler may still lose the war; the best he could have achieved was extending the war period a little longer. But if Hitler had not attack the Soviet Union as he was warned not to the soviets would have still been his ally and therefore might make the war easier for Hitler. [2][10]

There was also the V weapon production in 1944. As the German army gets pushed back across Europe, Hitler could not accept the inevitable defeat. He genuinely believed that he could turn the tide with his so called "miracle weapon". His miracle weapon was the V-rockets which were the first cruise missiles that could be launched from the ground or mid-air by planes. [11] [12] Hitler's aim was to fire his v-rockets on Britain and its' allies in order to give Germany a breathing space, because at the moment Hitler was encircled. In order to turn the tide he needed to break the encirclement, to do this he had to get rid of one front. Hitler thought that by firing rockets on the allies, it will force them to retreat, and Hitler would have deal with the Soviets alone. The Soviet army was strong enough to defeat Hitler's army despite the help from the allies. Hitler's strong armies were already annihilated by the Red army. With an army of over 3 million men fully equipped attacking Germany Hitler did not stand a chance. Hitler used up 200,000 workers to develop the rockets instead of using them as troops.[12] The V-rockets were not very successful, although it killed over 100 [12] people in Britain in 6 days with 10 rockets some blew up in mid air and some did not follow the assigned destination. There were not enough resources to produce enough rockets. If enough rockets were produced it may cause Britain a considerable amount of damage. Hitler did not consider his resources and went ahead with the production of the V weapons. Hitler practically wasted 200,000 workers and valuable resources on the V-rockets that hardly changed his situation. [11][12]

Germany was losing its' strong troops, conscriptions were constantly taking place. As Germany was closer to losing less training were giving to the conscripts because of immediate need in soldiers. In October 1944 Hitler established the Volkssturm for all available men between the ages 16 and 60. These men were badly equipped and ill trained. They were hopeless as soldier and the 175,000 men [12] who are badly trained and equipped were unable to repel the allies. Even young children aged roughly 10 and 11 took part in the battle, roughly 5000 of them were against the red army in the final week of war. These children did not go through proper training and with the skill and experience they have; entering the battle field was like suicide. Hitler could have at least trained his troops properly for efficient fighting so that they would stand a chance on the battle field, however this cannot be entirely be blamed on Hitler because Hitler wanted to defend the capital at all cost and was in desperate need of troops and he had no time to train them properly. Not only this because Hitler used up most of his money and men on weapon he did not have enough resources to train them properly.

In Britain men were made to fight in the war while women worked in the factories to produced weapons, this made the weapon production very efficient. In contrast, in Germany Hitler made men fight in the front line but allowed women to stay at home. And instead of using women to work on weapon production he used starving prisoners. One of the main reasons to why Germany lost the war was because of the military supply. Soldiers did not have enough weapons, with this in consideration, if Hitler made women work in the factories like Britain did the production of military supplies will increase greatly. This will allow the troops in the front like to fight more efficiently with fully equipped weapons. Hitler claimed that Germany was fighting a total war; however he did not put everything he had into military use. It is true that he took over eastern countries and planned genocides; however he left women at home and did not put them into use. This may not be one of the major factors to the defeat of Nazi Germany; however it does play a lot of difference in fighting a war. Therefore the inefficient use of civilians is considered a factor to influence the defeat of Germany and this was Hitler's responsibility. [2]

In conclusion, Hitler contributed in the loss of Germany in ww2; he made many risky decisions such as the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. Hitler also allowed the occurrence of D-day in 1945, partly because he did not defeat Britain when he had chance and partly because he started a war in two fronts which puts Germany into encirclement in 1945. He also moved armies according to his will and changed objectives to what he saw suitable without informing his generals. Hitler had made many decisions which put Germany into worse positions in the war and he did not know how to manage his resources, for example not making use of German women. Hitler's decisions although contributed, it could be said that it was not Hitler's fault and that the defeat of Germany was inevitable from the start of the war. Because of the differences in economy and armies, the only reason Germany was able to invade the USSR up to Stalingrad was partly because some of the Soviet armies were in the east fighting the Japanese, it was just a matter of time before they return and crush his German forces. In the end it was the German economy and army that made Germany lose the war, these were the two things they lacked from the start of the war in comparison to the major powers. To make matters worse Hitler made many decisions that decreased the amount of troops he had, such as the "non-retreat" policy, and the movement of German forces into artillery range. He also forced himself into the USSR invasion which made the economy in Germany worse. Hitler's decisions merely catalyzed the defeat of Germany, because Germany's defeat was inevitable.


[1] http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/holocaust.htm (April 2010)

[2] http://www.2worldwar2.com/mistakes.htm#germany (June 2010)

[3]http://library.thinkquest.org/26742/russia.html (February 2010)

[4]http://www.normandiememoire.com/NM60Anglais/2_histoire/histo1_gb.htm (August 2010)

[5]BBC documentary behind closed doors

[6]Witness to history The D-Day Landings by Sean Connolly

[7] http://www.theeasternfront.co.uk/Battles/operationuranus.htm (August 2010)

[8] Roberts, Geoffrey (2006), Stalin's Wars: From World War to Cold War, 1939-1953, Yale University Press Pages 165-7

[9]http://quotations.about.com/od/morepeople/a/Hitler1.htm (June 2010)

[10]Berlin The downfall 1945 by Antony Beevor

[11]http://www.centennialofflight.gov/essay/Evolution_of_Technology/V-2/Tech26.htm (July 2010)

[12]http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/wwtwo/desperate_measures_01.shtml (June 2010)

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