2: HITLER WOULD HAVE WON THE WAR IF HE LISTENED TO HIS GENERALS
This isn't a zero-sum game. Even if it is true that Hitler's generals didn't have all the answers and would not have won the war if left to their own devices, that doesn't mean Hitler knew any better. His decision making at the strategic level was in my opinion on the whole disastrous, and characterised by fixed ideas, hopeful assumptions and downright delusions. His direction of the war in the East was catastrophic, and contributed significantly to its outcome. It is not accurate to portray him as someone who was driven by a firm focus on the key strategic factors shaping the war - more frequently, he seems to have occupied himself with matters of detail, made judgments based on emotive evaluations of individuals and refused to grasp the link between economic, political and military factors. He was clearly, in my opinion, an incompetent strategist, and no aspect of the German war effort was more defective than the strategic leadership. He was if anything perhaps worst at exactly the things which you attempt to give him credit for. A couple of good decisions early in the war notwithstanding.
Furthermore in the case with Russia, Hitler was for the most part correct in his military decisions. Russia was unlike central and western Europe were towns were in close proximity and thus a defensive position could be abandoned in favor of another defensive position close by. In Russia , defensible postions were far apart hence Hitlers reluctance to allow a retreat. Hitler decision to hold the line in Dec 1941 was to prove correct and logical.
Sorry, but that's completely wrong. The strongpoint tactics of the winter of 41/42 was throroughly evaluated in the spring - the conclusion being that they had been less effective than normal defensive tactics, and should not be resorted to again. See T.Wray; Holding Fast
.The decision to hold and allow no retreat seem sto have been based on a fear that the front would collapse if retreats were allowed, which had more to do with a loss of nerve in higher headquarters than conditions at the front. In the event, several commands did carry out considerable retreats, without any particularly damaging consequences. The defensive fighting of 41/42 was not a triumph of hitlerian resolve and intuition, but rather indicative of a failure of nerve and the insistence on inapporpriate measures for no compelling reason. So here you are rather perpetrating one of those "parochial myths" you set out to dismantle.
3: THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN WAS A BRITISH VICTORY
The Battle of Britain was
a British victory. The German objective was to win inconteste air supremacy over southern England, as this was a precondition for invading Britain. They failed to achieve that objective.
4: HITLER SHOULD HAVE FINISHED OFF THE BRITISH FIRST
I agree that this ignores the fact that there was not any practical way in which Germany could have finished off Britain in the foreseeable term.
5: HITLER'S INVASION OF THE SOVIET UNION WAS A GREAT MILITARY BLUNDER
I agree, generally speaking, that the arguments in favor of Barbarossa are much stronger than one might at first think (and of course knowing the result). It was something for which Germany already had the tools (or so they thought), that could be achieved within a reasonable and immediate timeframe (or so they thought) and which, if successful, would enormously improve their capacity for dealing with their remaining western adversaries.
People with an elementary understanding of history simply compare Barbarossa to Napoleon. What they fail to realize is that the Germans were winning in Russia. The year 1941 on the Eastern Front produced a total of about 750,000 German casualties. The Soviet Union however, lost over 4 times as much. Examing the populations of each country gives us objective evidence that the Soviet Union could not sustain such casualties and would have eventually lost. The population of Germany was around 80 million while the Soviet Union was around 190,000,000 or a little less. Thus the Soviet Union had slightly over twice the population of Germany but was sustaining losses of over 4 to 1 making it mathematically impossible for Stalin to win on his own.
There is the general claim that the Russians were thrashed by the Germans but eventually recovered from the defeats and learned how to defeat the Germans. This is parochialism at its worse for it ignores the fact that the Germans learned from their mistakes as well. Hence the continued kill ratio favoring the Germans throughout the war.
So when someone mentions the harsh winter of 1941 in negative context to the Germans, they fail to realize that the Russians were suffering far far worse. The casualty ratio would continue to favor the Germans only perhaps with exception to Bagration in 1944. On a Grand Stretegic level the only reason the Russians won was because Germany had to divert resources to the West once the USA entered the conflict. Hence generally Barbarossa was logical and not a military blunder. Hitler may have not reached Moscow, but he didnt need to if he could bleed Stalin's armies to death.
Well, their superior kill rate was not, as events showed, sufficient to defeat the Soviet Union. Because the Soviet Union's capacity to generate new military forces, compared to Germany, was even more superior. Hence, despite the great disparity in losses, the relation of forces steadily moved in the Soviet favor as the war progressed. It was the Germans that were being bled, relatively speaking. Your notions on this point are, I'm afraid, a bit too simplistic.
6: HITLER SHOULD HAVE ATTACKED MOSCOW INSTEAD OF THE UKRAINE IN 1941
There are arguments both ways regarding what the best option was, but I think the main point is that it wasn't really a question of where to attack. The Germans were already losing the war attritionally - the Red Army was raising new formations more quickly than the Germans could destroy them, and they would not have gotten to the source of that regardless of where they attacked in late summer 1941. To put it differently, there was not really an operational answer to the situation they found themselves in.
7: STALINGRAD WAS A GREAT/DECISIVE SOVIET VICTORY
Stalingrad was most certainly a great Soviet victory, and a very, very bad German setback - far worse than anything they had experienced up to that point. But it was not decisive, that is true. No battle in the East was - both sides had a much too big capacity to regenerate for that to be possible and the Germans recovered from Stalingrad just like the Russians recovered from Kiev and other debacles.
The soviet casualties, while large, were not by any means uniquely or even unusually big, and they could and did sustain such losses for another 2 1/2 years.
8: KURSK WAS A GREAT/DECISIVE SOVIET VICTORY
Again, I agree that this was not a decisive battle. The offensive was aborted mainly because of events elsewhere, it is in my opinion a somewhat academic debate who won it. The soviet losses here were much larger than the German, but the disparity was no greater than generally along the front during this period.
10: THE INVASION OF NORMANDY OPENED UP THE SECOND FRONT IN EUROPE
No.I hear such foolishness often. Such an absurd notion is insulting to the Allied troops who fought in Italy, Sicily and North Africa and the airmen who fought in thr skies over Germany and Europe. The Second Front always existed since June 1941 and it had greater impact in 1942 once the United States was involved. The Germans gradually had to move more men and materal West to counter real or anticipated threats to German occupied Europe.
I think the idea there is that only with the invasion of NW Europe was a second frontg opened up that could be called a major ground theatre in its own right. The Italian campaign was after all of fairly small scale, although Italy and Balkans combined constituted a major drain on German resources in 1943 at least.
Tunisa was just as costly to the Germans as Stalingrad
No, not even nearly.
and the Sicilian campaign forced the Germans to devote more divisions to occupy Italy. The bombing raids intensified in 1943 forcing the Luftwaffle to devote more fighters to aerial defense and remove them from the Eastern Front. The Second Front did not open on June 6th, 1944. I would argue that it was in late 1942 that the Second Front had noticable impact on weakening Germany's war effort with the Soviet Union.
That is in many ways true, and is an important point. The combination of Torch and the Stalingrad encirclement towards the end of 1942 fundamentally overthrew the whole German strategic paradigm. They now had to find considerable forces to stabilise the Eastern Front, and oppose the landings in NW Africa. They also realised that they had to find an even larger number of divisions to secure southern Europe once Africa was lost. Plus, the threa to the Western atlantic coast was increasing. These requirements dominated German dispositions in the first half of 1943 especially, required a major mobilisation of additional resources and would have deep consequences for the upcoming summer battles in the East. As DRZW #8 puts it, the second front was a psychological reality for the German command already in January 1943.
Nevertheless, overall when examing all powers, the grand strategic decisions are the most important. Every country made mistakes but the single big mistake that cost Germany the war was declaring war on the USA in Dec 1941.
Of course however, it's questionable if it would have made that much difference if they hadn't - it's hard to see how that would not have happened in any case, whatever the Germans did. The US was already very nearly a de facto participant in the war.