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Britain's Declaration of War?

Discussions on all aspects of the The United Kingdom & its Empire and Commonwealth during the Inter-War era and Second World War.
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Postby Polynikes on 12 Jul 2004 04:47

DrG

I just want to uderline that everybody with a bit of knowledge of Fascist Italy would never believe in your view of a Mussolini warmonger that would attempt to the life of the British Empire all alone.

Yes I think I would agree...though he ordered his forces to attack the British in Egypt without any German support. I guess he was convinced his army could beat the small British Western Desert Force unaided.

Nor of a Mussolini who would attack Greece or elesewhere without being (almost) sure that UK or France wouldn't support Italian enemies.

Possibly, but if Britain didn't declare war on Germany over the invasion of Poland, might that not persuade Mussolini that Britain and France would allow Italy to invade Greece?

I don't think that Mussolini would continue to spend large ammounts of money on his armed forces and not use them somewhere.

Albania had its own govern, flag, currency, armed forces, etc. And it even declared war on France and UK on 16 June 1940: six days after Italy! I guess nobody should tell it wasn't really independent.

I certainly would not tell them they weren't independent.
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Postby Musashi on 12 Jul 2004 09:15

Polynikes, I don't understand why you are so stubborn and you don't use quote feature. Do you try to be "original"? The Administrator paid your attention a few times. I used to your bold text instead of quotes, but you could think somebody new will not know what is going on. Difficultity of work is the same. To do it very shortly, you can do it this way:
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You mark the text and press quote button.
You repeat this step a few times if necessary.
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Postby DrG on 12 Jul 2004 15:04

Polynikes wrote:Yes I think I would agree...though he ordered his forces to attack the British in Egypt without any German support. I guess he was convinced his army could beat the small British Western Desert Force unaided.

But Britain was already at war with Germany.
Possibly, but if Britain didn't declare war on Germany over the invasion of Poland, might that not persuade Mussolini that Britain and France would allow Italy to invade Greece?

Greece was attacked both to compensate German occupation of Romania and, most important, to stop British interference (use of ports, presence of military advisors, etc.) in that country. Without a Italy at war with UK, British presence wouldn't have been a problem for Italy (or, at least, not enough to justify any attack), and German expansionism could have been counterbalanced with less urgence using diplomacy (and maybe allying with UK ;)).
I don't think that Mussolini would continue to spend large ammounts of money on his armed forces and not use them somewhere.

Those large amounts were spent mostly to finance the war of Ethiopia and of Spain, modernization or even enlargement of the armed forces were extremely limited. Moreover, in 1936, Italy spent 2,291,000,000 lire for military (5.6% of the total expenditure of the state that was 40,932,000,000), UK 137,000,000 £ (16.27% of the total 842,000,000 £), and UK wasn't even at war. Maybe it was Great Britain that was planning a military expansion, don't you think? ;)
I certainly would not tell them they weren't independent.

Yes... but only nominally. ;) Albania hadn't the slightest true indipendence, certainly even less than Canada or New Zealand, but I made that example just to show how words can be completely hollow (just like "Popular Democracy" that was just to say "Brutal Dictatorship"). Also today there are dozens of countries in the Third World (but not only in it...) whose indipendence is nothing more than a word.
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Postby Enkpitt on 12 Jul 2004 18:41

I am puzzeld on why did the allies let Russia invade Berlin first. And where they really afraid of Russia?
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Postby tonyh on 13 Jul 2004 11:51

Poly. You have a very fantasic view of both the British Empire and WWII in general, It's something I cannot agree with as it just doesn't fit with the real political situation that prevailed in 1939 or onwards. I shall reply to your points.

Polynikes wrote:tonyh

Yes. To a very large degree Britain still held sway over these Countries.


You hit the nail on the head here. They were (to all intents and purposes) countries allied to Britain.
I guess you don't believe it but Britain just couldn't take what it wanted without consent in the dominions. They all had their (loyal) governments, voted by their people to govern & tax them.

They were ALLIED countries.


You didn't read my post carefully, did you. These Countries may have been allied to britain, but it was she who was the centre point of the "alliance", or the "British Commonwealth" as it was known until the 70's. Britain was the keystone in the relationship between these Nations and wasn't short in letting them know it either. If you had read my post, you'll know that I didn't mention anything about Britain "taking what it wanted" in a manner that you suggest. I suggest you re-read it, as you're not clear on what I said.


Polynikes wrote:tonyh

Many in the Countries believed that they were indeed British and a common trade between those Countries benefited Britain. The control of British "possession" as they were called was very much in the 19th Century frame of things and many people in Britain had that view. That they "owned" Canada, South Africa and yes even Austraila.


Yes there must have been people in Australia who regarded themselves as British - as there were in the American colonies during the 1776 revolution - or in Southern Ireland in 1916.
The majority (vast majority actually) didn't think themselves British.

Many in Britain didn't think that way but they were also wrong.


Of course. But the ruling power establishment, in Britain itself, considered them to be of British "possession". This is the important point in the perception of the "Empire's war". My mother who was born on the Channel Islands remembers clearly that she was thought in school that canada, Australia, parts or South Africa were coloured pink (or crimson on some maps), and therefore "British". Make no mistake, many people of the times considered these Countries not to be independent, but of British possession. How real that was in flat terms is another matter. But they were still subordinate to the crown. The Countries weren't considered "allied" even during the war, they were considered the "British Commonwealth".

Polynikes wrote:tonyh

Canada didn't actually declare war on Germany until September 10th under extreme pressure from Britain, she had to comply with Chamberlains declaration. Makenzie-King had no real reason to declare war at all on Germany, Canada was not under any threat nor had she any reason to believe that she ever would be, it was Britain's affair. AFAIR, the Austrailian PM was vurtually told the "British Empire" was at war.


I have a copy of the Daily Mail the day after war was declared - it proudly announces: "The Empire With Us".
There was little doubt that the dominions wouldn't declare with Britain - though please note that the colonies didn't declare. There was no such declaration from Nigeria or India or Jamiaca for example.

In actual fact, South African support was in more than a little doubt and there are post war suggestions that the German cause had more than a little sympathy.

Of course Britain would regard any lack of support as perfidious but it wasn't impossible.

I like to think that Britain could always guarantee Canadian, Australian and New Zealand (and probably South African) support if ever it was needed.

But I still wouldn't go as far as to count Australian steel production as "British" when adding up the pecking order in Europe any more than I would count US steel production.


Of course the mail would say that wouldn't it. It was and is an "establishment" newspaper and therefore will reflect the governmental view of the times. But such a headline neglects the fact that Canada didn't actually declare war until the 10th of September and the Austrailian PM had no say in the matter. Just because a newspaper of the day states a spurious headline doesn't mean that that headline is fact. There were plenty of spurious headlines generated in WWII...and beyond.

Polynikes wrote:tonyh

No. The Empire was in decline after WWI, it was far from over. That event would not happen until after WWII, when Britain dragged herself into a war, she didn't have to get herself involved in. India folded because the independance movement became too strong an popular and Britain had weaken herself so much with her war that the point of holding on to India became null and void. Likewise with the other occupied territories around the world.


That's pretty much what I said.
The British empire was strong in 1914 though the pre-eminant position in Europe and the world was declining even before WWI.

WWI deeply damaged Britain's economy, drained the exchequor and plunged the nation into debt. Then the great depression accellerated the decline.
The climate created fostered nationalism and independence movements - none more so than in India.
As one commentator observed. In 1900 it was impossible to conceive British rule ever ending in India. By 1930 it was inconceivable that it could continue.


Actually, it looked rather different in your original post. You said that the British Empire was "over" after WWI. This is very far from the truth. The British Empire was still very strong, but weakened and in a declining curve after the Great War. But Britain was still the "standard bearer" for social and economic aspirations of modern Countires. The British "gold standard" was in vogue and the Pound was the World standard currency. In every Country in the World, a British pound was worth spending. The British Empire was very much alive after WWI, albeit in a reduced state from its condition at the turn of the Century and the US had flexed its post war European marketing muscle. But it wasn't the events of the Great War or the crash in the late 20's that precipitated Nationalism in Britain's occupied Countries. Those desires had been around far longer than that. The real end of the Empire was after WWII, when Churchill bankrupt his Country in his war against Germany. After that war, there was to be no bouncing back al la WWI. Britain just didn't have the energy, the will or the army to keep her colonies in line.

Polynikes wrote:tonyh

It was hoped that India would go the way of Canada and Austrailia and wish to remain a part of the "British Empire" after she was "given" independance, but it was not to be.


No, it was fully realised by all that British rule in India was finished 30's.
WWII just confirmed what was already apparant - British rule was all but over.
Britain was to declare it would grant full independence at the soonest possible time if India supported Britain in defeating Japan.
It was hoped that India would remain pro-British (with favourable trading terms) perhaps but that was it.


Actually, some far reaching minds in Britain realised that India would continue to get stronger in her fight for independance during the early 1900's. Various Independance movenments were crushed, sometimes with disasterous results by the occupying British Powers since the 19th Century. It didn't stop the ruling establishment from want desparately to hold on to their jewel in the crown though. It took two huge wars and bankruptcy to further help the Indian cause, which only realised their dream in 1947. Thats a long long way away from 1918. To some India was just too good a possession to give up.

Polynikes wrote:tonyh

This is a rather silly quote, don't you think? Britain lashed out at Germany, not the other way round. Had Chamberlain held his tounge in 1939, their would have been no reason to "stand firm" at all. Britain dragged herself into the mess of WWII, with a misguided belief that she could still call the shots in European affairs.


Not silly at all.
If Britain hadn't stood up to Hitler, I believe that at best most of Western civilisation would've spent generations under a regime that was far gimmer and far more evil that the Soviet rule that the USSR and Eastern Europe was to experience.
At worst the world faced nuclear obiteration.

Britain knew all too well what a war with Germany meant. Britain mobilised a few hundred thousand servicemen in 1939, France mobilised millions. As in WWI, Britain had no illusion who the senior partner in the Anglo-French alliance was.
After the French surrender, it was Russia who was seen as the great ally...until the USA arrived.
"Calling the shots" as you put it was not the motivation, self preservation was. Britain has never sought to rule Europe - just to be safe from it.
The French and Germans have in recent centuries tried to conquer Europe, not Britain. Your quote is ill-advised and mis-directed.


Well, what you "believe" and what is fact are two vastly different things. Your beliefs are based on what you want to believe, not what was actually the political climate and what was actually possible in the 1940's. It still doesn't alter the fact that it was Britain who made the first move in a war against Germany. A Nation who had no aspirations against Britain itself and thus expanded a potential European war between two tyrants, Hitler and Stalin, into a new world war. With no British declaration, there is no world war. The paths are too different. Britain didn't "stand up" to Hitler, thats a fanciful wiew. They sought to contain German power on the Continent (a simple continuation of British policy toward Germany since 1870) and maintain their own ballance of power.

Polynikes wrote:tonyh

Wrong. There is little to no chance of an all out German victrory against Russia. Your "war of liberation" is rubbish talk I'm afraid.


Well it certainly would be if I said it.

DON'T ASCRIBE QUOTES TO ME I DIDN'T MAKE!!!


Perhaps you need to re-read your own posts. They contain references saying that Germany could win a war in Russia and that Britain fought a "war of liberation". Both assertions are nonsense. EXACT QUOTE "Colonies were not made independent nations because it was untenable to maintain control over them after fighting a war of liberation." You can look for it in your previous post. Britain didn't go to war to fight a "war of liberation", she declared war to maintain the status quo that was favorable to her. It was a purely self motivated action.

Polynikes wrote:tonyh

Likewise, its nonsense to talk of Britain going to war for other Countires "liberation" in one breath and then saying that she "keep BRITAIN free not anybody else".


It's the same as I said throughout this thread...the war was fought for British self-preservation.
I hope you are now clear on this!

I think you'd better re-examine who made the "liberation" claim and be more careful with your cut and pasting.


Again. I can only say that you should re-read your OWN posts. You clearly mention Britain fighting a "war of liberation".

Polynikes wrote:tonyh

After a completion of a war against Russia, Germany would have NOTHING to contemplate any other aggressive move with. The occupation troops alone in Russian held territory would be crippling and besides a war with Russia would be YEARS longer than the one that actually played out, with a far more protracted struggle in the making. There simply is NO REASON for Hitler to "turn West" and there would be nothing to do it with.


Of course a German-Soviet 1:1 war might take years of costly fighting....I personally think Germany would win inside 3 years if not quicker.
Not sure why you think the occupation of Russia would take millions of men. A few SS divisions (and the Luftwaffe) would suffice to control Russian peasants armed with little more than small arms.

Britain controlled a bigger empire with less men.


Fine. You "think" that Germany would win a war inside of three years, if not quicker. But you're wrong and clearly do not understand the real aspects of the war in Russia as it actually played out or how it would possibly play out without Britain throwing herself into the mix, your dreams of a German victory in Russia are beginning to sound as fanciful as Hitler's. There is NO WAY Germany can achieve an all out Victory in Russia, unless Stalin completely capitulates and signs an armistace al la the French in 1940, something that wouldn't happen. The odds are firmly against it. A struggle in the East without the worries to Hitlers rearguard, simply results in a protracted struggle. The best Hitler can hope for is a draw and even with that draw early on, it would be suicide to suddenly turn West an invite disatster in the East again. Your opinion is just not realistic. Conquering France and occupying her while fighting a war in Russia is one thing, but Occupying the vast tracts of Russia and then trying to fight a war in France is an entirely different matter. Your "...A few SS divisions (and the Luftwaffe) would suffice to control Russian peasants armed with little more than small arms." demonstrates a lack of knowledge regarding the desparation of German rear area actions. The Germans couldn't manage to effectively combat the Russian partisans, when they had 80% of the Wehrmacht there. How the hell are they supposed to do it when they have to fight a new war in the West, whcih would have been a far different proposition after a long war in Russia, than it was in 1940.

And Britain fought and controled an Empire it conqured in a different Century. The mechanised war of the 20th Century is no comparison at all.

Polynikes wrote:tonyh

Were not talking about a negotiated peace. We are talking about Britain NOT DECLARING WAR IN THE FIRST PLACE. Hitler wanted nothing to do with Western Europe AT ALL. Especially Britain. He even said that "...the British Empire and the Catholic Church are two elements essential to world stability."


He also said after Czechoslovakia that Germany had "No more territorial demands".
It seems you're even more willing to believe Hitler than Chamberlain was.

Britain and France went to war because they feared a powerful Germany - especially the Germany that was created by the Nazis.
They believed that Hitler would turn West at some point unless stopped and I think they were right.

You seem to think that Hitler had no interest in the West. His actions deny that.

But in case you still have any doubts about how Hitler felt about France (and the humiliation he felt from the treaty of Versailles) here's a passage from Mein Kamp:

Only when this is fully understood in Germany, so that the vital will of the German nation is no longer allowed to languish in purely passive defense, but is pulled together for a final active reckoning with France and thrown into a last decisive struggle with the greatest ultimate aims on the German side- only then will we be able to end the eternal and essentially so fruitless struggle between ourselves and France; presupposing, of course, that Germany actually regards the destruction of France as only a means which will afterward enable her finally to give our people the expansion made possible elsewhere.

(my underlining).

http://www.govsux.com/mein_kampf_2_15.htm


I'm loath to believe any politcian, and Hitler's no different. However that doesn't change that fact that Hitler's eyes were not on the West. They were firmly in the East and rested on his desire for "Lebensraum" and the removal of the "Jewish-Bolshevik threat" that was the central motivation. None of your opinions are going to alter that, I'm afraid. Britain went to war to maintain her status as the ballance of power in European affairs and to hold on to her possessions that weren't even under threat, as I have said already. France, who was more reluctant to declare war than Britain, felt forced to go to war, because as long as Britain was threatening Germany, France was a potential battleground. Deladier was very hesitant to actually declare war along with Britain and very nearly didn't. France only did so a half a day after Britain did so and after intense debate, because they believed that with the combined strength of both the British and themselves, Hitler would be forced to back down and return to the negotiation table regarding Danzig etc, an opinion shared by the British Government. Hitler called both their bluff's. Neither Country actually wanted a new war.

Also your quote of a "final reckoning" or even "destruction of France" doesn't necessarilly mean war with France. Neither does "settle their (France) hash", which is what Hitler said later on. One could read many different connotations into such "out of context" quotes. Also there are quotes from Hitler and his contempories to suggest the opposite of your "Mein Kampf" line, such as this from Ribbintrop in 1933,
‘that a new war between Germany and France was quite impossible, as was one between Britain and Germany and that this is a fundamental principle in the mind of the chancellor,not only during his lifetime but as a testament for his nation for future years.’
Its true that Hitler harboured a revenge fantasy against the Nation that so cruelly treated a defeated Germany after WWI, that is no secret and that while Hitler respected the French people, he despised the old French establishment and its governing bodies. An opinion formed by the image of drunken Generals commanding Armies in the trenches, from the luxury of their Chateaux's in WWI. However, the fact is that he was unwilling to risk another bogged down re-play of WWI, so his revenge fantasies remained fantasies, until of course France declared war and changed the dice roll in 1939. Hitler even said to Spear that he wanted huge monuments to be built as permanent borders of the Reich. In the West they were to be started at Alsaise-Lorraine and in the East they could start at the Urals.

Polynikes wrote:tonyh

Only because you want him to. Like Hitler turning West for no reason.


Well hopefully I've put to bed your misconceptions about how Hitler felt about France.
Indeed Main Kampf goes on to state his dreams of ruling Europe, unifying Aryans etc etc.


Em......no. Your no way near anything like that. I'm well aware of Hitler's intentions regarding this matter.

Polynikes wrote:tonyh

It would be FAR TOO simplistic to believe that Hitler would just swallow up Switzerland for no reason at all.


How many times do I have to spell out the reason? Switzerland is Germanic, Hitler was actively seeking to unite all Germanic peoples into ONE nation. There's your motive.
Switzerland was and is rich - another.

The predatory nature of the Nazis means that they would keep on consuming territory until stopped - all their actions prove this over and over.


Again...your opinions are far too simplistic. They are just not realistic.

Polynikes wrote:tonyh

Its nonsense, frankly. Hitler prefered Countries Neutral as his armies were needed on the Russian front. It was only out of necessity that he turned West at all. Because of the British threat to his rear.


Please listen to what I'm saying. It was a matter of faith that Germany should not fight a 2 front war, yet that is exactly what Hitler did.
I fully accept that any attempt(s) to gain control over the Swiss financial power, Swedish mineral wealth etc would wait in turn.
First was the USSR.
Next would come the low countries and France.
Then who knows but all would come under the Nazi yoke eventually.


No, it was a matter of necessity that Germany avoid a two front war. It was something that she couldn't win. In fact it was nothing short of miraculous that Germany managed to hold out as long as she did in the real war. Again...Hitler's be all end all was a war of conquest in the East. "The traditional Tutonic path" as he called it. With this war with Russia, Germany would be so exhaused and spent that even if Hitler managed a victory, there is NO POSSIBLE WAY that he could then turn and make war with the West. Your assertions to the contrary belong in a fantasy novel or in Star Wars. It just doesn't apply to the realistic situation. In a protracted war with Russia and an absence of a British and French declaration of war, once the war in the East in despensed with, its FAR TOO LATE for Hitler to even think about moving West. Both Britain and France would have built up large offensive and defensive measures to ward off any such intentions in the area. The "Hitler turning West" post Russian war is an absurdity, for that reason alone.

Polynikes wrote:tonyh

Of course there was. If Hitler was to successfully secure a launch ground for his invasion of Russia, Poland and Czechoslovakia HAD to be either occupied or allied with. There's no way around this. If he went through one Country Russia could outflank him, so a broad front had to be established.


I said there was no need for Hitler to invade Poland OR the USSR.

Now of course it's hard to attack the USSR without going through Poland but Britain managed it (with France) in the 1850's.

What was the reason to invade the USSR again? Oh yes, land and power.

Now don't tell me you buy into the Nazi idea that the Germans actually NEEDED more room to live in? Or the Suvorov claim that the USSR was actually about to invade Germany (through Poland of course).


In Hitler's opinion there were very valid reasons to invade the USSR, land and power being just one reason (the very reason Britain invaded and occupied many Nations herself). While Germany was industially strong, her agriculture was merely adiquate. If Germany was to vie for European hedgemoney, then she could realistically expect to be tackled for it at some point in the future, either through economic pressure or perhaps even war. although the former was far more likely. Thus a strong land based agricultrual/industrial option was needed to maintain Germany's independence from other Nations and thus her strength, both ecomonically and physically. Hitler saw what a naval blockade could do to Germany during a war and how economic pressure could cripple a Nation. In WWI a million German's starved to death because there wasn't enough food produced to feed the population. With the occupation of the Ukraine, this would not happen. Also the hatred Hitler had for Communism (a position shared by a huge number of people at the time and later on too) fired his reasons too, for war in Russia. There were many people who had no problem with a Germnan/Russian war. Stanley Baldwin himself uttered such a statement. And besides what you think, a Soviet strike on Germany could may well be a possiblity. Its certainly not something I would write off, given Russia's actions in Finland, Lituania, Latvia and also Poland. And even if WE today don't buy it, Hitler sure as hell did.

Polynikes wrote:tonyh

But Hitler wanted to avoid war with both Britain and France as he believed that it would be a repetition of WWI, with a long protracted and useless war between Countries who were "not our natural enemies". Hitler's war was with Russia. That's the be all end all of his vision. Its all in the east.


Hitler wanted to avoid war with Britain & France to avoid a two front war.
He wanted revenge with France - that should be clear to you.
Britons danced on VE day because the fighting (in Europe) was finally over....in May 1940 Hitler knew it was just beginning. I hope the difference in motivation is clear.


Rubbish. I've more than adequately pointed out to you why Hitler rejoiced in his victory over France. If YOUR not "clear", you can read it again.

Polynikes wrote:tonyh

....that Hitler even COULD turn on Western Europe with an invasion force bigger than the 3 million he invaded Russia with? Your just completely and utterly wrong.


No Tony it's you who is utterly wrong because you haven't thought this through.
I suspect you're motivation is just to damn Britain when you should be focussing on where the evil lay - it wasn't in Whitehall despite what the Irish are conditioned to believe.

For your benefit, here's the logic. Hitler thought the war with the USSR would be a short one so little in the way of total mobilisation was done. After the failure of Barbarossa/Typhoon to end the war, Germany moves towards a more committed war economy.
Therefore (though Germany MIGHT not win - IMO it would), the Wehrmacht finishes the German-Soviet war with in a much more powerful state.
Larger, with more weapons, more panzer divs, MUCH better tanks and aircraft.

This is what happened to the USSR BTW. In 1945 the Red Army numbered around 500 divisions and an air force unrecognisable to the one it started the war with - and the Red Army wasn't small in 1941.


???What? The Irish believe evil lies in Whitehall? I better tell them quick so. Thats another rather rash silly quote, don't you think? I am very well aware of Germany's military capability in both the real war in Russia and how one could possibily play out in lieu of a Western war and the Irish believing in the "evil of Whitehall" has nothing to do with anything. Your notion of a more powerful wehrmacht AFTER a war with Russia displays a distinct lack of knowledge regarding the real situatiion and relies on fantasy and your ill thought out beliefs. Your opinon is based on nothing except what you want to believe and not what was the actual situation present in both the real and possible events.

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Postby tonyh on 13 Jul 2004 11:55

Enkpitt wrote:I am puzzeld on why did the allies let Russia invade Berlin first. And where they really afraid of Russia?


Because they were prepared to take the losses that were anticipated involved in taking Berlin. So the Allies just carried on with their policy of letting the Soviets soak up the German blood with their own. It worked for the previous 4 years.

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Postby henryk on 13 Jul 2004 20:57

You are ignoring the massive Western allied losses in the Pacific theater, only entered by the USSR mid 1945. Also the Western allies losses in the North Africa, Italy and West Europe, and the North Atlantic and Murmansk convoys.There are also the Polish losses caused by USSR, 1939-1941 and Polish and other Underground losses 1939-1950 and beyond.
Because they were prepared to take the losses that were anticipated involved in taking Berlin. So the Allies just carried on with their policy of letting the Soviets soak up the German blood with their own. It worked for the previous 4 years.

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Postby CoffeeCake on 14 Jul 2004 00:53

henryk wrote:You are ignoring the massive Western allied losses in the Pacific theater, only entered by the USSR mid 1945. Also the Western allies losses in the North Africa, Italy and West Europe, and the North Atlantic and Murmansk convoys.There are also the Polish losses caused by USSR, 1939-1941 and Polish and other Underground losses 1939-1950 and beyond.


WA + Resistance losses in all other theatres don't exceed 20 million, now do they?

In regards to this thread, how will declaring war on the USSR help the WA in any way? It would only ensure the defeat of democracy, leaving the totalitarians to duke it out.
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Postby henryk on 14 Jul 2004 20:06

In regards to this thread, how will declaring war on the USSR help the WA in any way? It would only ensure the defeat of democracy, leaving the totalitarians to duke it out.

Democracies that would have survived: USA, Canada, Australia, etc.
What kind of victory for the Central-European, Eastern-European, Baltic, Balkan countries under Communist dictatorships for about 45 years; China, North Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, still Communist dictatorships.
What portion of the 20 million losses was caused by the USSR against its own citizens, including execution of returned POW?
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Postby CoffeeCake on 14 Jul 2004 20:23

henryk wrote:What kind of victory for the Central-European, Eastern-European, Baltic, Balkan countries under Communist dictatorships for about 45 years


What would have happened if Nazism was there for 45 years?
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Postby Polynikes on 15 Jul 2004 04:15

Musashi wrote:Polynikes, I don't understand why you are so stubborn and you don't use quote feature. Do you try to be "original"? The Administrator paid your attention a few times. I used to your bold text instead of quotes, but you could think somebody new will not know what is going on. Difficultity of work is the same. To do it very shortly, you can do it this way:
***** wrote:
You mark the text and press quote button.
You repeat this step a few times if necessary.


I guess it's because every other forum I am a member of tends to use the bold funtion to separate the poster's comments and the comment he/she is responding to.

I think it's a lot clearer that using the quote feature which places the post you're replying to in a large box.

It also makes a large post shorter and so easier to read.

Obviously I'm in a minority on this.
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Postby Polynikes on 15 Jul 2004 04:18

Enkpitt wrote:I am puzzeld on why did the allies let Russia invade Berlin first. And where they really afraid of Russia?


Not really...

I think the (Western) allies didn't belive that they could make Berlin before the Russians and even if they did, they couldn't take it before the Russians arrived.

Eisenhower believed that it was better to let the Russians take Berlin and endure the casualties - he was probably right.

We got half of Berlin for no cost and 45 years later, we got the other half.
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Postby Polynikes on 15 Jul 2004 04:34

DrG

But Britain was already at war with Germany.


Not sure what you're saying...that had Britain NOT been at war, then Mussolini would've backed off because he KNEW his army wasn't capable of defeating the small British force in the Western Desert?

I think Mussolini was humiliated that his army failed to defeat the British and needed German help. Command over the Italian army was given to the commander of the German corps sent to help. Humiliation indeed.
Indeed, there's a theory that Hitler sent Rommel to North Africa not so much because of the exploits of the 7th Pz Div in the May 1940 blitzkrieg, but because he had won the Blue Max fighting the Italians in WWI in the Deutsche Alpine Korps (DAK) - the Africa Corps was known by the same abreviation Deutsche Afrika Korps.

I don't know if this is true but Mussolini most certainly would not be happy and most certainly anticipated that his army would prevail against the much smaller British force WITHOUT any German help.

Greece was attacked both to compensate German occupation of Romania and, most important, to stop British interference (use of ports, presence of military advisors, etc.) in that country. Without a Italy at war with UK, British presence wouldn't have been a problem for Italy (or, at least, not enough to justify any attack), and German expansionism could have been counterbalanced with less urgence using diplomacy (and maybe allying with UK.


Bit of a chicken and egg here...British forces were in Greece to protect it from Italian/German aggression.
Had there not been any fascist designs on Greece, then there'd be no British forces.
Mussolini wanted to control Greece having invaded Albania in April 1939.

....Mussolini decided in August to attack Greece which he regarded as falling within his Mediterranean sphere of interest. He had already occupied Albania in April 1939 and from positions there launched his attack on 28 October without warning Hitler.

http://www.expage.com/wwiimed01

Those large amounts were spent mostly to finance the war of Ethiopia and of Spain, modernization or even enlargement of the armed forces were extremely limited. Moreover, in 1936, Italy spent 2,291,000 lire for military (5.6% of the total expenditure of the state that was 40,932,000), UK 137,000 £ (16.27% of the total 842,000 £), and UK wasn't even at war. Maybe it was Great Britain that was planning a military expansion, don't you think?


Hardly. The Spanish civil war was long over and Mussolini's war in Eithiopia was small scale stuff compared to his designs on Egypt and Greece.

The bulk of the money went on forces that were alligned against these two places.

What is your souce that gives British military expenditure of 16.27% of the national budget? For what year?

.....Albania hadn't the slightest true indipendence.


I suppose not after Italy invaded it.
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Postby Jon G. on 15 Jul 2004 05:00

The Italian attack on Egypt in September 1940 was intended to coincide with Operation Seelöwe. The objective was political much more than it was strategic - just like Mussolini's attack on France in 1940 was.

By the time the DAK went to Libya, all notions of a peace conference had of course evaporated - and Rommel getting the command there (no, he did not preside over all Axis forces in North Africa) was more a function of his considerable PR skills - he gained laurels in France, but so did other commanders, and his literary claim to fame was a book on infantry tactics.
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Postby Polynikes on 15 Jul 2004 06:22

tonyh

You have a very fantasic view of both the British Empire and WWII in general, It's something I cannot agree with as it just doesn't fit with the real political situation that prevailed in 1939 or onwards. I shall reply to your points.


I think my view pretty much reflects the de-facto relationship between London and the British dominions.

.....but it was she who was the centre point of the "alliance", or the "British Commonwealth" as it was known until the 70's. Britain was the keystone in the relationship between these Nations and wasn't short in letting them know it either.


OK, this is closer.
At least you recognise that the dominions weren't mere extentions of Britain - Of course Britain was/is at the centre of the Commonwealth - that stands to reason.
Britain was the most powerful member of the Commonwealth so "keystone" of any alliance would be a reasonable description...though not as vital as say the USA's role in NATO.

As for being short in letting them know...I'm not sure what you mean. Certainly there are examples of when the USA has tried to pressure NATO members to support it in war (Vietnam and Iraq for example) but I can't think of any pressure Britain ever applied...dominion support was assumed not dictated.

If you have any evidence of British coersion, please post it.

Of course. But the ruling power establishment, in Britain itself, considered them to be of British "possession".


No.

No-one in power, in Britain regarded (certainly by 1939) any dominion as a British possesion. Britain assumed loyalty and was right BUT...although the British employed conscription and a TOTAL war effort in Both world wars, dominion (indeed empire) forces and committment was VOLUNTEER only - just like US citizens serving in the RAF.

This is the important point in the perception of the "Empire's war". My mother who was born on the Channel Islands remembers clearly that she was thought in school that canada, Australia, parts or South Africa were coloured pink (or crimson on some maps), and therefore "British".


Sorry Tony, that is meaningless....most kids thought the same. I used to think it too that Britain owned all these places.

Even as late as the 70's, (British) international political maps coloured Australia and Canada pink. Some probably still do.
Britain's political leadership didn't form their views on the subject from jingoistic cartographers though.

Of course the mail would say that wouldn't it. It was and is an "establishment" newspaper and therefore will reflect the governmental view of the times. But such a headline neglects the fact that Canada didn't actually declare war until the 10th of September and the Austrailian PM had no say in the matter. Just because a newspaper of the day states a spurious headline doesn't mean that that headline is fact.


You've kind of contradicted yourself here Tony.

You're trying to tell me that "people" regarded the empire (including the dominions) as British, yet when I tell you that the Daily Mail specifically celebrates that these same dominions made a conscious decision of support - you say that this view reflected a general view that these places were British and thus weren't in a position to make such a conscious declaration anymore than say East Anglia or Cornwall was.

The very fact that the newspapers made an big issue of it demonstrates recognition that the dominions were independent, grown up nations yet STILL supporting the mother country.

I disagree that the Aussie PM had no say BTW and your point about Canadian declarations actually supports my assertion that Canada was politically independent - if it were a mere possesion, then no procedure would be required in order to delay it's declaration.

Finally, this whole discussion is in regard as to whether dominion industrial production could in any way be ragrded as British and so used to inflate British figures when matched against Germany at the outbreak of war.
I say it cannot.

Actually, it looked rather different in your original post. You said that the British Empire was "over" after WWI.


In effect it was.
The dominions went their own way after WWI and British power was severely limited - hence the reason why the British forces (the best in terms of quality in 1914 and quantity with regard to the RN) were so weak in 1939.

However impressive the British empire looked on paper or jingoistic maps, the reality was different.
After WWI, it was finished....it wasn't a question of IF the British empire would break up, but WHEN.
Before WWI, such questions were unthinkable.

No, it was WWI that was the real watershed of empire not WWII.

.....to some India was just too good a possession to give up.


Thankfully they all inhabited the extreme right wing of the Tory party and that wasn't in power after WWII.
Similar people WERE in power in France post WWII - the result was two disasterous colonial wars in Indochina and Algeria.

Britain fought no colonial wars after WWII (you could argue that the Falklands war was a colonial war I suppose) but the real big war, Malaya, wasn't fought to keep Malaya British, but to keep it from being communist.

Well, what you "believe" and what is fact are two vastly different things. Your beliefs are based on what you want to believe, not what was actually the political climate and what was actually possible in the 1940's.


How? In what way?
I think your posts are prejudiced against Britain - just WHEN has Britain ever sought to rule ANY part of continental Europe?
Not since successive English kings tried to gain control of the French throne has this been the case. Certainly British/English troops have fought in Europe on many occasions, but never to rule the place, merely to limit another country from exercising dominant rule.

You will find that it's your view of Britain as an aspirant master of Europe that's out of step with historical truth.

It still doesn't alter the fact that it was Britain who made the first move in a war against Germany. A Nation who had no aspirations against Britain itself .......they sought to contain German power on the Continent and maintain their own balance of power.


Strange, I thought Germany's invasion of Poland started it.

A few points:

1. If Germany had no "aspirations" against Britain, what were those U-Boats for?
2. Germany supported anti-democratic governments like Franco's. You're going to tell me that this isn't a threat to democracy and therefore Britain (and all the other democracies). Domino theory and all that?

3. You actually hit the nail on the head. Britain DID seek to limit German power - that was what the ultimatum over Poland was all about - Germany HAD to be stopped from growing into an unstoppable military juggernaut.
The USA made similar efforts to retard the growth of Soviet/Chinese power BTW. eg: Vietnam, Afghanistan, Cuba, the creation of NATO before the creation of the Wasaw Pact. Why were hundreds of thousands of US troops in Europe post WWII?
You could argue that the USSR hadn't any aspirations to invade the USA but a reduction in the number of Western democracies was most definitely a threat to the USA.

German hegemony in Europe OF COUSE threatened Britain....not because Germany WOULD attack Britain but because it COULD & therefore MIGHT and therefore would give Germany political leverage/power over Britain.

Think about it.

You need to re-read your own posts. They contain references saying that Germany could win a war in Russia and that Britain fought a "war of liberation".


Please READ them Tony.

I'll repeat what you just quoted: Britain DIDN'T didn't go to war to fight a "war of liberation".

(my bold)

Again. I can only say that you should re-read your OWN posts. You clearly mention Britain fighting a "war of liberation".


Oh dear....read it again & feel publically embarrassed.
Your own post states it. Note the DIDN'T.

That's DIDN'T or DID NOT....fight a war of liberation.

Clear?

Now please don't ascibe quotes I didn't make....I NEVER at ANY time claimed Britain has EVER fought a war of liberation. Because she hasn't....unless you count the Falklands war.

.....you're wrong....do not understand the real aspects of the war in Russia....your dreams of a German victory in Russia sound as fanciful as Hitler's. ......NO WAY Germany can achieve an all out victory in Russia....wouldn't happen.... your opinion is just not realistic....


Quite a passionate post Tony.
Of course it's all specualtion but I believe that Germany WOULD beat the USSR 1:1. Indeed most speculative fiction supports it. There is no end to the number of books about how Germany could've beaten the USSR even WITH Britain & the USA in the mix as you put it.

Now of course if Britain and France stay out of it entirely (as you suggest they could've) then the whole Wehrmacht gets directed against the USSR - of course the Germans might still lose but their forces would be almost doubled in size in the East (factoring in the German/Italian naval forces not required etc).

You say the USSR wins, I say Germany wins. Who knows, it's not actually important - the fact is that Britain believed that Germany COULD win (indeed a Soviet win is almost as bad).
Could Britain really gamble on a 0-0 draw with both countries (Nazi Germany AND the USSR) completely exhausted?

Another point - you seem willing to ascribe to me Nazi dreams of conquest (presumably a bad thing in your eyes) yet retain a view of Nazi benevolence towards Britain.
Just to put you right - I don't lie awake at night fantasising about the Fuhrer victorious over the world. In fact, for me, it's the stuff of nightmares. You couldn't be more wrong.

Your "...A few SS divisions (and the Luftwaffe) would suffice to control Russian peasants armed with little more than small arms." demonstrates a lack of knowledge regarding the desparation of German rear area actions. The Germans couldn't manage to effectively combat the Russian partisans, when they had 80% of the Wehrmacht there. How the hell are they supposed to do it when they have to fight a new war in the West, whcih would have been a far different proposition after a long war in Russia, than it was in 1940.


I see how you form this view...
OK. If the USSR is defeated, the partizans dissolve.
After large scale combat ops are over, resistance peters out in the face of brutal repression.
Think Hungary 1956.

Large areas of what was the USSR used to be ruled by the likes of Sweden and Poland with few actual troops. Don't kid yourself....a visit by the SS would soon crush revolt.

Those partizans would end up as terrorists and terrorists always lose against totalitarian regimes.

Think Genghis Khan.

I'm loath to believe any politcian, and Hitler's no different. However that doesn't change that fact that Hitler's eyes were not on the West. They were firmly in the East and rested on his desire for "Lebensraum" and the removal of the "Jewish-Bolshevik threat" that was the central motivation.


Ah, so now you're presented with a quote(s) from Hitler that disript your argument somewhat, suddenly you're "loathe" to believe in what Hitler says!

Of course in terms of priority, Hitler's obsession was with communism and Jewry.

The whole point of this is not whether Hitler hated Jew or communists...it's what he would've done when he had no more Jews/communists to worry about.

It's clear from his writings that he'd turn West & settle issues with France.

Granted at no time did he ever state an emnity with Britain but German hegemony in Europe would be at best unpleasant for Britain and at worst downright disasterous.

....Britain went to war to maintain her status as the balance of power in European affairs and to hold on to her possessions that weren't even under threat.


With every post you demonstrate such little understanding of politics.

You can say Britain wanted to maintain her position in the balance of power but that's just another way of saying she just didn't want to see Germany tipping the balance in its favour.

I'll try and say it simply for you.
Britain wanted to maintain the balance of power (if such a phrase had relevance in 1939) NOT because it wanted to dicate to others, but because it didn't want to be dictated to by others (meaning Germany of course).

See the difference?

I hope so.

Also your quote of a "final reckoning" or even "destruction of France" doesn't necessarilly mean war with France.


Of course not. The threat of war might be enough to persuade France to be accommodating.

It's called "political pressure".

With Spain and Italy formly in the Fascist camp, it's hard to see France resisting Hitler - the leader of the Axis.
Indeed, French democracy could easily be undermined a la Spain.

Then the pressure comes on Britain.
Deal with the reality of a hostile 500 million man super-power on your doorstep or accept the consequences.

Again...your opinions are far too simplistic. They are just not realistic. [/quote}

I have to laugh at you Tony.

You talk of "realistic" like that countered for something with Hitler. I'll tell you what's not realistic - fighting a war with the USA, USSR AND the British Empire all at the same time isn't realistic - yet Hitler intentionally did EXACTLY that!

You make the claim he wasn't in a position to beat the USSR alone (though I dount this). How then do you ascrive your notion of "realism" to a man who attacks the USSR (who'm you claim was never in doubt of beating Germany) and declares war on the USA while still at war with Britain?

Does your post not strike you as even a little bit contradictory?

I tell you again. The Nazis would just continue to consume land and power until stopped.

In Hitler's opinion there were very valid reasons to invade the USSR, land and power being just one reason (the very reason Britain invaded and occupied many Nations herself). While Germany was industially strong, her agriculture was merely adiquate.


Really?
Not less adequate than Britain or France's. How did the annexation of Czechoslovia and Poland change this?

What was wrong with importing grain?

Oh yes, the British naval blockade...but if Britain was to be a friendly power why would there be a blockade?

What abut the Nazi-Soviet pact?

Sorry but your claim that the invasion of the USSR was merely an attempt to secure long term access to grain is merely an apology for Nazism.

???What? The Irish believe evil lies in Whitehall?


Seemingly so. The BBC ran a straw poll prior to Euro 2004. It asked people from Ireland if they'd support England. The answer an an unequivocal NO. One guy said that "800 years of oppression" meant he could never support England!

....your notion of a more powerful wehrmacht AFTER a war with Russia displays a distinct lack of knowledge regarding the real situatiion and relies on fantasy and your ill thought out beliefs.


Think of it in these terms.
The USSR WON its war with Nazi Germany and ended up with an army that was a vast powerful force.
Had Germany won, it would have been the possesor of a vast powerful force (in order to beat the USSR it would need one) and the USSR's army would be the rags and ruins version you saw in the defeated Wehrmacht of 1945.

Now here it is.

You (seem to) say that Britain went to war because it wanted to preserve its power in Europe. I tell you this power was non-existant and what power Britain historically had NEVER was used to exercise direct control over Europe or parts of Europe.

The extent of British foriegn policy was to ensure that no threat to her national integrity existed in Europe. Thus Spain, France, Russia and Germany were all opposed at one stage when their power grew to a point where Britain feared it posed a potential threat.

You (seem to) claim that germany offered no threat to Britin andthat the Nazis would interfere with Britain not one jot IF they were victorious in their war with the USSR.
This is fantasy.
Pure fantasy.

The nature of Nazism was predatory.

Perhaps Britain wouldn't ever be invaded but there'd be no reason to. If Britons today fear the creeping influence of the German-French run EU, what would they feel about a Nazi Europe on their doorstep?

BTW, President Rooseveldt also declared pushed for war with Germany (and accepted a Germany first policy when it was actually Japan that was attacking the USA) out of self preservation.
He knew that a victorious Germany was a threat to the USA - far more than Japan.

In short not only were the nazis evil to the core, they possesed a direct threat to the world and simply HAD to be stopped. As Churchill put it "if need be blasted from the face of the Earth".
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