Britain's Declaration of War?

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Lord Gort
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Post by Lord Gort » 15 Jul 2004 23:55

The British Empries greatest extent came AFTER the first world war.


The White dominions gained independence with the statute of Westminster in 1936 I think.


In my opinion the invasion fo Britain was only seriously contemplated by planners. In truth Hitler had turned to the idea of invading the Soviet Union well before the height of the Battle of Britain.


I'll quote a post I made in a thread on the battle of Britain on May 10th last year......



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Although in the event it was the Luftwaffe's failure to achieve a breakthrough which foiled the invasion plans, it was not just the RAF which saved Britain. If there had been no British army, the Germans could have afforded for a much smaller invasion force than the 13 divisions envisaged in first 3 days. Above all it was the weakness of the German navy - weak in 1939, crippled after the Norweigian campaign, which made from the beggining the full scale invasion plan a non-starter. And the very need for air superiority, upon which the modified plan depended, arose from the dominance of the British Navy, the original Sea Lion plan had to be modified until it was a mere appendage of the air war. Just as Napoleon's invasion from Boulogne was made impossible by the battles of Aboukir, Cpoenhagen, and Trafalgar, so Sea Lion foundered, along with half of Germany's destroyers, in the actions at Narvik and Trondheim.




regards,

CoffeeCake
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Post by CoffeeCake » 16 Jul 2004 00:00

After the FWW, the British Empire's funds were severly drained. They may have had the territory to claim the title, but the administration costs made it not so worthwhile. After all, Hitler did mention in Mein Kampf that oversea colonies are a waste, but did admire Britain's empire.

Hitler's ideology of Lebensraum revolved around the idea of getting land from the Soviet Union, so it wouldn't be surprising if he was planning it during the BoB.

CoffeeCake
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Post by CoffeeCake » 16 Jul 2004 00:03

After the FWW, the British Empire's funds were severly drained. They may have had the territory to claim the title, but the administration costs made it not so worthwhile. After all, Hitler did mention in Mein Kampf that oversea colonies are a waste, but did admire Britain's empire.

Hitler's ideology of Lebensraum revolved around the idea of getting land from the Soviet Union, so it wouldn't be surprising if he was planning it during the BoB.

CoffeeCake
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Post by CoffeeCake » 16 Jul 2004 00:03

After the FWW, the British Empire's funds were severly drained. They may have had the territory to claim the title, but the administration costs made it not so worthwhile. After all, Hitler did mention in Mein Kampf that oversea colonies are a waste, but did admire Britain's empire.

Hitler's ideology of Lebensraum revolved around the idea of getting land from the Soviet Union, so it wouldn't be surprising if he was planning it during the BoB.

CoffeeCake
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Post by CoffeeCake » 16 Jul 2004 00:04

After the FWW, the British Empire's funds were severly drained. They may have had the territory to claim the title, but the administration costs made it not so worthwhile. After all, Hitler did mention in Mein Kampf that oversea colonies are a waste, but did admire Britain's empire.

Hitler's ideology of Lebensraum revolved around the idea of getting land from the Soviet Union, so it wouldn't be surprising if he was planning it during the BoB.

Globalization41
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Operation Sea Lion

Post by Globalization41 » 16 Jul 2004 04:34

Had Hitler been predisposed to take out
Britain militarily, Sea Lion would have been
launched by late 1940. Mass Stuka
formations would have covered German
troop-carrying barges. The British Navy
would have inflicted heavy losses on German
troop ships while Stukas would have
wreaked havoc on British warships. R.A.F.
fighters would have swarmed the vulnerable
Stukas and strafed the troop barges like
sitting ducks. But German fighter aircraft
with short missions off the French coast
would have provided cover for the Stukas
and barges. Given the all-or-nothing nature
of Sea Lion,
German U-boats and British
subs would have added to the carnage.
After establishing a foothold, which would
have encountered heavy and fanatical
resistance on the British homeland,
the
Germans would have begun expanding
outward while taking advantage of their
superior military training. The winter of
1940/41 and cross-channel supply
requirements would have slowed the
Germans down. It might have taken well into
the summer of 1941 to subdue Britain, which
would have postponed Hitler's crusade
against bolshevism.

[url=http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?p=411535//url#411535]British Fleet Suffers Heavy
Losses from Mass Stuka
Attacks in Battle of Crete
[/url]

Globalization41


tonyh
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Post by tonyh » 16 Jul 2004 09:51

The Battle of Britain was a non-starter from the very beginning. Hitler wasn't even interested in it and no one took it seriously, it would have been a slaughter. The idea of the threat of invasion and of mass bombing was to try and force Britain into a peace deal, after Britain had refused a general peace conference proposed by Hitler early in 1940, and effectively knock her out of the war so Hitler could return to his attention to the East.

The reasons for this are clear.

1. The Wehrmacht was first and foremost a land army. It wasn't designed for large water crossings or to take and hold beach heads in enemy territory. Likewise, the Luftwaffe was designed to support that land army. It wasn't a strategic force, it was a tactical force used to fly missions of relatively short duration and not far from German lines.

2. The barges that where shipped to the Pas de Calais were practically useless for crossing the Channel, even in good weather and in order to get enough troops onto British shores for an effective beach head, they would probably have to be overloaded and therefore subject to capsizing.

3. The Royal Navy. Simply put, the German's had nothing to combat the British at sea. The crossing Barges would have been slaughtered before they got near the English coast. Also U-boats would be next to useless in the English Channel. Its not deep enough for effective diving. An lining up attacks on single fast moving destroyers (the ships that he RN would use to attack the German barges) is a far different prospect to attacking a convoy in the middle of the Atlantic.

4. The Luftwaffe, while trumpeted as a large force, was simply not large enough to take and hold the skies. People think that 2.500 aircraft is a lot, but more was needed to contest the area effectively. And anti-shipping ops by the Luftwaffe, or any other Nation, is always a hit'n'miss affair, pardon the pun. But, effectively knocking out a sufficient number of threatening ships that the RN could muster to combat the invasion barges, would have been extremely difficult.

5. The Battle of Britain and the Western campaign as a whole was an interuption in Hitler's plans for his invasion of Russia. There were NO plans to attack the West until Chamberlain declared war and forced Hitler to reverse his view to the West as opposed to the East. Likewise, Sealion was nothing but a collection of maybes. There was absolutely nothing solid in it.

6. By August, Hitler had already come to the conclusion that the half hearted "Sealion" wasn't going to be good enough and fully resorted to "plan B", as it were, and stepped up the air campaign against England. He gambled on the British threat being neutralised by early 1941. This was nesscessary as he'd planned his showdown with Russia for the Spring. But Hitler even had his doubts about this being effective too.

7. To take and hold Britain would have been wholely contrary to Hitler's plans. It would have been too long in the doing and far, far too costly. Also it would leave the Eastern flank wide open to a Russian invasion, which Hitler believed was a certainty within a year or so. A war in Britain could take Months or even years to complete and in Hitler's mind it would invite Stalin to have a go.



The best Hitler could hope for in this situation was for Britain to "come to her senses" and accept his peace offer and withdraw from the war. With them out of the way and the threat removed from his rear, Hitler would be free to concentrate fully on Russia. However, Churchill, was well aware of the difficulties of a cross channel invasion of Britain and that Hitler was bluffing. But he played up the threat anyway as it would serve to galvanise the British public for war.

"I am not saying that Hitler won't come. But he won't come by Sealion" are the words Churchill uttered in early September 1940. The Battle of britain hadn't even reached it's nadir yet.

Tony

Globalization41
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Not Taking Out Britain

Post by Globalization41 » 16 Jul 2004 11:11

The worse case scenario for Hitler's not
taking out Britain meant that German-British
points of contacts involved tens of thousands
of troops at most. To Hitler, this was nothing
more than a minor nuisance compared to the
millions who would be in action on the
Eastern Front.

Globalization41

Dr Mick
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Post by Dr Mick » 16 Jul 2004 12:29

Sealion, if attempted, would have been a disaster for the Germans. For a start where would they have landed? The shortest crossing is between the Pas de Calais and Dover. Are the Germans going to scale sheer 80-100 foot cliffs under fire? I doubt it. Further west along the south coast you have the peeble beaches in the Brighton-Eastbourne area, not good for vehicles to knock out pill boxes etc. There were also plans to flood the channel with petrol in this area and set it ablaze if any invasion force was approaching. Nasty. Any further west and you'd be next to the naval bases at Portsmouth and Southampton AND the channel is alot wider leaving more time for detection and interception, East Anglia is a similar story.

Any German invasion force would be decimated. And after that if any did get through they've then got to engage a British Army defending home soil. You've also got the Home Guard, forget the TV series, a body of men aged 35-55 many of them with combat experience in WW1.

Globalization41
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Jumping the Atlantic

Post by Globalization41 » 16 Jul 2004 18:03

With the Germans unable to jump the
short distance across Channel to Britain,
Roosevelt revealed that the Nazis planned
to take over South America as a stepping
stone to the U.S. Apparently, the Germans
were going to cross the Med., proceed to
western most Africa, leap across the Atlantic
to South America, and turn north toward
Central America and Mexico where they
could threaten the U.S.

Roosevelt's Secret Map Speech

[url=http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?p=128456//url#128456]F.D.R. Calls for United Effort
to Crush Hitler's Violent Attempt
to Rule the World
[/url]

Globalization41

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Topspeed
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Post by Topspeed » 16 Jul 2004 18:34

CoffeeCake wrote: After all, Hitler did mention in Mein Kampf that oversea colonies are a waste, but did admire Britain's empire.

Hitler's ideology of Lebensraum revolved around the idea of getting land from the Soviet Union, so it wouldn't be surprising if he was planning it during the BoB.


So are you saying Adolf wanted to put englishmen on camps in Ireland and populating British Isles with blue eyed aryans from Germany ?

Would the first statement make the FDR statements futile ?

Juke T

CoffeeCake
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Post by CoffeeCake » 16 Jul 2004 18:41

Topspeed wrote:
CoffeeCake wrote: After all, Hitler did mention in Mein Kampf that oversea colonies are a waste, but did admire Britain's empire.

Hitler's ideology of Lebensraum revolved around the idea of getting land from the Soviet Union, so it wouldn't be surprising if he was planning it during the BoB.


So are you saying Adolf wanted to put englishmen on camps in Ireland and populating British Isles with blue eyed aryans from Germany ?

Would the first statement make the FDR statements futile ?

Juke T


Bleh, I worded my statement wrong.

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Hoolaman
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Post by Hoolaman » 18 Jul 2004 14:24

Polynikes wrote: So Hoolaman, for the benfit of Tony, Britain didn't actually order Australia to go to war with Germany then?


No, nobody forced anybody. At the time it was "Britain is at war so Australia is also at war". Australia was so closely tied to Britain it was just assumed that any state of war that existed in Britain should exist here too.

Although Australia was pretty much a british nation, I don't see how the production of Australia should be added to Britain's in a comparison with Germany. While extremely favourable trading terms may have existed, it was still trade between two nations.

On a related subject, if I recall, Canada delayed its declaration of war for a while mainly in order to recieve war materiel from the US while it was still legal, not so much because a declaration of war was in doubt.

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Post by Polynikes » 18 Jul 2004 15:25

Andreas

Depends entirely on the weather. A while back some (obviously mad) chap took an English canal barge (30ft or thereabouts, called narrowboat) round Wales.

Yes I would agree that in perfect conditions (and a bit of preparation), you COULD sail or tow a riverbarge across the English Channel.

However if you loaded it with equipment and men, it's chances of making it would suffer...lastly (and I didn't spell it out) a sea going ship (such as a British cruiser or battleship) could sink the lot just by steaming past them and swamping them with its wake.

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Post by Polynikes » 18 Jul 2004 16:16

tonyh

.....a happy collection of equal partners may be somewhat valid in the case of the "white Colonies", the same cannot be said for the others ......the bottom line is that Britain viewed itself as the senior body and not some equal partner.


Oh absolutely right on both counts. Though the writing was on the wall for the colonies, they were British owned completely and anything there (in terms of productio and natual resources) can be regarded as "British" - though at the end of a vulnerable sea lane. There just wasn't much industrial production.
Britain did and probably still does regard itself as somewhat superior to te dominions (though in truth this view is somewhat more popular in the dominions themselves than in Britain).

....the Dominions were "part of" the BRITISH Commonwealth.


As indeed they still are.
The Queen is still head of state for Australia, NZ & Canada (though not I suspect for too much longer). Then and now, the residency of the head of state was hardly important in real politics.

Meaningless to whom?


Meaningless in terms of whether Australian steel production or Canadian automotive production (much of it US owned BTW) could in any way be regarded as being OWNED by the British crown and subject to siezure and subsequent use by HMG.

You'll have to be clearer on where I have contradicted myself.


OK. If the British people automatically assumed that the dominions were British, why would papers (such as the London Daily Mail) make such a big issue that "The Empire Is With Us".
There was no "Ulster is with us" or "Cornwall is with us" or "Scotland is with us".

Your point about fighter (and tank and machine gun) production is an important one (though perhaps not for this thread). German industry wasn't fully mobilised until 1944 - as it expected a short war.
Britain went swiftly to a war economy to maximise output - by 1944 this was actually falling as exhaustion set in.

Again, tank production in Canada for example is not counted in any British wartime production figure.

.....during the 20's and 30's the Empire was alive and well although weaker than before WWI, with the "white colonies" gaining more independence, but after WWII the Empire was a dead duck as it was always destined to be of course (all empires fall), the seond war just wuicken things up. But we actually do agree somwwhat with the reality of the "British Empire" and the perception.


The British empire was still in operation between the wars...as it was after WWII. Throughtout the 1950's for example the Malayan emergency was being fought.
Many former colonies waited until the 1960's for independence as they weren't ready for it earlier (some might claim that they were never ready for it).

That's not the point - the point is that the end was in sight after WWI. That India was going to get home rule was as certain as that Ireland was.
The afteermath of WWII did indeed speed up the process somewhat and had WWII not happened, then the lcolonies (not counting Hong Kong, Gibraltar, Falklands etc) would probably have remained under British administration for 10-20 years or so.

Before WWI, then the end of empire was just not thought of - as inconceivavle as in 1814.

.... enjoyed the balance of power in Europe. The very fact that she stepped into European affairs regarding the Anschluss and the Czech situation and also had the attitude to "Demand" that Germany pull her troops out of another European Country displays this clearly.


Like any great power Britain enjoyed power and exercised when it thought right - this was no different to any other country BUT the motivaton wasn't to rule Europe but to ensure safety from it.
BTW, when talking about Britain making "demands" you need to reflect that in any fighting that may ensue, it was France not Britain that was always going to have to do the lion's share.

So British "demands" without France support were meaningless...so perhaps you should change your "British demands" to "Anglo-French demands".

1. When war started Germany's U-boat fleet consisted mainly of coastal boats type I's, type II's etc and a couple of type VII ocean going vessel's. So your "what were those U-Boats for?" doesn't actually make sense. The coastal boats were no threat to Britain at all and germany was forced by the Western allies to restrict its Navy to such measures because of the limits to her Naval power dictated in Versailles. A submarine fleet was not by German design.


Not so, German development of U-boats didn't start after September 1939.
And the Versaille treaty wasn't exactly adhered to was it: bombers, tanks, battleship sizes, sub-machine guns, army size etc etc.

2. Germany's support of Franco may have been a threat to the Monarchy in Spain, but it certainly was no threat to Britain in any way. Who Hitler repeatedly said he did NOT want to bother with. Again your seeing things in a way that YOU want to see them and not the reality of the situation.


Oh please!
In that case Communist takeover of South Vietnam or South Korea wasn't any threat to the USA.

Why was the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan so strongly opposed?

Sorry but you are just in denial here. Of course a fascist takeover was a threat to Britain because it could've been another step to a fascist Europe.

3. Your third point I don't get. I haven't said anything other than that the primary British foreign policy toward Germany since 1870 was one of containment. Britain declared war on Germany to maintain her balance of power on the Continent. I don't see the problem you have with this.


Semantics probably.
Maintain THE balance of power not HER balance of power.

You seem to suggest that Britain wanted to be THE deciding factor - the biggest guy on the block.
Not so. Britain wanted stability and peace in Europe - Britain wasn't as powerful as Germany or France militarily and didn't want to be.

....You clearly mention Britain fighting a "war of liberation".


.....I don't know where you get the 'You (as in me) clearly mention Britain fighting a "war of liberation".' from.


You're denial here is stunning.

I am at a loss to explain it further.

Perhaps it makes to someone else?

....but also German forces in the East will not "double" in size if a Western War is not declared, they simply gain the 20% of the forces they are forced to leave behind to guard her rear.


Are you aware of the proportion of German forces committed to Poland even with the Anglo-French armies mobilising?

It's reckoned that Germany was wide open for invasion. No, Germany would move almost its entire forces (save those resting/refitting and training) tot he East...especially if things weren't going well.

The increase in resourses in the East would be a LOT more than 20%.

No. I'll think 20th Century warfare. The Genghis Khan route won't work.


It wouldn't be warfare Tony - 20th century or otherwise.
It would be brutal repression.

Don't kid yourself about this.

The people would not resist the SS - those that did would swiftly end up dead and there'd be more than a few collaborators to make life easier.

1.Britain and her Empire would produce more than Germany.


They in reality didn't.

2.Britain declared war on Germany to preserve her status in the balance of power in European affairs.


THE not HER.

3.Hitler had no designs of expansion to the West, until after the British and France declared war on Germany and then it was out of nesscessity rather than design.


Simply not true and sounding like an apology for Nazism.

4.Germany could not win a complete victory over Russia.


Not true, it was very possible.

....by the way, Hoolaman's rendition of how Australia existed within the British Empire coincides more or less with my own view on the matter.


Well now that you've changed your mind on the matter, it seems to be a lot closer. :D

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