Germany's war aims

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ML59
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Germany's war aims

Post by ML59 » 03 Nov 2014 07:37

Which were Germany's war aims? I mean, what Hitler and the Nazi leadereship intended to achieve in attacking Soviet Union?
Of course I have my answers but I've been prompted to ask this question after reading the first chapters of the interesting book "Hitler's wave-breaker strategy" where, to my surprise, the suthor indulges a lot about the so-called mistakes made by Hitler in the campaign's plannig and management.
To my opinion, those mistakes, admitting they were mistakes, are quite irrilevant to the final outcome because what was profoundly mistaken and, essentially, unachieavable, were the real final goals of Barbarossa.

What you think?

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Re: Germany's war aims

Post by steverodgers801 » 04 Nov 2014 14:57

Living room and resources. Germany needed room for its population and resources for growth, both of which were available in western Russia, add in the destruction of Jewish/communist influence and you have Hitlers war aims. The most fundamental mistake in planning Barbarossa was the idea the Soviets would simply collapse and were not capable of resisting German might.

ML59
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Re: Germany's war aims

Post by ML59 » 05 Nov 2014 07:52

I totally agree, even if such a complex topic deserves a bit more of intellectual work and arguments. Your (short) sentence is a very coincise but quite accurate statement, according to me.

Graeme Sydney
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Re: Germany's war aims

Post by Graeme Sydney » 05 Nov 2014 16:19

I have asked the question before thinking there might be some formal OKH or such plan or Military Appreciation. Nothing has been pointed out to me.

The 'next best' would be Mein Kampf. In Mein Kampf Hitler seems to list as War Aims 1/ removal of the stain and limitations of the TofV, 2/the restoration of pre WW1 boarders, 3/ uniting all Germans in the one Reich and 4/ establishing Lebensraum (Living Space (Room)).

While extermination of the Jews was a Nazi policy I don't think it was a War Aim as such - a pedantic difference maybe.

ML59
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Re: Germany's war aims

Post by ML59 » 06 Nov 2014 12:04

Hi Graeme,

one of the war aims that Hitler sold to his Generals in 1940 was that it was necessary to defeat Soviet Union in order to deprive UK of a potential ally and force it to come to terms with victorious Germany. Actually many historians believe this quite distorted logic was only an excuse to convince his generals that were not enthusiastic about the prospect of a two fronts war, especially when there were big arguments in the OKW about the Mediterranean and Eastern strategies. Kriegsmarine and some Heer generals favoured a push in the Mediterranean Sea as the best options to defeat UK, others were not convinced at all. In the end, it was realized that the naval resources and oil necessary to move millions of trops and many thousand of tons of equipment from continental Europe to North Africa and Middle east were simply not available.

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Re: Germany's war aims

Post by ljadw » 06 Nov 2014 12:33

The German war aims were different following the periods of the war : in september 1939 the war aim was to defeat Poland and conquer the part of Poland that was aggreed with the SU .In may 1940,the war aim was to defeat France and Britain and to force them to give up .In june 1941,it was to defeat the SU and to occupuy the part of the SU west of the AA line .

Etc....

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Re: Germany's war aims

Post by Graeme Sydney » 06 Nov 2014 14:00

ML59 wrote:Hi Graeme,

one of the war aims that Hitler sold to his Generals in 1940 was that it was necessary to defeat Soviet Union in order to deprive UK of a potential ally and force it to come to terms with victorious Germany. Actually many historians believe this quite distorted logic was only an excuse to convince his generals that were not enthusiastic about the prospect of a two fronts war,......... .
I don't think that is evidence of early planning, clear thinking, formal/professional Military Appreciation and resulting War Aims but rather a 'make it up as you go along' justification - and indeed distorted logic.

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Re: Germany's war aims

Post by Graeme Sydney » 06 Nov 2014 14:03

ljadw wrote:The German war aims were different following the periods of the war : in september 1939 the war aim was to defeat Poland and conquer the part of Poland that was aggreed with the SU .In may 1940,the war aim was to defeat France and Britain and to force them to give up .In june 1941,it was to defeat the SU and to occupuy the part of the SU west of the AA line .

Etc....
These would be a series of Strategic/Operational Aims for the various campaigns rather than an overall Geo-political/Strategic German War Aims.

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Re: Germany's war aims

Post by ML59 » 06 Nov 2014 23:21

I agree that extermination of Jews was not a war aim but, on the contrary, became possible because of the war. And main war aims were what you listed:
1)Germany's rearmament and abolition of other Versailles constrains
2)restoring pre-WW I borders (and prestige)
3)reunification of all German speaking peoples
4)conquering ample colonial-like territories in the East (Lebensraum), what Hitler called "our India"
5)to replace Great Britain as a major world power

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Re: Germany's war aims

Post by ML59 » 06 Nov 2014 23:27

To better clarify my question, being it posted in the Eastern Europe section, I meant which were Germany's war aims for the campaign in the east, what was called Operation Barbarossa.
Planning for it started in July 1940 and, at the beginning, Hitler believed it was possible to launch the attack within 6 weeks. Very sound practical reasons quickly convinced him that it was an impossible target, so a new time limit was set for May 1941. But evything was already in motion since the end of campaign in Western Europe.

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Re: Germany's war aims

Post by LKofEnglish » 11 Aug 2016 02:10

We really don't know as Historians the answer to this. There is no logical "aim" in engaging in a War of Annihilation nor do I think was that that "German Plan." It is interesting to note that Adolf Hitler had to give express orders to his military Commanders to stop destroying entire Cities in 1942...orders that were not followed.

The only logical aim of the German pre-emptive strike against Soviet Russia was get the Red Army...which was out in the open and on the German Frontier...back to a"safer place."

The initial results were spectacular so it's hard to fathom why the German Wehrmacht kept going.

But indeed they did.

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Re: Germany's war aims

Post by Max Payload » 11 Aug 2016 13:52

LKofEnglish wrote:There is no logical "aim" in engaging in a War of Annihilation nor do I think was that that "German Plan. ... The only logical aim of the German pre-emptive strike against Soviet Russia was get the Red Army.....back to a"safer place."
There is an admittedly perverse but nonetheless logical 'aim' to a war of annihilation; it is to eliminate a potential adversary (and in Hitler's fevered imagination an international Jewish/Bolshevik conspiracy) once and for all. Whether or not Operation Barbarossa was a preemptive strike has been extensively debated in another thread - I for one would not describe it as such. Rather it was an operation to destroy the Soviet Union as a political entity and to create a largely autarkic Greater Reich in which large tracts of Eastern Europe could be settled by new Aryan communities. Those were essentially the war aims in the East by the spring of 1941, in consequence of which those members of the indigenous population in the occupied regions that were not immediately required to meet those aims, were to be eliminated (killed or left to starve - Backe's so-called Hunger Plan was approved by Hitler in February 1941).
LKofEnglish wrote:The initial results were spectacular so it's hard to fathom why the German Wehrmacht kept going.
It kept going because until the end of November 1941 Germany's war aims were thought to be achievable, and for the four or five months thereafter it was riding a tiger and there was no way to get off. During the summer and autumn of 1942, with Moscow never seriously threatened, Stalin would have been disinclined to accept any 'reasonable' peace offer, even if Hitler could have been persuaded to make one; and after Stalingrad the stark choice for the Wehrmacht was 'victory or death'.

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Re: Germany's war aims

Post by Guaporense » 11 Aug 2016 21:17

Didn't Stalin offer peace terms in early 1943?
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: Germany's war aims

Post by Boby » 11 Aug 2016 22:48

There is no hard evidence of any such "Hunger plan".

As for war aims, we have to distinguish between short/medium/long term goals.

Short term was a strategical neccesity to Force the UK to give up.

Medium was no destroy the SU as a potential enemy.

Long was indeed ideological: to create an aryan "Garden of Eden" in the East and integrate the Soviet Economy in the European "Grossraumwirtschaft".

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Re: Germany's war aims

Post by Marcus » 13 Aug 2016 16:18

Several posts discussing Herbert Backe's Hunger Plan were split off into a new thread.

/Marcus

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