where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Discussions on High Command, strategy and the Armed Forces (Wehrmacht) in general.
MarkN
Member
Posts: 2473
Joined: 12 Jan 2015 13:34
Location: On the continent

Re: where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Post by MarkN » 04 Mar 2019 19:06

Cult Icon wrote:
27 Feb 2019 16:43
MarkN wrote:
27 Feb 2019 12:22
Senior Heer officers blaming a dead man who couldn't answer back for their own strategic incompetence and tactical failures.
eh...Be more specific, which ones? Generals are mostly of the operational level rather than strategic.

Guderian and Manstein come to mind from their memoirs.
Every Heer general that, in their post war interviews and published memoirs, influenced English language histography into blaming Hitler for failure: where failure may have been tactical or strategic.

Peter89
Member
Posts: 245
Joined: 28 Aug 2018 05:52
Location: Hungary

Re: where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Post by Peter89 » 04 Mar 2019 19:32

Duncan_M wrote:
04 Mar 2019 18:53
Cult Icon wrote:
04 Mar 2019 18:32
That's kind of a blanket statement..

This is not original- IIRC a recent work on Barbarossa (I am thinking of Stahel's multi-volume on 1941 here) claim this narrative but they fail to name " all the generals" and what exactly their issues were and what they actually advocated postwar. Was it 3 generals? (Halder appears, then Guderian and Manstein..) 6 generals? Was it 15? Was it 50? It makes a nice polemical tale though.

while we're at it, I would nominate Rundstedt for getting fired for being defeatist in Normandy.
The postwar narrative was that Germany lost because of numbers and that Hitler had not listening to the advice of his professional generals. That itself was a blanket statement and nonetheless was the basis of history up until a few years ago when modern histories are rightfully tearing that narrative to pieces using actual historical sources that weren't postwar memoirs and interviews written by a select number of dubious ex generals trying to save their reputations and preserve their ego.
In fact Axis lost because of numbers...

Peter89
Member
Posts: 245
Joined: 28 Aug 2018 05:52
Location: Hungary

Re: where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Post by Peter89 » 04 Mar 2019 19:38

Duncan_M wrote:
04 Mar 2019 18:53
Cult Icon wrote:
04 Mar 2019 18:32
That's kind of a blanket statement..

This is not original- IIRC a recent work on Barbarossa (I am thinking of Stahel's multi-volume on 1941 here) claim this narrative but they fail to name " all the generals" and what exactly their issues were and what they actually advocated postwar. Was it 3 generals? (Halder appears, then Guderian and Manstein..) 6 generals? Was it 15? Was it 50? It makes a nice polemical tale though.

while we're at it, I would nominate Rundstedt for getting fired for being defeatist in Normandy.
The postwar narrative was that Germany lost because of numbers and that Hitler had not listening to the advice of his professional generals. That itself was a blanket statement and nonetheless was the basis of history up until a few years ago when modern histories are rightfully tearing that narrative to pieces using actual historical sources that weren't postwar memoirs and interviews written by a select number of dubious ex generals trying to save their reputations and preserve their ego.
I myself never read a book that claimed Axis could have won. Some battles' outcomes might have been different, but with US on their enemy list and with nazi ideology - the Axis could have never won.

Duncan_M
Member
Posts: 161
Joined: 11 Oct 2018 15:07
Location: USA

Re: where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Post by Duncan_M » 04 Mar 2019 19:44

Peter89 wrote:
04 Mar 2019 19:38
I myself never read a book that claimed Axis could have won. Some battles' outcomes might have been different, but with US on their enemy list and with nazi ideology - the Axis could have never won.
No, the books claimed that they didn't win. Because 1) Numbers 2) Hitler.

Worse than the books themselves was the narrative they ended up promoting especially in pop culture media, "history" magazines, documentaries, various secondary source books about the generalities of the Wehrmacht, and of course, the internet, where it was even worse.

Sid Guttridge
Member
Posts: 6674
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 05 Mar 2019 08:06

Hi Guys,

Germany was a very big and very developed country in European terms. It had almost the same population as the metropolitan UK and France combined.

It is noticeable that as long as each of its European enemies was half its size or less, Germany was winning. But as soon as it ran into a European country with a larger population - the USSR, things began to go wrong. And once the Anglo-Saxon powers, especially the USA, began to develop their power, it was beaten.

Hitler's geopolitical instincts, in strengthening his German core base up to March 1938, and picking off his smaller neighbours one by one in the early 1940s, were sounder than those of most of his generals. However, from late 1941, once he had run into large, determined opposition, his generals would perhaps have been better left to direct combat operations, as operational and tactical matters were their areas of talent, not his.

Cheers,

Sid.

User avatar
AbollonPolweder
Member
Posts: 196
Joined: 09 Jan 2017 20:54
Location: Russia

Re: where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Post by AbollonPolweder » 05 Mar 2019 11:48

Duncan_M wrote:
04 Mar 2019 16:50
Paul Lakowski wrote:
02 Mar 2019 20:40
C-IN-C was an actual position that Groner established in the late 1920s , and Von Blomberg was first to hold . The position was Apolitical- so Hitler was never C-IN-C just by being head of government.
... Von Blomberg was first to hold position of C-in-C of Wehremacht because it didn't exist previously, it was called the Reichswehr. Blomberg was a political appointee as well. Its a cabinet position, not bureaucratic, not military. Its meant for someone chosen by the leader of the nation to perform, as a way of delegating military matters to a subordinate in the same way a foreign minister, who handles diplomacy, is a delegated task. But just because the position exists doesn't mean the actual national leader doesn't have a say or can't just remove the position if he sees it doesn't serve any point. ...
Gentlemen! Neither the Minister of Defense nor even the Chancellor could be the commanders of the Reich armed forces. See article number 47 of the Constitution of the Weimar Republic:
Artikel 47
Der Reichspräsident hat den Oberbefehl über die gesamte Wehrmacht des Reichs.
Only the president could be!
What do you mean - C-in-C? Maybe this is something different than the Сommander in Сhief of the armed forces?
https://sites.google.com/site/krieg1941undnarod/
Better to lose with a clever than with a fool to find

Duncan_M
Member
Posts: 161
Joined: 11 Oct 2018 15:07
Location: USA

Re: where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Post by Duncan_M » 05 Mar 2019 17:25

AbollonPolweder wrote:
05 Mar 2019 11:48
Duncan_M wrote:
04 Mar 2019 16:50
Paul Lakowski wrote:
02 Mar 2019 20:40
C-IN-C was an actual position that Groner established in the late 1920s , and Von Blomberg was first to hold . The position was Apolitical- so Hitler was never C-IN-C just by being head of government.
... Von Blomberg was first to hold position of C-in-C of Wehremacht because it didn't exist previously, it was called the Reichswehr. Blomberg was a political appointee as well. Its a cabinet position, not bureaucratic, not military. Its meant for someone chosen by the leader of the nation to perform, as a way of delegating military matters to a subordinate in the same way a foreign minister, who handles diplomacy, is a delegated task. But just because the position exists doesn't mean the actual national leader doesn't have a say or can't just remove the position if he sees it doesn't serve any point. ...
Gentlemen! Neither the Minister of Defense nor even the Chancellor could be the commanders of the Reich armed forces. See article number 47 of the Constitution of the Weimar Republic:
Artikel 47
Der Reichspräsident hat den Oberbefehl über die gesamte Wehrmacht des Reichs.
Only the president could be!
What do you mean - C-in-C? Maybe this is something different than the Сommander in Сhief of the armed forces?
Does that article still apply in 1938?

User avatar
AbollonPolweder
Member
Posts: 196
Joined: 09 Jan 2017 20:54
Location: Russia

Re: where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Post by AbollonPolweder » 05 Mar 2019 18:09

Duncan_M wrote:
05 Mar 2019 17:25
...
Does that article still apply in 1938?
To answer your question, you need to know how Hitler, being chancellor, received the authority of the president, and with them the authority of C-in-C. Legal or illegal? I do not know the answer. But I know that after 1933 and up to the death of Hitler, in the 3rd Reich there were only two C-in-Cs: Hindenburg and Hitler. Blomberg was not C-in-C.
https://sites.google.com/site/krieg1941undnarod/
Better to lose with a clever than with a fool to find

Duncan_M
Member
Posts: 161
Joined: 11 Oct 2018 15:07
Location: USA

Re: where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Post by Duncan_M » 05 Mar 2019 18:26

AbollonPolweder wrote:
05 Mar 2019 18:09

To answer your question, you need to know how Hitler, being chancellor, received the authority of the president, and with them the authority of C-in-C. Legal or illegal? I do not know the answer. But I know that after 1933 and up to the death of Hitler, in the 3rd Reich there were only two C-in-Cs: Hindenburg and Hitler. Blomberg was not C-in-C.
Blomberg's official position was titled "Oberbefehlshaber der Wehrmacht" which is C-in-C of the Armed Services. In '38 Hitler removed him from that position without replacing him, created the OKW with a Chief of Staff (Keitel), and appointed himself Oberster Befehlshaber der Wehrmacht/ Supreme Commander of the Armed Services. By doing so, Hitler removed military leaders who had dubious loyalties to him and the Nazis and solidified his own control over the Wehrmacht, more so than simply as Fuhrer.

And Third Reich was a Nazi designation, not something used by Hindenburg. The wehrmacht didn't exist when Hindenburg was involved in govt. He was dead in '34, the Wehrmacht was created in March '35.

And no, the Weimar Republic article regarding the Reichswehr did not still apply in '38.

ljadw
Member
Posts: 9788
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Post by ljadw » 06 Mar 2019 07:03

Duncan_M wrote:
05 Mar 2019 18:26
AbollonPolweder wrote:
05 Mar 2019 18:09

To answer your question, you need to know how Hitler, being chancellor, received the authority of the president, and with them the authority of C-in-C. Legal or illegal? I do not know the answer. But I know that after 1933 and up to the death of Hitler, in the 3rd Reich there were only two C-in-Cs: Hindenburg and Hitler. Blomberg was not C-in-C.
Blomberg's official position was titled "Oberbefehlshaber der Wehrmacht" which is C-in-C of the Armed Services. In '38 Hitler removed him from that position without replacing him, created the OKW with a Chief of Staff (Keitel), and appointed himself Oberster Befehlshaber der Wehrmacht/ Supreme Commander of the Armed Services. By doing so, Hitler removed military leaders who had dubious loyalties to him and the Nazis and solidified his own control over the Wehrmacht, more so than simply as Fuhrer.

And Third Reich was a Nazi designation, not something used by Hindenburg. The wehrmacht didn't exist when Hindenburg was involved in govt. He was dead in '34, the Wehrmacht was created in March '35.

And no, the Weimar Republic article regarding the Reichswehr did not still apply in '38.
Oberbefehlshaber der Wehrmacht was NOT the official position of Blomberg, but his official title : both his titles (Reichskriegsminister and OdW) did not give him authority over the several parts of the WM ,over the Army,over the LW,over the KM . He had even no WM staff,because Räder, Göring and Fritsch opposed the creation of a WM staff, such a stall existed nowhere .
Essentially, Blomberg was minister of war with very limited administrative authority .
In 1938 Hitler himself became minister of war and commander in chief because there was no general who could succeed von Blomberg, as there was no army commander ( Fritsch also was out ) , but of course,he could not have the title of minister of war and the department of war changed its name, but,everything remained as it was and Keitel became minister of war ,without the title . And, there was still no WM staff.

User avatar
AbollonPolweder
Member
Posts: 196
Joined: 09 Jan 2017 20:54
Location: Russia

Re: where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Post by AbollonPolweder » 06 Mar 2019 12:22

Duncan_M wrote:
05 Mar 2019 18:26

Blomberg's official position was titled "Oberbefehlshaber der Wehrmacht" which is C-in-C of the Armed Services. In '38 Hitler removed him from that position without replacing him, created the OKW with a Chief of Staff (Keitel), and appointed himself Oberster Befehlshaber der Wehrmacht/ Supreme Commander of the Armed Services. By doing so, Hitler removed military leaders who had dubious loyalties to him and the Nazis and solidified his own control over the Wehrmacht, more so than simply as Fuhrer.

And Third Reich was a Nazi designation, not something used by Hindenburg. The wehrmacht didn't exist when Hindenburg was involved in govt. He was dead in '34, the Wehrmacht was created in March '35.

And no, the Weimar Republic article regarding the Reichswehr did not still apply in '38.
1. Could you give a proof concerning Blomberg's "official position"?
2. About Third Reich:
So verkündete Adolf Hitler am 1. September 1933 offiziell, dass der von ihm geführte Staat ein „Drittes Reich“ sei, das „tausend Jahre“ dauern werde
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drittes_Reich
Hidenburg died at 2. August 1934. So simple arithmetic allows us to conclude that the Hindenburg was the C-in-C of the Wehrmacht of the 3rd Reich for almost a year. Right?
3. Look again at the art. 47! Where is thre a word "Reichswehr"?
https://sites.google.com/site/krieg1941undnarod/
Better to lose with a clever than with a fool to find

User avatar
doogal
Member
Posts: 652
Joined: 06 Aug 2007 11:37
Location: scotland

Re: where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Post by doogal » 07 Mar 2019 20:54

It is worth noting that Mansteins objection of Hitlers direction were based on the lack of a dedicated C in C east. And that Hitler was unable to properly control and direct multiple theatres of conflict due to a tremendous workload.
He disliked Hitler meddling in operational level control but conceded that Germanys overall strategy could only be controlled by a central organising figure. But that individual could not command at both levels.
Halders objections were again different.
Guderians were operational, as we're Rommels.
Von Kleist objections were similar to von Bocks Lists von Leebs and von Runsteds that they should direct there army groups without another authority who could be approached by officers in the chain of command and arbitrarily alter there orders. As to the post war creation of the "listen to the generals" explanation one has to ask which general when and in which situation...
essentially they complained and blamed Hitler for complex reasons... There training for one taught of the separation of the politician and the commander.
They survived and needed a scapegoat.
But truth in situations is always in the middle and they sought to excuse there own failings by adding to Hitlers.

Sid Guttridge
Member
Posts: 6674
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 08 Mar 2019 15:33

Hi Doogal,

"But truth in situations is always in the middle....." is, I would suggest, a meaningless, generalized platitude. Sounds good but means nothing.

To simplify it, if Person A contends that 2+2=4 and Person B contends that 2+2=6, the right answer isn't necessarily 5!

(It is a bit like "The victors always write the history." Tell that to the man widely considered to be the first real historian, Thuycidides, who was a defeated general of a defeated state!)

Nor, I would suggest, was Hitler just a "scapegoat" for the German generals. It was his strategic judgement that had over reached itself and got the German Army into an irredeemable mess by late 1942, at the latest. No individual field marshal or general could have got it out of the mess because Hitler had complete strategic direction of the war.

Certainly the individual rivalries and errors of German commanders didn't help, but by and large their expertise was vital to Hitler's successes in 1939-41, just as they were professionally impotent to reverse the baleful results of his policies in 1942-45.

Cheers,

Sid.

User avatar
doogal
Member
Posts: 652
Joined: 06 Aug 2007 11:37
Location: scotland

Re: where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Post by doogal » 09 Mar 2019 11:42

It's not an empty platitude sid.....
It's also not two pieces of arithmetic with definite answers.
It's human agency which is not really quantifiable with a numerical analogy.
It simply means, in the case of Hitler and his Generals that there is an element of truth in what they say.

ljadw
Member
Posts: 9788
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Post by ljadw » 09 Mar 2019 13:11

Sid Guttridge wrote:
08 Mar 2019 15:33
Hi Doogal,

"But truth in situations is always in the middle....." is, I would suggest, a meaningless, generalized platitude. Sounds good but means nothing.

To simplify it, if Person A contends that 2+2=4 and Person B contends that 2+2=6, the right answer isn't necessarily 5!

(It is a bit like "The victors always write the history." Tell that to the man widely considered to be the first real historian, Thuycidides, who was a defeated general of a defeated state!)

Nor, I would suggest, was Hitler just a "scapegoat" for the German generals. It was his strategic judgement that had over reached itself and got the German Army into an irredeemable mess by late 1942, at the latest. No individual field marshal or general could have got it out of the mess because Hitler had complete strategic direction of the war.

Certainly the individual rivalries and errors of German commanders didn't help, but by and large their expertise was vital to Hitler's successes in 1939-41, just as they were professionally impotent to reverse the baleful results of his policies in 1942-45.

Cheers,

Sid.
This is not correct : the irredeemable mess was not caused by Hitler's strategic judgement, but by the actions of the Allies .
Saying that it was the fault of Hitler is denying the Allies the fruit of victory and is claiming that Germany would have done better without Hitler but with the generals leading . Something the generals said .. after the war .

Return to “German Strategy & General German Military Discussion”