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

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

Post by Paul Lakowski » 22 May 2019 20:27

MarkN wrote:
22 May 2019 16:11

I am challenging your understanding that Hitler was soley responsible for developing and creating strategy and strategic decision-making. In my book, being the final decision-maker is not the same as being the sole strategic decision-maker - which is what your definition implies.
If some one has final authority they are -by definition- ultimately responsible for ALL decisions made.

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

Post by BDV » 22 May 2019 22:42

Paul Lakowski wrote: If some one has final authority they are -by definition- ultimately responsible for ALL decisions made.
There are plenty of decisions that were the decisions of people other than GROFAZ.

And even where GROFAZ was the authority issuing the ultimate order, it does not absolve the generals and politicians from giving incorrect advice and proposing a defective plan.

Fuhrer as sole scapegoat for all the crimes and "pire qu'un crime"s of 3rd Reich is equally untenable.
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Re: where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Post by Paul Lakowski » 23 May 2019 05:05

Hitler and German doctrine of war , command & control were incompatible , since decisions must be delegated down the chain of command . The closer you get to battle the more authority is delegated to the commander closest to battle. If commanders have to tweeks orders down the ladder-that is they way they conduct war, all other commanders worked within the system . I suspect Hitler didn't really respect or understand the REAL limitations of his own armed forces.

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

Post by ljadw » 23 May 2019 08:59

Paul Lakowski wrote:
22 May 2019 20:27
MarkN wrote:
22 May 2019 16:11


If some one has final authority they are -by definition- ultimately responsible for ALL decisions made.
This is not true : Winston had final authority ,but was not responsible for the loss of the Repulse and the Prince of Wales, or the defeats in Greece and Crete,.....

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

Post by MarkN » 23 May 2019 11:06

doogal wrote:
22 May 2019 19:06
My position does not effectively shove responsibility onto Hitler he shares it with his Military commanders and both deserve to be held up to the same standard.
Whilst you rightly accept that military personel should be held accountable for their decisions and actions, by your definition you are excluding them from strategic decision-making. Your definition places exclusive responsibility upon one dead man's shoulders. The same arguement attempted by those on trial at Nuremberg.
doogal wrote:
22 May 2019 19:06
I agree that operational decisions on the ground by heer commanders rubber stamped by Hitler such as the halt order which you offer as an example had a strategic effect. But this strategic effect like your example of strategic corporals are arrived at by "chance" not design. And as such I would offer are different in form from a conscious strategic choice supported by the input of a coterie of military professionals.
I do not believe the Dunkirk stop order was a strategic level decision nor can anybody truely state that decision had strategic consequence. It was merely an example of how decisions taken by Hitler are not always exactly as they seem.
doogal wrote:
22 May 2019 19:06
I understand that Hitler was not solely responsible for the development of strategic ideas.
I understand decision-making to be a process whereas you understand it to be a choice.

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

Post by AbollonPolweder » 23 May 2019 11:31

MarkN wrote:
22 May 2019 16:11
...
I am challenging your understanding that Hitler was soley responsible for developing and creating strategy and strategic decision-making. In my book, being the final decision-maker is not the same as being the sole strategic decision-maker - which is what your definition implies.
...
It seems to me that there is the difference between "developing and creating strategy" and "strategic decision-making". It’s almost impossible to create a strategic plan alone today, and a strategic decision, when it comes to war, is usually made by one person. In general, the relationship between personal and collective responsibility for hostilities can be traced to a certain extent along the Nuremberg process. Compare the fate of Keitel and Halder. Jodl and Lossberg. Halder and Lossberg very actively participated in the development of strategic plans , so they got off relatively easily. Keitel and Jodl were closer to the "center" of strategic decision-making and were executed. But the reference to Nuremberg, of course, cannot be considered as a final argument.
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Re: where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Post by Nautilus » 23 May 2019 12:45

There was a nice gentleman who studied the Battle of The Bulge for a few decades, before publishing Snow and Steel: The Battle of the Bulge.

He got pretty suspicious at the oft-repeated question on this thread: why did the Führer and the OKW maintain a few field armies idle in occupied countries by late 1944 and launched the seemingly useless Battle Of The Bulge - which, even if it gained a big victory and pushed the Western Allies back to the sea, did nothing to prevent the Soviet onslaught? It was like fighting with an arm tied behind your back.

An explanation was: "the genesis of Hitler's plans to launch the Bulge is his grappling to retain control of the direction of military affairs and prove to the Third Reich that he's still the man at the top."

Or, to prove it to the Anglo-Americans, more likely.

As General Clausewitz used to say: secondary victory means to cause as much death and destruction to the enemy as possibly, before you loose. So he will grant very favorable peace terms to get rid of you.

What was Stalin's personal obsession, throughout the war? To prevent an armistice between Fascist-Capitalists (Anglophones and Germans) at all cost.

People may say: "because this would free enough troops and industries to push back the Soviets". If we play too much SuddenStrike, this may be. But not in real life 1944. Humans and machinery are not generated spontaneously or blown up by a mouse click. Even in the most favorable outcome, even if the Soviets might have been pushed back, this was not victory, just a revert to 1941 borders with both countries bled white by death and destruction. So even in a Sci-Fi Alternate History outcome, the Soviets were to experience the Famine of 1946 and the Germans the Bankruptcy of 1919.

Most logical approach: in the event of a victory, the Führer was to secure his back and negotiate enough to draw some Anglophone political leaders into seeing how nasty the USSR was... that is, to make peace with him and supply him enough to hold the borders intact against the USSR.

This wasn't going to happen. The worst possible enemy of the Reich had been in Washington, DC ever since 1933. But, in Hitler's imagination, a peace with "Asiatic Communist Barbarians" was out of question, while the others might have listened to him if he proved himself.

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

Post by gracie4241 » 23 May 2019 16:39

The foundation of the Ardennes offensive was the belief(correct I would say) that a passive, static defense on all fronts was impossible to maintain with enemies with hugely superior forces AND the total strategic initiative .Of the 3 fronts(Italy, East, and West) the west was the hands down winner logically because of its military/political importance and the fact that a strategically important target presented itself two fold; Antwerp was only 100 miles away and offered the chance to split the seam of the Allied army Group and potentially encircle and destroy the British Army Group.The thinking was that upon such a defeat large forces could be disengaged and sent eastward as a strategic reserve. Even Hitler,_as told by Jodl to Rundstedt and Model, only gave it a 10% chance; staying on defense zero.It is worth noting that ALL the western commanders favored an offensive to regain the initiative, but felt Antwerp was too far-at a 100 miles-because of fuel limitations alone, and favored the famous "SMALL Solution.Under the totally disastrous conditions of late 44 this seems to me to have been logical;what alternative program would critics offer (assuming surrender was off the table) as a substitute???As the germans eventually put 45 divisions(a large force), into the Bulge,Nordwind, and the Colmar offensive, transferring such forces East sounds nice, but the western Front would have collapsed totally by January.So how would that help?Hitler, contrary to some thought, had no more wish to be overrun by the west than he did by the East

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

Post by MarkN » 23 May 2019 17:18

AbollonPolweder wrote:
23 May 2019 11:31
It seems to me that there is the difference between "developing and creating strategy" and "strategic decision-making".
Strategy is a noun and a fancy word for plan. When does a plan become a strategy? Everybody has a different answer to that question.

Strategic is an adjective and a fancy way to describe important, top-level, etc. Where do you draw the line between strategic and not strategic or below strategic? Everybody has a different answer to that question too.

Decisions of importance are rarely spontaneous. Decisions are a process that often, but not always, lead to a choice. Somebody starts the process with an idea or a response is needed to an external input. People confer on how to proceed or react. The options are considered and perhaps whittled down to one.

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

Post by doogal » 23 May 2019 18:03

MarkN wrote -
Your definition places exclusive responsibility upon one dead man's shoulders. The same arguement attempted by those on trial at Nuremberg.
My definition (in the case of Nazi Germany) simply states that Hitler was the primary decision maker. This fact can co-exist with the idea of shared responsibility. I am not making a similar argument to any defendant at the Nuremberg trials. The fact that Hitler was the primary decision maker would in no way (in my view) alter the guilt of those found to have contravened laws in the context of the Nuremberg trials.
by your definition you are excluding them from strategic decision-making.

I am not excluding them from involvement in the process which supports a strategic decision, i understand that it is a process which leads to choices and then decisions.
Decisions of importance are rarely spontaneous. Decisions are a process that often, but not always, lead to a choice. Somebody starts the process with an idea or a response is needed to an external input. People confer on how to proceed or react. The options are considered and perhaps whittled down to one.
I believe we see Hitler inverting this process, with the decision coming first, hence the constant tension between Hitler and the high command. They thought in a similar orthodox and logical manner.

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

Post by Nautilus » 23 May 2019 18:41

gracie4241 wrote:
23 May 2019 16:39
The foundation of the Ardennes offensive was the belief(correct I would say) that a passive, static defense on all fronts was impossible to maintain with enemies with hugely superior forces AND the total strategic initiative .Of the 3 fronts(Italy, East, and West) the west was the hands down winner logically because of its military/political importance and the fact that a strategically important target presented itself two fold; Antwerp was only 100 miles away and offered the chance to split the seam of the Allied army Group and potentially encircle and destroy the British Army Group.The thinking was that upon such a defeat large forces could be disengaged and sent eastward as a strategic reserve. Even Hitler,_as told by Jodl to Rundstedt and Model, only gave it a 10% chance; staying on defense zero.It is worth noting that ALL the western commanders favored an offensive to regain the initiative, but felt Antwerp was too far-at a 100 miles-because of fuel limitations alone, and favored the famous "SMALL Solution.Under the totally disastrous conditions of late 44 this seems to me to have been logical;what alternative program would critics offer (assuming surrender was off the table) as a substitute???As the germans eventually put 45 divisions(a large force), into the Bulge,Nordwind, and the Colmar offensive, transferring such forces East sounds nice, but the western Front would have collapsed totally by January.So how would that help?Hitler, contrary to some thought, had no more wish to be overrun by the west than he did by the East
This should have been a brilliant idea at the time, but, even if Antwerp could be taken and British forces encircled as in Dunkirk before, then what?

The gamble relied on the idea British leadership could be swayed into negotiations. If, and only if, they were hit by a hammer blow and could not recover in time.

But the US forces were to escape nearly intact and behind them stood the unlimited supply from the USA. There was no logical way the American government, which hated and undermined the Reich and Hitler personally ever since 1933, might have accepted negotiations after sinking huge supplies and money throughout 4 years of war.

Only someone (thinking like Patton) fully convinced the USSR was such a monstrosity every compromise was acceptable to get rid of it might have even considered to ally himself with Nazi Germany, and this was only going to happen if Hitler himself was no longer alive.

Somehow, no matter what military option Hitler or professional Generals might have chosen, the grand strategy from 1940 to the April collapse in Berlin relied on a fantasy: that existence of the Socialist USSR was unacceptable for anyone else in the First World, hostis humani generis. Hitler believed it, but none of the rational political leaders shared the opinion.

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

Post by BDV » 23 May 2019 21:33

Nautilus wrote: Only someone (thinking like Patton) fully convinced the USSR was such a monstrosity every compromise was acceptable to get rid of it might have even considered to ally himself with Nazi Germany, and this was only going to happen if Hitler himself was no longer alive.
thinking like Patton

Proof?
Nobody expects the Fallschirm! Our chief weapon is surprise; surprise and fear; fear and surprise. Our 2 weapons are fear and surprise; and ruthless efficiency. Our *3* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency; and almost fanatical devotion

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

Post by Paul Lakowski » 24 May 2019 01:36

ljadw wrote:
23 May 2019 08:59
Paul Lakowski wrote:
22 May 2019 20:27
MarkN wrote:
22 May 2019 16:11


If some one has final authority they are -by definition- ultimately responsible for ALL decisions made.
This is not true : Winston had final authority ,but was not responsible for the loss of the Repulse and the Prince of Wales, or the defeats in Greece and Crete,.....
Don't care about Churchill.

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

Post by Sid Guttridge » 24 May 2019 06:40

Hi MarkN,

Hitler deliberately accumulated all the levers of power to himself alone. He combined the powers of President and Chancellor in the self created post of "Fuhrer", got the Army to swear a personal oath to him, named the national youth movement after himself and took over effective direction of a weakened General Staff led by military yes-men of his preference.

In doing so, he made himself the ultimate power in all the major institutions, civil and military, in the land and set the strategic direction of the country and its armed forces.

The measure of his supremacy is that he set the German Army off on some campaigns about which its own higher leadership had grave reservations.

Certainly others were delegated operational and tactical decisions (though this did not sometimes stop him interfering even in these), but the ultimate responsibility for strategic direction was his. Only he could decide which countries to invade and in what order, and which high level options were to be taken if these campaigns dragged on. Doubtless the entire German officer corps was antagonistic to the USSR, but only Hitler could order an invasion in 1941, or decide between the Leningrad/Moscow/Caucasus options for 1942, or whether and when to start and stop the Kursk offensive in 1943.

The only proviso I would add is that in the 1930s there were still other power bases within the Nazi movement with minds of their own. For example, Goring appears to have played a key role in the annexation of Austria and other local Nazis tried less successfully to bounce Hitler into occupying Austria in 1934, and Danzig and Liechtenstein in early 1939. But these were Party players, not military ones.

Cheers,

Sid.

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

Post by ljadw » 24 May 2019 06:59

Sid Guttridge wrote:
24 May 2019 06:40
Hi MarkN,

Hitler deliberately accumulated all the levers of power to himself alone. He combined the powers of President and Chancellor in the self created post of "Fuhrer", got the Army to swear a personal oath to him, named the national youth movement after himself and took over effective direction of a weakened General Staff led by military yes-men of his preference.

In doing so, he made himself the ultimate power in all the major institutions, civil and military, in the land and set the strategic direction of the country and its armed forces.

The measure of his supremacy is that he set the German Army off on some campaigns about which its own higher leadership had grave reservations.

Certainly others were delegated operational and tactical decisions (though this did not sometimes stop him interfering even in these), but the ultimate responsibility for strategic direction was his. Only he could decide which countries to invade and in what order, and which high level options were to be taken if these campaigns dragged on. Doubtless the entire German officer corps was antagonistic to the USSR, but only Hitler could order an invasion in 1941, or decide between the Leningrad/Moscow/Caucasus options for 1942, or whether and when to start and stop the Kursk offensive in 1943.

The only proviso I would add is that in the 1930s there were still other power bases within the Nazi movement with minds of their own. For example, Goring appears to have played a key role in the annexation of Austria and other local Nazis tried less unsuccessfully to bounce Hitler into occupying Austria in 1934, and Danzig and Liechtenstein in early 1939. But these were party players, not military ones.

Cheers,

Sid.
The opposite was also true : Hitler had a lot of reservations about Citadel that was advocated by the OKH/Manstein .
I like also to see some examples of campaigns on which the army had grave reservations . The truth is that these reservations (mostly a post war myth ) did not result in resignations from army leaders .

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