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

Discussions on High Command, strategy and the Armed Forces (Wehrmacht) in general.
ljadw
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Re: where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Post by ljadw » 24 May 2019 07:01

It is also not right to say that the OKH consisted of yes men : Beck, Halder, Zeitzler, Guderian , ..were not yes men .

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

Post by MarkN » 24 May 2019 10:30

doogal wrote:
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.
I thought we were discussing responsibility in the context of responsibility for the choices, outcomes and consequences from strategic decision-making. The responsibility for the strategic level decisions about, for example, the conduct of the war with Britain, with Russia, with Yugoslavia etc etc. I now see you are considering responsibility in the context of individual criminal acts perpetrated during the course of the war. Two completely different things.
doogal wrote:
23 May 2019 18:03
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.
OK. Consider the attack on Russia. Hitler had to three key choices to make. The first was to move his longstanding pathological, racial and political desire to exterminate jewish bolshevism and untermenschen Slavs into state policy - in or before July 1940. The second was his choice to accept the Heer plan (perhaps you want to call it a strategy) to deliver that policy - Unternehmen BARBAROSSA in December 1940. The third choice was in June 1941 when he gave the final vorwaerts! command which unleashed the Wehrmacht across the border.

Now, we know, with hindsight, that Unternehmen BARBAROSSA fell woefully short of its own objectives and successful endstate. That outcome could not be known by the decision-makers at the time, but it was certainly one of the possible outcomes that had to be considered. Remember, Paulus' wargames came up with that result. Wargames that involved a significant number of high ranking Heer staff officers. But more importantly perhaps, the plan itself was predicated on the assumption of the war against Russia not being resolved. Unternehmen BARBAROSSA was a limited landgrab that offered no indication of when or how the war with Russia would be brought to a close.

SEELOEWE's cancellation may well have needed Hitler's rubber stamp, but the various delays and fall from the agenda were entirely driven by generals and admirals saying it was too risky and likely to be a failure. In this instance, strategic decision-making was almost exclusively determined by generals and admirals. Hitler listened to his generals and admirals. Hitler's rubber stamping is a footnote in the understanding of the historical context.

BARBAROSSA went the completely opposite way. The key decision-makers within the OKH (and OKW) were not against the attack, they were all for it - even in the face of Paulus' (one of their own) wargame evidence. The histograph around SEELOEWE shows that, during the very same timeframe, generals and admirals had the capability of bending Hitler's will. BARBAROSSA went ahead with the Heer, collectively, not fighting against it but actively promoting it.

The consequences of a failure of SEELOEWE were significantly less than the consequences of a failure of BARBAROSSA. The Heer's concept of how to defeat the British was almost identical to how they planned to defeat the Russians: smash up the army at the frontier, take the capital and the will to resists collapses. Kick down the door and the house will collapse. If that initial plan didn't work, they had a fallback: keep on marching until the whole of Britain had been conquored. Marcks' initial study also had a similar fallback: if the Russians have not collapsed by the planned finish line, keep on marching eastwards. That fallback disappeared. Who was responsible for that being dropped?

Unternehmen BARBAROSSA was a plan that was designed to deliver a limited landgrab through a quick campaign but to result in an ongoing war with Russia with no indication of when or how that war would be brought to a close.
doogal wrote:
23 May 2019 18:03
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.
Hitler chose to attack Russia.
Hitler chose to accept the OKH plan for the attack.
Hitler chose to go ahead with that plan.

Whose idea was, and who takes responsibility for, the strategic decsion-making to start a war without indication of when or how that war would be brought to a close? Hitler because he made the final choice, or the Heer because they came up with the idea and promoted it as credible and doable?

Did BARBAROSSA go ahead purely down to Hitler's will over the heads of whining generals and admirals that the adventure was too risky and likely to fail? I am not discussing criminal responsibility, I'm discussing responsibility for strategic level decision-making.

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

Post by AbollonPolweder » 24 May 2019 12:17

MarkN wrote:
24 May 2019 10:30
...
Now, we know, with hindsight, that Unternehmen BARBAROSSA fell woefully short of its own objectives and successful endstate. That outcome could not be known by the decision-makers at the time, but it was certainly one of the possible outcomes that had to be considered. Remember, Paulus' wargames came up with that result. Wargames that involved a significant number of high ranking Heer staff officers. But more importantly perhaps, the plan itself was predicated on the assumption of the war against Russia not being resolved. Unternehmen BARBAROSSA was a limited landgrab that offered no indication of when or how the war with Russia would be brought to a close.
...
The main problem of our discussion is that we have not clearly defined the main concept: strategic decision-making. Lex Identitatis is an important time saving thing. If decision-making is a process, then this is one thing. But here I have problems with the English language. I thought decision-making is synonymous with choice-making or option-making.
Whose signature stands for Der "Fall Barbarossa" that man is a (option, choice) decision-maker. Under the deployment plan of OKH is the signature of Brauchitsch, he is also a decision-maker. The difference is that Hitler was a strategic decision- maker, and Brauchitsch was simply a decision-maker. It is clear that before signing Barbarossa, Hitler looked at several projects and spoke with many experts. Maybe he communicated with the soothsayers and his mood, the weather and Eva Braun influenced his decision making. Maybe his gastrocnemius was trembling like that of Napoleon. Or not trembling. This we do not know, but we have seen the signature on the document.
https://sites.google.com/site/krieg1941undnarod/
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Re: where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 24 May 2019 13:20

Hi ljadw,

If I remember rightly, the plan adopted for Citadel was not the one put forward by Manstein. He wanted to break through eastwards south of the salient and then swing south towards Rostov, thereby rolling up the Red Army's southern flank.

Many senior officers in the Army had grave reservations about the various occupations mounted during the 1930s. They thought remilitarizing the Rhineland premature. Even though in late 1937 Hitler ordered plans prepared for occupying Austria, none were readied and the actual occupation had to be improvised. There was a coup attempt prepared in Berlin during the Munich Crisis that seems only to have been aborted by the Anglo-French obliging the Czechoslovaks to concede.

All these virtually bloodless successes added to Hitler's authority and undermined informed military opposition, which even in September 1939 often thought, as it turned out rightly, that Hitler was going to bite off more than the Wehrmacht could chew. In late 1939 both Halder and Brauschitz thought the original proposed plan for invading France was likely to fail. Luckily for Hitler that plan was compromised and changed to that which proved highly successful in May-June 1940.

Why would Army leaders resign? They were all patriots with a higher duty and almost all were prepared to use their professional expertise to the bitter end in defence of their country. As Halder said, "one does not rebel when face to face with the enemy".

As regards "Yes-men", Keitel, who was the General Staff's senior member for most of the war, had the nick-name "Lakeitel" amongst his contemporaries. 'Lakeitel' is a pun on his name, eliding it with the German word for "lackey" - "Lakai".

Cheers,

Sid.

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

Post by MarkN » 24 May 2019 14:29

Sid Guttridge wrote:
24 May 2019 13:20
Why would Army leaders resign? They were all patriots with a higher duty and almost all were prepared to use their professional expertise to the bitter end in defence of their country.
Is that really what German generals were thinking ...
... as they marched into Czechoslovakia,
... as they marched into Poland,
... as they marched into Denmark,
... as they marched into Luxembourg,
... as they marched into Belgium,
... as they marched into Holland,
... as they marched into France,
... as they marched into Norway,
... as they started to bomb Britain,
... as they marched into Hungary,
... as they marched into Romania,
... as they marched into Yugoslavia,
... as they marched into Greece,
... as they marched into Albania,
... as they marched into Soviet Union,
... as they marched into Finland,
... as they marched into Latvia,
... as they marched into Lithuania,
... as they marched into Estonia.

Have I missed any?

"...all were prepared to use their professional expertise to the bitter end in defence of their country."

Sounds more like Nazi propaganda than the thoughts of professional soldiers thinking about the defence of their own country.

:roll:

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

Post by doogal » 24 May 2019 18:48

MarkN wrote - Did BARBAROSSA go ahead purely down to Hitler's will over the heads of whining generals and admirals that the adventure was too risky and likely to fail? I am not discussing criminal responsibility, I'm discussing responsibility for strategic level decision-making.
You introduced Nuremburg to the conversation
MarkN wrote - Your definition places exclusive responsibility upon one dead man's shoulders. The same argument attempted by those on trial at Nuremberg.
i was only clarifying for you that i do not agree that my definition places sole responsibility (in this sense) upon Hitler.



Barbarossa went ahead primarily because.

(Depending on you interpretation of events)

(1) Hitler decides that he must remove Britains last hope on the continent.
(2) Hitler decides that Bolshevism must be smashed.

No he did not go over the heads of whining Generals, they were an essential element in turning Hitlers ideas into operational facts. They helped train command and lead the military force which was expected to bring Hitlers vague strategic/politico directives to life. He included them in detailed discussions and planning sessions (and diatribes) which they at their respective levels of command instructed subordinates to follow. I am sure they helped to inculcate and indulge Hitler. But Hitler had merged the offices of power so that only he could be the sole strategic decision maker. He was for want of a better word the initiator of strategic direction, and yes i am sure that there were other strategic perspectives inside his high command whose adherants attempted to influence Hitlers direction. But they seem merely to be able to put a brake on his demands.
Quite simply Hitler removed the ability of his high command to take strategic level decisions. He compartmentalised the Wehrmachts structure on purpose so that each service and its operational theatres was dependant and subordinate to himself.

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

Post by ljadw » 24 May 2019 21:26

Sid Guttridge wrote:
24 May 2019 13:20
Hi ljadw,

If I remember rightly, the plan adopted for Citadel was not the one put forward by Manstein. He wanted to break through eastwards south of the salient and then swing south towards Rostov, thereby rolling up the Red Army's southern flank.

Many senior officers in the Army had grave reservations about the various occupations mounted during the 1930s. They thought remilitarizing the Rhineland premature. Even though in late 1937 Hitler ordered plans prepared for occupying Austria, none were readied and the actual occupation had to be improvised. There was a coup attempt prepared in Berlin during the Munich Crisis that seems only to have been aborted by the Anglo-French obliging the Czechoslovaks to concede.

All these virtually bloodless successes added to Hitler's authority and undermined informed military opposition, which even in September 1939 often thought, as it turned out rightly, that Hitler was going to bite off more than the Wehrmacht could chew. In late 1939 both Halder and Brauschitz thought the original proposed plan for invading France was likely to fail. Luckily for Hitler that plan was compromised and changed to that which proved highly successful in May-June 1940.

Why would Army leaders resign? They were all patriots with a higher duty and almost all were prepared to use their professional expertise to the bitter end in defence of their country. As Halder said, "one does not rebel when face to face with the enemy".

As regards "Yes-men", Keitel, who was the General Staff's senior member for most of the war, had the nick-name "Lakeitel" amongst his contemporaries. 'Lakeitel' is a pun on his name, eliding it with the German word for "lackey" - "Lakai".

Cheers,

Sid.
Nicknames are not proofs .Besides, Keitel was not consulted about strategic questions nor did he give his opinion about it : he was only minister of defence with limited competence/authority .
And for the remilitarisation of the Rhineland, I have seen a source that said that not only the generals did not oppose it, but that they were the requesting party .
The theory that the generals disagreed with Hitler makes no sense : they agreed with the initial plans to attack in the west .
After the war the generals said that they were planning a coup in 1938 (for which there was no proof ) , but they hided the fact that not only they did not plan a coup in 1939 ,but were very enthusiastic about the attack on Poland .

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

Post by MarkN » 24 May 2019 21:33

doogal wrote:
24 May 2019 18:48
No he did not go over the heads of whining Generals, they were an essential element in turning Hitlers ideas into operational facts. They helped train command and lead the military force which was expected to bring Hitlers vague strategic/politico directives to life. He included them in detailed discussions and planning sessions (and diatribes) which they at their respective levels of command instructed subordinates to follow. I am sure they helped to inculcate and indulge Hitler. But Hitler had merged the offices of power so that only he could be the sole strategic decision maker. He was for want of a better word the initiator of strategic direction, and yes i am sure that there were other strategic perspectives inside his high command whose adherants attempted to influence Hitlers direction. But they seem merely to be able to put a brake on his demands.
I see. So you've resorted back to strategic decision-making relating only to the final choice and everybody was just following orders.
doogal wrote:
24 May 2019 18:48
Quite simply Hitler removed the ability of his high command to take strategic level decisions.
So, the generals and admirals who determined that SEELOEWE was too risky and likely to fail - and were prepared to continue the war against Britain without any indication of when or how it would end - were not acting and thinking at the strategic level? Their decisions were not strategic level decisions?

So, the generals who determined that the attack on Russia would be a quick campaign that started a war but offered no indication of when or how it would end - were not acting and thinking at the strategic level? Their decisions were not strategic level decisions?

These people were not just following orders, they were determining the most fundamental of conditions of the wars against Britain and Russia.

I suspect we are not going to find much, if any, common ground on this matter.

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

Post by doogal » 24 May 2019 22:19

MarkN wrote - I see. So you've resorted back to strategic decision-making relating only to the final choice and everybody was just following orders.
Doogal wrote - He was for want of a better word the initiator of strategic direction,
Please explain your definition of "everybody was JUST following orders" in the context of the last post.

So, the generals and admirals who determined that SEELOEWE was too risky and likely to fail - and were prepared to continue the war against Britain without any indication of when or how it would end - were not acting and thinking at the strategic level? Their decisions were not strategic level decisions?

They advised they did not decide, it was not up to them to continue or not continue the war against Britain.
So, the generals who determined that the attack on Russia would be a quick campaign that started a war but offered no indication of when or how it would end - were not acting and thinking at the strategic level? Their decisions were not strategic level decisions?
I believe they made operational decisions, and they did not decide on a campaign that started a war Hitler did.

I do not see how its so hard to see them (Body of military professionals) being used an executive body with many of its usually instituted powers of office taken away by the head of state.

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

Post by ljadw » 25 May 2019 06:46

ljadw wrote:
24 May 2019 21:26
Sid Guttridge wrote:
24 May 2019 13:20
Hi ljadw,

If I remember rightly, the plan adopted for Citadel was not the one put forward by Manstein. He wanted to break through eastwards south of the salient and then swing south towards Rostov, thereby rolling up the Red Army's southern flank.

Many senior officers in the Army had grave reservations about the various occupations mounted during the 1930s. They thought remilitarizing the Rhineland premature. Even though in late 1937 Hitler ordered plans prepared for occupying Austria, none were readied and the actual occupation had to be improvised. There was a coup attempt prepared in Berlin during the Munich Crisis that seems only to have been aborted by the Anglo-French obliging the Czechoslovaks to concede.

All these virtually bloodless successes added to Hitler's authority and undermined informed military opposition, which even in September 1939 often thought, as it turned out rightly, that Hitler was going to bite off more than the Wehrmacht could chew. In late 1939 both Halder and Brauschitz thought the original proposed plan for invading France was likely to fail. Luckily for Hitler that plan was compromised and changed to that which proved highly successful in May-June 1940.

Why would Army leaders resign? They were all patriots with a higher duty and almost all were prepared to use their professional expertise to the bitter end in defence of their country. As Halder said, "one does not rebel when face to face with the enemy".

As regards "Yes-men", Keitel, who was the General Staff's senior member for most of the war, had the nick-name "Lakeitel" amongst his contemporaries. 'Lakeitel' is a pun on his name, eliding it with the German word for "lackey" - "Lakai".

Cheers,

Sid.
Nicknames are not proofs .Besides, Keitel was not consulted about strategic questions nor did he give his opinion about it : he was only minister of defence with limited competence/authority .
And for the remilitarisation of the Rhineland, I have seen a source that said that not only the generals did not oppose it, but that they were the requesting party .
The theory that the generals disagreed with Hitler makes no sense : they agreed with the initial plans to attack in the west .
After the war the generals said that they were planning a coup in 1938 (for which there was no proof ) , but they hided the fact that not only they did not plan a coup in 1939 ,but were very enthusiastic about the attack on Poland .
There were 2 legends about the remilitarisation of the Rhineland
1 The German generals opposed it
2 In case of French reaction, the WM would give up the Rhineland without fighting
Source : La rémilitarisation de la Rhénanie: une réévaluation du rôle des généraux Allemands (1933-1936 )

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

Post by MarkN » 25 May 2019 12:17

doogal wrote:
24 May 2019 22:19
MarkN wrote - I see. So you've resorted back to strategic decision-making relating only to the final choice and everybody was just following orders.
Please explain your definition of "everybody was JUST following orders" in the context of the last post.
You wrote...
doogal wrote:
24 May 2019 18:48
Hitler had merged the offices of power so that only he could be the sole strategic decision maker.
...and since, according to you, he was the sole strategic decision maker, everybody else was reduced to...
doogal wrote:
24 May 2019 18:48
help train command and lead the military force
doogal wrote:
24 May 2019 18:48
expected to bring Hitlers vague strategic/politico directives to life
doogal wrote:
24 May 2019 18:48
helped to inculcate and indulge
doogal wrote:
24 May 2019 18:48
adherants attempted to influence Hitlers direction. But they seem merely to be able to put a brake on his demands.
...helping, training, bringing, adherents attempting, etc etc ....

Servants only following and indulging the almighty!!!!!
doogal wrote:
24 May 2019 22:19
Doogal wrote - He was for want of a better word the initiator of strategic direction,
Hitler was just as much hostage to others' strategic decision-making as he was an initiator of his own.

doogal wrote:
24 May 2019 22:19
They advised they did not decide, it was not up to them to continue or not continue the war against Britain.
They did far more than advise!!!!!

The Heer chose to go to war with the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg, Hitler's choice was to accept that decision or send them away to come up with another plan.
The generals told Hitler the would only cross the Channel after the admirals guaranteed their safe passage. The admirals told Hitler the could only guarantee safe passage if the Goering could guarantee air supremacy. The didn't ask or advise, the made policy. SEELOEWE didn't go ahead because the generals and admirals made strategic policy choices and decisions that Hitler felt compelled to accept rather than overrule.
The Heer chose a military plan that started a war against Russia with no plan or idea how or when it would conclude. Hitler rubber-stamped that plan, he didn't send them away to come up with a plan that met his longstanding thoughts and ideology.

Professional military officers made the decisions that put Germany into a two-front war with no idea how or when either would be concluded. I consider that to be part of strategic level decision-making. If you only consider the rubber stamping of these choices and decisions, then we will never see eye to eye.
doogal wrote:
24 May 2019 22:19
I do not see how its so hard to see them (Body of military professionals) being used an executive body with many of its usually instituted powers of office taken away by the head of state.
I do not see how its so hard to see choices and decisions made about strategic matters with strategic implications by design (not chance) as being strategic level decisions and denying that simply because the were not made by the final arbiter.

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

Post by doogal » 25 May 2019 14:59

Hitler was just as much hostage to others' strategic decision-making as he was an initiator of his own.
Hitler was subject to the strategic choices of his opponents (those that he chose to engage in warfare with) his high command provided him with options and advice, he was not hostage to there decisions.
The Heer chose to go to war with the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg,
They clearly did not choose to go to war with these countries.
The generals told Hitler the would only cross the Channel after the admirals guaranteed their safe passage. The admirals told Hitler the could only guarantee safe passage if the Goering could guarantee air supremacy.


I agree with this. They did say this and as and were responding correctly to Hitler choosing invasion as a strategic direction.
Professional military officers made the decisions that put Germany into a two-front war with no idea how or when either would be concluded
They did not make the decision that put Germany in two front war.
I do not see how its so hard to see choices and decisions made about strategic matters with strategic implications by design (not chance) as being strategic level decisions and denying that simply because the were not made by the final arbiter.
If you have a list of strategic decisions you believe that Hitlers high command made and engaged in without his approval please feel free to educate.

I am more than willing to alter my view if you can show me clearly why i should

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

Post by MarkN » 25 May 2019 16:20

doogal wrote:
25 May 2019 14:59
Hitler was just as much hostage to others' strategic decision-making as he was an initiator of his own.
Hitler was subject to the strategic choices of his opponents (those that he chose to engage in warfare with) his high command provided him with options and advice, he was not hostage to there decisions.
:roll:
doogal wrote:
25 May 2019 14:59
The Heer chose to go to war with the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg,
They clearly did not choose to go to war with these countries.
Germany was at war with Britain and France. On 9 May 1940, the Wehrmacht launched attacks against three neutral countries: the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. Did Hitler, in September 1939, issue an order to the OKH to come up with a plan to march west that included an attack on the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg or was it the Heer that choose/decided to put them into their plans of their own accord?

The Heer made the strategic choice/decision to go to war with three neutral countries, Hitler rubberstamped their plan - albeit after several drafts and revisions. Hitler, in respect of starting war with the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg was hostage to military thinking and military strategic decision-making. He didn't have to be, as the omnipresent final arbiter, he could have simply ordered the generals to launch a direct assault on France.
doogal wrote:
25 May 2019 14:59
The generals told Hitler the would only cross the Channel after the admirals guaranteed their safe passage. The admirals told Hitler the could only guarantee safe passage if the Goering could guarantee air supremacy.
I agree with this. They did say this and as and were responding correctly to Hitler choosing invasion as a strategic direction.
Hitler decided upon invasion. The generals and admirals told him under what conditions it would happen. They didn't advise. They didn't indulge. They set policy. Moreover, they set a policy that did not provide any credible alternative to knocking Britain out of the war in place of the invasion.

The generals and admirals got their own way and history shows that not only did Hitler acquiesce - remember as the omnipresent final arbiter, he could have simply ignored them - but that not knocking Britain out of the war left a war front unresolved which came back to bite them.
doogal wrote:
25 May 2019 14:59
Professional military officers made the decisions that put Germany into a two-front war with no idea how or when either would be concluded
They did not make the decision that put Germany in two front war.
In the west, the generals and admirals set the policy that resulted in an unresolved war with Britain with no credible solution or timeframe for its resolution.

In the east, the generals presented a war plan that was, in reality, a limited land grab by quick campaign resulting in another unresolved war with no credible solution or timeframe for its resolution.

It was the choices and decisions made by generals and admirals the resulted in Germany fighting a two-front war without any credible strategy to resolve either let alone both. Hitler, as final arbiter, of course rubber stamped those choices and decisions and thus shares the responsibility.

Now, whilst it is true that Hitler originated the policy of attacking Russia, it was he who initiated the two-front war. However, it was the Heer that determined that that two-front war were both wars without any indication or plan on how or when they would be concluded. Remember, I wrote: "Professional military officers made the decisions that put Germany into a two-front war with no idea how or when either would be concluded,"

Moreover, if one believes the narrative that attacking Russia was all about Britain (I don't), that leads even more weight to the culpability of the generals and the admirals in strategic decision-making since, according to that narrative, that strategy only came about because the generals and the admirals had decided it was too risky to attack Britain directly. In that narrative, Hitler's decision to attack Russia was hostage to the generals and the admirals' decisions in respect of SEELOEWE.
doogal wrote:
25 May 2019 14:59
I do not see how its so hard to see choices and decisions made about strategic matters with strategic implications by design (not chance) as being strategic level decisions and denying that simply because the were not made by the final arbiter.
If you have a list of strategic decisions you believe that Hitlers high command made and engaged in without his approval please feel free to educate.
Why would I have such a list? I have never wavered from the historical reality that Hitler was the final arbiter.
doogal wrote:
25 May 2019 14:59
I am more than willing to alter my view if you can show me clearly why i should
I don't care whether you change your mind or not. I'm not trying to get you to change it, I'm merely presenting my understanding of the issue.

I have written several times that the difference is based upon you seeing strategic decision-making as exclusively the final arbiter's choice, whereas I see strategic decision-making as a process where, normally, more than one individual is making choices and decisions that carry the day.

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

Post by doogal » 25 May 2019 18:38

whereas I see strategic decision-making as a process where, normally, more than one individual is making choices and decisions that carry the day.
And there in lies the problem. This was not a "normal" situation and Hitler had changed the rules by investing himself with supreme authority and curtailing the authority of his high command.

I too see strategic decision making in the same terms that you do but those terms cannot always be applied verbatim to every situation, and i have added many times (in the case of Nazi Germany).

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

Post by MarkN » 25 May 2019 20:54

doogal wrote:
25 May 2019 18:38
whereas I see strategic decision-making as a process where, normally, more than one individual is making choices and decisions that carry the day.
And there in lies the problem. This was not a "normal" situation and Hitler had changed the rules by investing himself with supreme authority and curtailing the authority of his high command.
On the contrary. Dictatorial leadership is infinitely more common in the histograph of governance and leadership, especially at time of war, than leadership by (democratic) committee. Did Churchill expand the committee and decentralize decision-making process or did he centralize and streamline it and simplify the command structure? Constitutionally he didn't go anywhere as far as Hitler in the process, but just as much has been written about Churchill's meddling in military operations as has been written as about Hitler's. They just approached their meddling in different ways and for different reasons.

But even in a complete dictatorship, no one person can make all the decisions about everything all the time. Rarely will any decision by made spontaneously by a single person - let alone the important ones.

You have not denied that many people in Germany were making an infinite number of decisions. That was the reality. That was the normality. Your point is not that people were not needed or actually making decisions in Germany, but that none of those decisions were strategic because they weren't made by Hitler.

Our difference is based upon your belief that those decisions only became strategic level at the point when Hitler cast is vote. That point and only that point. Nothing before and nothing after. Generals can decide to implement a plan involving the unprovoked and unwarrented attack upon three neutral countries but, according to your belief, that is not a strategic level decision because Hitler didn't make it. Generals and admirals can determine/decide/dictate the conditions for an invasion already ordered by Hitler and thus the nature and state of hostilities with an enemy. But again, according to your belief, that is not a strategic level decision because Hitler didn't make it. I disagee. I believe those two examples are no less strategic in relevance, importance or rank than Hitler's subsequent or prior casting vote. To me they are separate stages of the same process.

Your belief is a closed loop: Hitler = strategic level = Hitler = strategic level = Hitler. To me, that understanding only serves as a device to absolve everybody from strategic level responsibility and put the entire blame upon the dead guy. It wasn't my fault, I was only following orders! Or, to use your words, It wasn't my fault, I was just a helper, an advisor, an indulger, a listener at planning sessions and of diatribes and an adherent trying to influence the almighty!
doogal wrote:
25 May 2019 18:38
I too see strategic decision making in the same terms that you do but those terms cannot always be applied verbatim to every situation, ...
Every single decision, of whatever level, has its own unique process. Each decision, whatever the level, thus has its own unique 'responsibility-construct'.

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