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

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

Post by doogal » 25 May 2019 21:51

MarkN wrote - 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!
As you have said you agree on the following
MarkN wrote - I have never wavered from the historical reality that Hitler was the final arbiter.
So i would proffer that he created a closed loop so Hitler = strategic decision = High command opinions = amended version of Hitlers idea = Hitler final decision = implementation. It does not serve as a device to absolve anyone.
On the contrary. Dictatorial leadership is infinitely more common in the history of governance and leadership, especially at time of war, than leadership by (democratic) committee.
While this is true it does not preclude each Dictator creating a specific command style. Some learn to delegate authority to there high commands.
We see this in Stalin who changed his approach to command between 1941 and 1943. Hitler was the literal opposite of this he drew the offices of authority towards himself from day one.
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.
Was this not one of Hitler problems in that he attempted to do this ???
Our difference is based upon your belief that those decisions only became strategic level at the point when Hitler cast is vote.
Possibly our definition of what is a strategic decision differs as well

Was strategic decision making a joint process in Nazi Germany its a good question

Did Hitler the Heer or the Wehrmacht (i know your position is that they did it as a single body)

1939 - decide to attack Poland (risking war with Britain and France).
1939 - decide that the Pact of steel could be entered into.
1940 - decide to attack in the west (the decision to invade Holland and Belgium has to be seen in the context of the original choice and was an operational level choice by his high command).
1940 - decide to attack Norway.
1941 - decide to attack Yugoslavia/Greece/Crete.
1941 - decide to attack the USSR and create a two front war with no idea of how to bring the conflict to an end.

I am unconvinced that these strategic level decisions were made by any one other than Hitler. They were choices only he could make
but just as much has been written about Churchill's meddling in military operations as has been written as about Hitler's.
Nazi Germany did not have a George C Marshall or an Alan Brook who had the required level of influence to temper a war leader or input military reality in regards of means and ends. And while these men took extra plenipotentiary powers as many Democratic leaders do they were still subject to review by the institutions of there countries. Nazi Germany had no checks or balances on the limits of Hitlers executive power.

I will say though that not see-ing eye to eye is a positive experience for me and i will consider carefully your position and re visit my own beliefs to give myself a broader understanding of the different points of view you have offered.

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

Post by MarkN » 26 May 2019 14:16

doogal wrote:
25 May 2019 21:51
I will say though that not see-ing eye to eye is a positive experience for me and i will consider carefully your position and re visit my own beliefs to give myself a broader understanding of the different points of view you have offered.
I've written several times already that each person has a different definition or understanding of what the words strategic and strategy mean. No one person holds divine right to having their definition accepted as the one true definition. The very same reality permeates across everything, not just those two words. I regularly comment that ljadw posts ahistorical fantasy narratives. But if she/he wants to believe it, so be it. For myself, I'm having a bit of fun. For others, I offer a health warning!

I make no attempt to change others' opinions and beliefs. I make no attempt to 'prove' anybody wrong. Both are a fool's errands. I post what I believe based upon what I have read - which is generally primary documented evidence not other people's narratives. Sadly, far too many people on the internet and in real life, seem to think the purpose of discussion is (a) to seek out sycophants; (b) to promote a particular narrative; and, (c) to be proclaimed as the 'winner' of the discussion - often by whatever means possible - very often by the last-man standing rule.

It's nice to see that you are engaging in this discussion for the purpose of exchanging ideas, thoughts and opinions. Apart from when I'm having a bit fun pointing out the abject stupidity in somebody's posts, that's all I am ever doing here on ahf and elsewhere. Sadly, others seem to assume I'm posting for the same reasons as they - see (a), (b) and (c) above - and thus engage in a war of words.
doogal wrote:
25 May 2019 21:51
MarkN wrote - 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!
As you have said you agree on the following
MarkN wrote - I have never wavered from the historical reality that Hitler was the final arbiter.
So i would proffer that he created a closed loop so Hitler = strategic decision = High command opinions = amended version of Hitlers idea = Hitler final decision = implementation. It does not serve as a device to absolve anyone.
I disagree. I'm pretty sure this closed-loop was not created by you, nor by Hitler, but by others post-war deliberately promoting the idea that generals and admirals were, for the most part, decent, honest, moral and honorable fellows that were following orders through gritted teeth. I suspect that narrative has its origins in the immediate post war interrogations and narratives offered by the generals and admirals themselves to their captors. I fear that you have, perhaps, bought into that narrative and determination to absolve all but the dead guy. It is, unfortunately, a very common and even more popular narrative that many are desperate for others to accept. Look at Sid Gutteridge's last post in this thread.
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.
Whether consciously or sub-consciously, he has bought into this narrative so deeply that he sees no embarrassment in posting this nonsense.
When German generals had to defend their country, deep into 1944, from Slavic and English speaking barbarians knocking at the door, it was not the time to consider resigning. The time for that was when they were leading their troops in unprovoked aggression against other sovereign states. So, is his post a simple promotion of Nazi propaganda that they had the right to defend their country on the Atlantic, the Mediterrannean and the Volga? Or is his post a sad and embarrassing reflection of his construct on the responsibility of decision-making and actions of the Reich?

Back to the closed-loop and what appears to be your understanding of strategic in this issue.

Personally, my understanding of strategic is derived from the gravity of the decision and the scale of its possible consequences - often measured by the negative consequences, but also the positive ones. For me, it is a combination of these two (gravity and consequence) with gravity being the dominant factor. For example, the deliberate and conscious decision to take your state to war with another sovereign state is a strategic decision. To me, it is irrelevant who makes it. To me it is irrelevent how many stages of approval it has to pass before implementation. Over the past three decades, I've found that most people I have ever discussed this with have a similar understanding - albeit they may explain it with different words. What is normally the point of divergence is what level the start threshold is for non-strategic to become strategic.

Reading you posts, I have the impression that you have (in addition to those two) a third component and that third componenent is by far the most dominant. That componenent being that a strategic decision is the preserve of only the very highest decision-making body or office in the state. In the Reich's instance, a decsion by Hitler and only Hitler. So, if general X decides its a good idea to go to war with Belgium, it's not a strategic decision. If Hitler decides to go to war with Belgium, it is a strategic decision. Little or nothing to do with gravity or consequence; everything to do with the body/office/person. And I can see logic to that - although I don't agree with it. That logic being that is it really a decision if it needs subsequent approval from some higher body/office/person? I disagee because, for me, the decision was made by the general, the approval was given by the higher body. All part of the same process.

But then I remembered an earlier post of yours. A post where you seem to be in a bit of a dilemma (my underlining and bold).
doogal wrote:
15 May 2019 21:45
And quite frankly I don't consider any German generals to have taken any real strategic decisions or implemented them .... I believe Hitler was the final arbiter of strategic decisions. ... (maybe in Italy von viettinghoff surrendering or maybe von arnim in Tunisia they had strategic ramifications ???
- If strategic decisions are decisions that are made by Hitler and Hitler only, then there is no maybe about it. Those decisions were not strategic.
- If strategic is determined by who makes the decision and to be strategic it has to be made by the highest body in the land, then there is no maybe about it. Those decisions were not strategic.
- If strategic is determined by not requiring a higher body to approve that decision - irrespective of whether a higher body exists or not - then there is no maybe about it. Those decisions were indeed strategic - unless you place the level of strategic above that gravity and consequence.

It seems to me that your maybes are generated by a dilemma that you have not yet resolved. Part of you is pulling you to considering them strategic based upon their gravity and consequence, another part of you is denying this because Hitler didn't cast his vote. And that is where the closed-loop comes in and causes you to post things like this:
doogal wrote:
25 May 2019 21:51
Did Hitler the Heer or the Wehrmacht (i know your position is that they did it as a single body)

1939 - decide to attack Poland (risking war with Britain and France).
1939 - decide that the Pact of steel could be entered into.
1940 - decide to attack in the west (the decision to invade Holland and Belgium has to be seen in the context of the original choice and was an operational level choice by his high command).
1940 - decide to attack Norway.
1941 - decide to attack Yugoslavia/Greece/Crete.
1941 - decide to attack the USSR and create a two front war with no idea of how to bring the conflict to an end.

I am unconvinced that these strategic level decisions were made by any one other than Hitler. They were choices only he could make
The closed-loop has you thinking soley along the lines: only Hitler can make a strategic decision, a decision can only be a strategic decision if Hitler has made it, QED if Hitler hasn't made it it's not strategic

Thus, you have been lead to post a series of decisions that fit the closed-loop and feel obliged to bracket, deny and excuse away identical decisions that don't fit the closed-loop. Why is the decision to go to war with the Netherlands not strategic because that decision flowed from military planning, whereas the decision to go to war with Russia is strategic because it flowed from racist ideology? The gravity of each is identical. The consequences probably differ. The closed-loop construct has prevented you from entertaining these thoughts.

In my opinion, Hitler decided to attack Russia. No question about it - except from some with silly fantasy narratives. But the decision to create, promote and implement a miltary plan that started a war without any indication of how or when it would be resolved is also a strategic decision. Strategic based upon gravity and consequence. To you, closed-loop, it's not strategic because it wasn't Hitler's decision.

In my opinion, Hitler decided to attack westwards after Britain and France had placed themselves at war with Germany. No question about it - except from some with silly fantasy narratives. But the decision to create, promote and implement a miltary plan to take Germany to war with the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg were also strategic decisions. The gravity and conseqence of going to war with them was, in some way greater than responding to Britain and France's war declarations. To you, closed-loop, it's not strategic because it wasn't Hitler's decision.

The von Arnim and von Vietinghoff examples demonstrate the inbuilt weakness of the closed-loop construct.

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

Post by doogal » 26 May 2019 15:22

I disagree. I'm pretty sure this closed-loop was not created by you, nor by Hitler, but by others post-war deliberately promoting the idea that generals and admirals were, for the most part, decent, honest, moral and honorable fellows that were following orders through gritted teeth. I suspect that narrative has its origins in the immediate post war interrogations and narratives offered by the generals and admirals themselves to their captors. I fear that you have, perhaps, bought into that narrative and determination to absolve all but the dead guy.


While i do hold the view that strategic decision making (maybe i am using the wrong terminology here perhaps i should have used the phrase deciding the strategic direction??) was Hitler prerogative i do not hold the views stated in this paragraph:
I do not at all absolve anyone
But the decision to create, promote and implement a miltary plan to take Germany to war with the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg were also strategic decisions.
The creation promotion and implementation of a military plan follows from a strategic choice by Hitler, for example Hitlers decides to attack in the west following Britain and France declaring war, he spells this out to his high command who then have to create and promote a plan of attack. They include in this plan the violation of the sovereignty of the Netherlands Belgium and Luxembourg: Now are they doing this from a strategic standpoint, or are they using these violations to make it operationally simpler to attack France ??. I agree that in the case of the Netherlands and Belgium that control of the coast and Harbours can be considered strategic objectives, but in the context of attacking France they are being used to facilitate that goal. Is there a element of a strategic level decision to choose this option? (i would be a fool to say not at all) but it is subordinate to the operational needs of the Army and Hitlers strategic direction: Surely they realised that in attacking France who had Britain as an ally that they would have to transgress the sovereignty of other countries to achieve this.

ps.. when and if i stray into historical fantasy please feel fun to poke fun at me too.........

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

Post by AbollonPolweder » 26 May 2019 18:45

MarkN wrote:
24 May 2019 10:30
...
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.
...
Only that rubber stamping made Hitler a strategy decision maker. All others (generals and admirals) were sources of information for decision making.
Let's take a look at these definitions of decision maker:
- a person who decides things, especially at a high level in an organization (Harvard)
- a person who makes important decisions (Oxford)
As you see it's all about the person but not about people taking part in the process ...
Or decision makers would be something different? And what about decisionS maker or makers?
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Re: where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Post by jesk » 26 May 2019 19:40

More material for business reasoning about Hitler and the generals not listening to him. So, Mincemeat ...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Mincemeat

Operation Mincemeat was a successful British deception operation of the Second World War to disguise the 1943 Allied invasion of Sicily. Two members of British intelligence obtained the body of Glyndwr Michael, a tramp who died from eating rat poison, dressed him as an officer of the Royal Marines and placed personal items on him identifying him as the fictitious Captain (Acting Major) William Martin. Correspondence between two British generals which suggested that the Allies planned to invade Greece and Sardinia, with Sicily as merely the target of a feint, was also placed on the body.

German reaction; outcome
On 14 May 1943 Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz met Hitler to discuss Dönitz's recent visit to Italy, his meeting with the Italian leader Benito Mussolini and the progress of the war. The Admiral, referring to the Mincemeat documents as the "Anglo-Saxon order", recorded

The Führer does not agree with ... [Mussolini] that the most likely invasion point is Sicily. Furthermore, he believes that the discovered Anglo-Saxon order confirms the assumption that the planned attacks will be directed mainly against Sardinia and the Peloponnesus.[107]

Hitler informed Mussolini that Greece, Sardinia and Corsica must be defended "at all costs", and that German troops would be best placed to do the job. He ordered that the experienced 1st Panzer Division be transferred from France to Salonika.[108][109] The order was intercepted by GC&CS on 21 May.[110] By the end of June, German troop strength on Sardinia had been doubled to 10,000, with fighter aircraft also based there as support. Two panzer divisions were moved to the Balkans from the Eastern Front;[n 11] German torpedo boats were moved from Sicily to the Greek islands in preparation. Seven German divisions transferred to Greece, raising the number present to eight, and ten were posted to the Balkans, raising the number present to eighteen.[111]

On 9 July the Allies invaded Sicily in Operation Husky. German signals intercepted by GC&CS showed that even four hours after the invasion of Sicily began, twenty-one aircraft left Sicily to reinforce Sardinia.[113] For a considerable time after the initial invasion, Hitler was still convinced that an attack on the Balkans was imminent,[114] and in late July he sent General Erwin Rommel to Salonika to prepare the defence of the region. By the time the German high command realised the mistake, it was too late to make a difference.[115]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Mincemeat

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

Post by doogal » 26 May 2019 19:59

More material for business reasoning about Hitler and the generals not listening to him
Have we changed thread jesk ??????

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

Post by jesk » 26 May 2019 20:02

doogal wrote:
26 May 2019 19:59
More material for business reasoning about Hitler and the generals not listening to him
Have we changed thread jesk ??????
"where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?" - everything seems logical to me

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

Post by AbollonPolweder » 28 May 2019 13:58

MarkN wrote:
23 May 2019 17:18
...
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.
No sir! The decision is not a process, at least in English, if the Cambridge Dictionary does not deceive us. Decision - a choice that you make about something after thinking about several possibilities. That is, the decision is the POINT of the beginning of the process, the break and the end, but not the process itself. In Russian, the decision can be both a choice and a process. It seems that your native language is Russian. Or I'm wrong?
MarkN wrote: 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.
“... a limited landgrab ...” The same “limitation” was in Directive No. 6 For The Conduct Of The War October 9, 1939:
: (b) The purpose of this offensive will be to defeat as much as possible of the French Army and of the forces of the Allies fighting on their side, and at the same time to win as much territory as possible in Holland, Belgium, and Northern France, to serve as a base for the successful prosecution of the air and sea war against England and as a wide protective area for the economically vital Ruhr Basin.
France, as you remember, was at first partially occupied, and then in November 1942, Hitler decided to complete “a limited landgrab” with “Unternehmen Anton”. Similarly, he could have imagined that Barbarossa would end after some time, say, with the operation “Anton Ivanovich”. :wink:
MarkN wrote: 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.
Halder July 13, 1940 recorded a completely opposite:
The Fuehrer is greatly puzzled by Britain*s persisting unwillingness to make peace. He sees the answer (as we do) in Britain's hope on Russia, and therefore counts on having to сompel her by main force to agree to peace. Actually that is much against his grain. The reason is that a military defeat 'of Britain will bring about the disintegration of the British Empire. This would not be of any benefit to Germany. German blood would be shed to accomplish something that would benefit only Japan, the United States and others.
And July 22 :
c) Crossing of Channel appears very hazardous to the Fuehrer. On that account, invasion is to be under taken only if no other means is left to сome to terms with Britain.
Admiral Raeder will try to convince the Fuhrer before the summer of 1941 that England is the most dangerous enemy which must be attacked first.
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Re: where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Post by jesk » 03 Jun 2019 08:58

MarkN wrote:
25 May 2019 16:20
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.
This is fantasy. At best, taken out of context. Germany could easily occupy England. It is even easier to defeat the USSR. In the spring of 1943, on the orders of Hitler, the number of divisions in Norway increased to 14. In Yugoslavia from 10 to 18, in Greece from 1 to 8. 40 divisions fell into inaction. If half of them were on the eastern front, Stalin is over. Or allies in Sicily. Mussolini was leaning toward Sicily as a landing site. Hitler did not believe it. Sardinia and the Balkans worried him more.
Norway, Yugoslavia, Greece instead of Sicily and Kursk. And this is the choice of Hitler. In addition, he also canceled the evacuation plan for 10 divisions from the Taman Peninsula in the spring of 1943. They remained there in inaction.
This is called sabotage. Actions to the detriment of Germany. The Germans could and should have achieved decisive victories in 1943!

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

Post by ljadw » 03 Jun 2019 11:20

How could the Germans easily occupy Britain ? Maybe by ordering some 40 divisions to go to Britain by swimming ?

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

Post by jesk » 03 Jun 2019 12:02

ljadw wrote:
03 Jun 2019 11:20
How could the Germans easily occupy Britain ? Maybe by ordering some 40 divisions to go to Britain by swimming ?
There was a change of strategy. September 7th. It was already discussed and you do not agree. But dozens of sources say about Hitler’s mistake. He should not have bombed London and other cities.

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

Post by ljadw » 03 Jun 2019 13:14

jesk wrote:
03 Jun 2019 12:02
ljadw wrote:
03 Jun 2019 11:20
How could the Germans easily occupy Britain ? Maybe by ordering some 40 divisions to go to Britain by swimming ?
There was a change of strategy. September 7th. It was already discussed and you do not agree. But dozens of sources say about Hitler’s mistake. He should not have bombed London and other cities.
Even without the bombings of London, the Germans could not swim over the Channel .And there was no change of strategy on September 7 : Liverpool was already attacked on August 28 .

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

Post by jesk » 03 Jun 2019 13:42

ljadw wrote:
03 Jun 2019 13:14
jesk wrote:
03 Jun 2019 12:02
ljadw wrote:
03 Jun 2019 11:20
How could the Germans easily occupy Britain ? Maybe by ordering some 40 divisions to go to Britain by swimming ?
There was a change of strategy. September 7th. It was already discussed and you do not agree. But dozens of sources say about Hitler’s mistake. He should not have bombed London and other cities.
Even without the bombings of London, the Germans could not swim over the Channel .And there was no change of strategy on September 7 : Liverpool was already attacked on August 28 .
Have you hear about Pearl Harbor? German aircraft could do the same with the British fleet. Until September 7, dozens of aircraft participated in the raids on cities. After the bill went on hundreds. With a complete rejection of military purposes.

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

Post by Hanny » 03 Jun 2019 18:46

ljadw and jesk in full throttle, sadly its because of these two fuckwitz sane people no longer post here.
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Re: where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Post by Richard Anderson » 03 Jun 2019 19:05

Hanny wrote:
03 Jun 2019 18:46
ljadw and jesk in full throttle, sadly its because of these two fuckwitz sane people no longer post here.
You noticed that too? Sad isn't it? Fuckwitism used to be at least moderately controlled. Use the ignore button. It helps.
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