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 » 20 May 2019 18:24

I can but apologise for the spurious use of "real" there was no intention to separate the meaning from the phrase strategic decisions.
As such the ability to make strategic decisions in the case of Nazi Germay refers to decisions made above army, army group OKH and OKW command levels.
These decisions are not limited to the start and end of a war rather they are a continuous process from before 1939 till 1945

I agree that each decision had an input from a range of intellects. But they were servicing a goal whose over riding character had already been expressed to them.

And I think there is a difference between "chance" which is the category which fits "strategic corporals" and authority to take strategic decisions.

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

Post by jesk » 20 May 2019 21:24

Paul Lakowski wrote:
17 May 2019 20:54
The answer is that no one has a monopoly on truth or information. Every ones history is dependent on their POV there education etc. Therefor no one is all right or wrong and every one is entitled to that POV. Best you expect is to state that and move on. Even 'conventional wisdom' is based on contemporary Geo political POV, with out those perspectives , the last 40 pages of argument have been a pointless waste of time.


Back in my day - NATO/WARPAC days of 70s/80s- no one was dumb enough to underestimate their enemies -be it Russians or Germans. War could break out any time and we needed each other. Likewise no one was dumb enough to believe the UK and/or the USA could win WW-II by themselves , let alone without the USSR.

I don't have an "axe to grind" like some around here -so I'm not interested in soapboxes. Some of the posts are worth reading.
You, and not only deviate to abstract reasoning. Like a lecture on the philosophy of war. Like that. It is important to specify the events of the story. Detailing points to Hitler's creator of defeat. Air battle for Britain, Dunkirk, turn to Kiev. Even during the preparation of the defense of Berlin, Hitler was mistaken. He suggested that the main blow would be in Czechoslovakia, thereby weakening the defense of Berlin.

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

Post by Sid Guttridge » 21 May 2019 06:36

Hi Guys,

Hitler wasn't just the creator of Germany's later defeats. He was the creator of its earlier victories.

In the 1930s the German Army command felt that Germany wasn't yet fully prepared for war. It considered the Rhineland remilitarization very high risk. It didn't prepare the plans for the occupation of Austria that Hitler requested at the end of 1937 and they had to be improvised in early 1938. Elements prepared a coup in the event that Hitler's actions over the Sudetenland precipitated a wider war. Hitler over rode them on every occasion and was successful. It was only from 1939 that their reluctance began to fall away.

It was Hitler whose political nerve successfully risked a war on two fronts in September 1939 and he was open to radical solutions in France in 1940 once existing plans had been compromised. Therefore Hitler was the key progenitor and facilitator of the policies that got Germany in a dominant position in late 1940/early 1941. However, he was blessed in that he inherited an excellent tool in the German Army.

However, thereafter Hitler was like a boy racer in a high powered Wehrmacht sports car. He pushed it to extremes and eventually crashed it. Meanwhile, competitors were building bigger and more powerful sports cars and driving them with more caution so that they stayed on the road for the win.

At the very time Hitler's luck or judgement began to run out, his earlier successes had undermined internal military resistance to him. The Army was therefore compliant in his failed ambitions over 1941-44 just at the point where putting the brakes on him became most important if Germany was to retain any of its conquests.

By the time of the July 1944 Bomb Plot it was too late for the Army command to save anything of the earlier successes, as the Allies had long since decided on unconditional surrender.

If Hitler had always listened to his generals, Germany may well have had few or none of its early successes.

Cheers,

Sid

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

Post by jesk » 21 May 2019 07:54

Sid Guttridge wrote:
21 May 2019 06:36

Hitler wasn't just the creator of Germany's later defeats. He was the creator of its earlier victories.

By the time of the July 1944 Bomb Plot it was too late for the Army command to save anything of the earlier successes, as the Allies had long since decided on unconditional surrender.
I do not think that Hitler expected fast defeat of France. Blitzkrieg it only repetition of old methods with use of modern arms. Starting with Dunkirk, 10 days before the Sedan. Hitler stopped tanks twice. Activity Hitler began to do only harm.

After an attempt failure, and even losing Berlin, Germans still kept Yugoslavia, Italy, Norway, Kurland. Obviously to you Sid it makes no difference. Analysis of fighting not your profile.

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

Post by Sid Guttridge » 21 May 2019 17:54

Hi Jesk,

I don't think Hitler expected rapid success in France of the sort achieved, either. My point is that, without Hitler, Germany would not have even got to the jump-off position to even try for it. It was his will and self-created constitutional position that over rode the reluctance of many in the German Army's high command to undertake many of the operations that proved successful against apparent odds over 1935-39.

If, as is contended by some here, Hitler threw away the fruits of early victories bylater ignoring the advice of his generals, equally those early victories often only came about for the same reason - he ignored the qualms of many of his senior soldiers.

Cheers,

Sid.

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

Post by doogal » 21 May 2019 18:42

I agree that is well recorded that there was suprise among the German high command and most others globally at the speed and success of Fall Gelb. And without Hitler as the driving force from 1933 it would not have happened in the same way. But while Hitler over rode the "qualms" of many of his Generals would it not be fair to say that many generals objections were based not on that they shouldn't operate offensively in Europe but rather in the manner in which they did so.

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

Post by jesk » 22 May 2019 09:30

There can be no dispute about the role of Hitler. Beginning with Dunkirk his actions were detrimental to Germany. Without Hitler, the USSR, the allies in Africa, Italy and Normandy, had no chance of success. Only the capitulation of all the enemies of Germany in Europe.

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

Post by doogal » 22 May 2019 11:06

Jesk....

"Without Hitler the USSR the allies in Africa Italy and Normandy had no chance of success"

I fail to see how you reach this conclusion.

I can't even add anything I'm speechless......

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

Post by MarkN » 22 May 2019 11:33

doogal wrote:
20 May 2019 18:24
As such the ability to make strategic decisions in the case of Nazi Germay refers to decisions made above army, army group OKH and OKW command levels.
And therein lies a major problem. Given the lack of representative and executive/legislative government, by that definition, strategic decisions were only those made by Hitler, himself and alone, in his capacity as dictatorial Reichskanzler. Which is a convenient way of either (a) creating the context to praise and blame Hitler exclusively for strategic decision-making and/or (b) to absolve everybody else for strategic decision-making. This leads to the rather convenient, I'm not responsible, I was only following orders refrain - which seems to have seeped into this understanding...
doogal wrote:
20 May 2019 18:24
I agree that each decision had an input from a range of intellects. But they were servicing a goal whose over riding character had already been expressed to them.
ie. Hitler was responsible for everything: the good and the bad, everybody else was just "...servicing a goal whose over riding character had already been expressed to them".

Unfortunately, this extreme black & white narrative is both unhelpful and overly simplistic.

Hitler was not just the dictatorial Reichskanzler; he was also Oberste Befehlshaber der Wehrmacht (Ob.d.W.). The Weisungen directing the conduct of the war were issued in the name of Der Fuehrer und Oberste Befehlshaber der Wehrmacht. More specifically, they were issued by the OKW not by the Reichskanzlei. The implication being that these directives were being issued by Hitler in his capacity as Ob.d.W. not Reichskanzler. Which, according to your definition, means they were not strategic decsions.

When Hitler issued the order to halt before Dunkirk was he acting as Reichskanzler or as Ob.d.W.? Was it a strategic decision or not? Was it even a decision to halt when the troops concerned were already halted?

Later, Hitler appointed himself Oberbefehlshaber des Heeres (Ob.d.H.). When he told a general what to do, was he giving that order as Reichskanzler, as Ob.d.W. or as Ob.d.H.? Was it a strategic decision or not?

Strategic decision-making was not a clean, black & white affair: Hitler said.... It was a very fuzzy, opaque and grey process of various people across many different disciplines advising and influencing.

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

Post by jesk » 22 May 2019 12:02

doogal wrote:
22 May 2019 11:06
Jesk....

"Without Hitler the USSR the allies in Africa Italy and Normandy had no chance of success"

I fail to see how you reach this conclusion.

I can't even add anything I'm speechless......
The Germans could take Moscow, Leningrad and Kiev in July 1941. Win the war. In Normandy, it is easy to destroy bridgeheads. Hitler kept many divisions from entering the battle under the pretext of waiting for new landings. Hundreds and hundreds of mistakes of Hitler. If still not aware, I am powerless ....

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

Post by doogal » 22 May 2019 12:07

I did not say Hitler was responsible for everything and I did not suggest that the decision making process was not opaque complicated or devoid of other interpretations of given situations by other actors. I simply state that he (Hitler)reserved the authority to make decisions at the strategic level for himself And when acting as C in C of the German army he involved himself in a range of decisions which were operational tactical and doctrinal. As a political/military leader he occupied the two highest offices with no separation or compartmentalization of duties and functions.
I do not absolve anyone involved in the process of formulating a model upon which a decision is made, and culpability is an acknowledged result in this context.
This is also not a black or white narrative or simplistic rather it is a factual representation of Hitlers use of executive power.

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

Post by AbollonPolweder » 22 May 2019 14:16

doogal wrote:
20 May 2019 18:24
...
As such the ability to make strategic decisions in the case of Nazi Germay refers to decisions made above army, army group OKH and OKW command levels.
These decisions are not limited to the start and end of a war rather they are a continuous process from before 1939 till 1945
...
To clarify the term Strategy it's useful to read this article from the wiki.
The strategic level is to be assigned to politics according to western understanding. The policy formulates the objective in a conflict of interest. It determines the basic procedure and makes use of all available means of power such as diplomacy, economy, information and military with regard to the achievement of objectives. A distinction is made between direct and indirect strategy. The direct strategy tries to impose the will of the other side on the main use or threat of the means of power "military". The indirect strategy, on the other hand, tries to enforce its own will, mainly using other means of power than that of the armed forces. Indirect and direct strategies are not mutually exclusive but rather complementary. They harmonize in interaction. The choice of means of power and approaches to achieving the goal - that is, the weighting of indirect and direct strategy - depends on both the vulnerability of the other side and on their own possibilities.

The Operational Level: Operational leadership translates political intentions and military strategy into orders to the tactical leadership. It defines operational goals, summarizes them into operative concepts, operation plans and operation commands and coordinates all necessary tactical and logistic measures.

The tactical level: At the tactical level, all things that fall into the sphere of the battle should be subsumed. The tactical level implements the objectives of the operational level by using its resources in the best possible interaction on the battlefield.
In the USSR, the concept of strategy was not relevant to politics and was viewed as a military term. For example, the army was the operational unit, and the army group or the front was already a strategic level.
https://sites.google.com/site/krieg1941undnarod/
Better to lose with a clever than with a fool to find

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

Post by doogal » 22 May 2019 15:04

I believe I stated in the "case of Nazi Germany ", where Hitler was the "formulator of policy", Wether he used indirect or direct strategy each strategic objective was of his choosing Or as a consequence of a state policy which was directed by him.
I fail to see how anyone can claim that he wasn't in the "case of Nazi Germany" the strategic decision maker.
But I stress I do not adhere to any claim that only Hitler should shoulder responsibility for what was in its breadth and scope a collective enterprise. But this does not change the fact that Der Fuhrer was exactly that, (Der Fuhrer)

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

Post by MarkN » 22 May 2019 16:11

doogal wrote:
22 May 2019 12:07
I did not say Hitler was responsible for everything and I did not suggest that the decision making process was not opaque complicated or devoid of other interpretations of given situations by other actors.
No you didn't. But what you did say was, "As such the ability to make strategic decisions in the case of Nazi Germay refers to decisions made above army, army group OKH and OKW command levels." By defining strategic decisions as being only those made above OKW level, at the political level, you are implying that only Hitler made strategic decisions since he was a dictatorial Reichskanzlar. By also saying that everybody else was, "servicing a goal whose over riding character had already been expressed to them." is effectively shoving all responsibility onto Hitler.

The way you define strategic decision-making does not seem to accord with your overal beliefs and understanding.

Nevertheless, in my book, those who helped Hitler decide what the goal was, or shaped what that goal was, who advised him or influenced him on what that goal was, are no less complicit. They were not just servicing it. The strategic decisions to delay and cancel Seelowe were made by generals and admirals. Hitler, at best, rubber-stamped those decisions. Just like before Dunkirk: Hitler didn't make the decision to halt the pantsers, he rubber-stamped Rundstedt's existing decision (based upon Kluge's advice) rather than rubber-stamp Brauchitsch/Halder's decision.
doogal wrote:
22 May 2019 12:07
I simply state that he (Hitler)reserved the authority to make decisions at the strategic level for himself And when acting as C in C of the German army he involved himself in a range of decisions which were operational tactical and doctrinal.
Nobody is denying that Hitler, as dictatorial Reichskanler was the final arbiter and decision-maker in Berlin.

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.
doogal wrote:
22 May 2019 12:07
...it is a factual representation of Hitlers use of executive power.
It may well be. But it comes across as a very poor understanding of how strategies are created and developed and decisions made.

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

Post by doogal » 22 May 2019 19:06

Again I no in way disagree with the complicity of Nazi or other German generals .
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.
Rather it describes the structure of authority in the German Reich and the culpability of its highest office.
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 understand that Hitler was not solely responsible for the development of strategic ideas.
But the policies he engaged in formed the strategic rationale and direction of the Nazi state, which his Military was bound to.

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