posted by malganis
I think Hitler should be on the list. He may have been the 'bad guy' but you have to respect him for his command and passion! He rallied his country
into taking over the most part of Europe and in the end it took an alliance of the most powerful nations to bring him down! [Edited by Don W]
I never thought of him. As a general. It is hard for me - maybe impossible - to be objective about Hitler. He has so much baggage, which we ought not
to ever overlook. (I had one cousin who got a Purple Heart at the Battle of the Bulge. A go-home wound.) Germans are by nature detail freaks. Last
month the History Channel showed a newly opened German achieves from War 2 containing 50 million files, including every mundane detail you can
imagine. Jewish people, on their way to die, had their head lice counted and categorized by size. Then the Jews had to sign their report. Which
achieves have become an invaluable asset in learning just who went where to die.
On the German people and why good people do bad things. Let me remind that Germany as a country was a wreck when Hitler came to power.
1933. The Great Depression was bad in the US, but it was worse in Germany. The Weimar Republic had been made a weak central government by design and
intention of the League of Nations. Germany was saddled with payment of war reparations beyond its ability to pay. The English liked it. The Americans
liked it. The French liked it. Germany would be kept from competing with their respective favorite industrialists. Money will out.
Inflation was extreme in Germany. Everyone’s savings had been wiped out. Indeed, inflation was accelerating so rapidly that saving was made
dangerous. What would buy a loaf of bread today, would not buy half a chaos tomorrow. Social chaos was barely days away. Worse than anarchy, Germany
was about to be plunged into savagery, into warring segments, each with its own war-lord. The end was in sight. You cannot imagine a worse condition
for an urbanized society. 1932.
The French had lost the 1869-1871 Franco-Prussian War and now in War 1, France had lost 3 million KIA out of a 40 million population. One third of its
single men. One third of its young woman would remain unmarried and childless. For the French it was the Dylan song, “War No More.” German
President Von Hindenburg was over 80 years old. He was never a political leader, but a war hero, a father figure and a replacement for the deposed
Kaiser. Hitler’s Nazi Party - National Socialists - much national, little social - had the largest block in the Bundestag but not a majority. When
he was named Chancellor - prime minister - he formed his first government with right wing parties.
Hitler may have been chosen because he was virulently anti-communist. Europe outside the new USSR was teetering between fascism on the right and
communism on the left. It was obvious capitalism as practiced in Europe in the 1920s-30s had failed to function economically. The propertied class
gambled on Hitler.
There was no grand conspiracy of the Krupp’s, Messchermitt’s, Farben’s and etc. Hitler was the supreme opportunist. He did not make his move
towards tyranny until the following year - 1934 - when Von HIndenburg died. Hitler persuaded the Bundestag to merge the office of president with
chancellor and to be called the Reich's Chancellor. It was yet another year of Nazi consolidation before he would assume dictatorial powers.
By this time, Hitler’s early supporters knew it was too late to stop him, but since Hitler was still a practicing capitalist, they hoped all would
turn out well. There was money, much money, to be made under Hitler's building programs and his not so subtle rearmament of Germany.
Everyone seems to agree the Battle of Stalingrad was the turning pont of War 2 in Europe. This may flatter the Soviets more than they
deserve. If the Allies had not have driven the Germans and Italians out of Africa, Hitler would have had the oil he desperately needed, from Iraq and
the Persian Gulf. Hitler would have either by-passed Stalingrad or never attacked it at all. It that case, he would have divided his army into 2
groups, and not 3. The resulting two stronger forces would have made easy picking of Moscow and Leningrad. No one realized then how significant
Rommel’s defeat in Africa would turn out to be. After discussing generals and leaders, it seems to me it is impossible to separate the military
from the political. There is some of both in any and more so in the really successful people.
Had the allies not split Italy away from the Axis Powers by defeating Italy in 1943, Hitler would not have had to put 40 divisions and some of his
best generals into the defense of Italy. Had not the Allies invaded France - two times - Hitler would have had 100 more divisions and more good
generals available to face the onslaught of Stalin’s two armies rushing to Berlin. The USSR might well have run out of manpower first, as Stalin
used it up so wantonly and so politically. Losing 3-4 soldiers for each German killed.
[edit on 1/2/2007 by donwhite]