Posted: Jan 05, 2013 5:17 pm
by Varangian
ED209 wrote:
susu.exp wrote:
Ihavenofingerprints wrote:So he thinks the soviets should be given the vast majority of credit for defeating Nazi Germany in the 1940's. And that all the focus on western battles is entirely disproportionate.

An interesting take on things, but is it accurate?

It´s accurate. The thing you can start a controversy about is whether the contribution of the western allies was that small because they were unable or unwilling to do more. Stalin was promised the opening of a western front again and again and then told that for some reason that´d be delayed. When D-Day came around the Soviet Union already controlled the area they had held prior to the German attack, with the resources to press onwards and could have probably taken all of Europe. That there finally was an invasion to some degree was about denying western europe to the SU. There was strong anti-soviet sentiment in the US and the UK and there are quite a few sources pointing to them mainly trying to forstall a german ground invasion of the UK and otherwise dragging on the war as long as possible, to leave the SU weakened post war....

Another interesting consideration is if stopping hitler (and not keeping stalin in check) was the overriding and primary concern of the western allies then how many were killed in concentration camps in 1943, 1944 that would not have otherwise died had they taken action earlier on.

Of course I must declare an interest here, because I do not hold exceptionally incoherent pro-establishment wealth-worshipping anarcho-capitalist beliefs then I clearly love the great stalin and all his works :coffee:

WW2 is still a hot issue, 68 years later... It is easy for some to point at the Western allies and accuse them for being tardy, but that is to ignore a couple of historical facts. The US Army was a peacetime army in 1941 when Japan attacked in the Pacific and Germany declared war shortly afterwards. The US armed forces was only some 150,000 men (IIRC); by the end of the war, 16 million had served. Building an army - training soldiers and not least officers ("90 day wonders"), and collecting materiel ranging literally from needles to battleships - takes some time. To achieve it in such short time is impressive. As for the British, a lot of heavy equipment (and plenty of personal equipment) had been lost when the BEF had to evacuate in 1940. Fighting the Battle of Britain and trying to keep the upper hand at sea took quite a bit of effort. In short, the Western allies were in no shape to mount an offensive on the European mainland in 1942. In 1943, the US (together with Brits and ANZAC troops) stemmed the Japanese advance in the Pacific. The Brits (plus Imperial troops and later the Americans) stopped the Germans in North Africa the same year.

When the tide had turned (basically, the Germans had lost the ability to mount strategic offensives), it was time to invade Europe. Unlike the Soviets, the Western Allies couldn't attack on a broad front; an invasion would have to be mounted from England, establishing a small bridgehead and expanding from it. A combined attack over a major body of water is vastly more complicated than deploying the same number of troops from positions on land. An invasion during the winter of 1943-44 would've run the risk of foul weather (it was bad enough as it was). Besides, the Western allies were democracies, and throwing soldiers at the enemy like Stalin did would've been unacceptable. Indeed, the Soviet losses could probably have been reduced if life hadn't been regarded as cheap in the USSR. Then there was the lend-lease aid, where the USSR received many thousands of tanks, trucks, trains, jeeps, planes and other supplies. Anyone claiming that the Western allies could've invaded Europe sooner are welcome to present a plausible plan based on historical facts and the intel they had back then.