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What went "wrong" on the Eastern Front?

Article about: If one looks away from the political aspects and look at the war on the Eastern Front form a strategically and tactical aspect, what made it turn out the way it did for the Axis side? Was it

  1. #31

    Default Re: What went "wrong" on the Eastern Front?

    This is an interesting topic. I feel one of Germany's biggest mistakes was it's political handling of the campaign, and you can't really separate this from the military aspect. This goes back to the old addage that 'war is politics by another means', and really any military action is quite useless unless it is backed up by some sort of political plan that makes sense, and is followed through. Germany's foreign policy was arrogant and, frankly, idiotic when you look at the size of the task. Not only this, but the internal politics of the National Socialist government was so lacking in direction on this issue that Germans were endlessly fighting each other about how to handle the east.

    A good example of this is Ukraine. Of all peoples in the then USSR, Ukrainians had no reason at all to fight for Stalin. The forced starvations in the 1930s alone killed as many people in a year as the entire German 'final solution'. Their culture and language had been suppressed, and they were treated worse than sh*t. As a result, they pretty much bent over backwards to help the Germans, not because of any real support for Nazism, but out of a dislike for Moscow and the cold reality that, like him or not, Hitler was the only force capable of taking Stalin out. They fielded the 14th SS Division, Schuma units and many others, and tried endlessly to form a political understanding with NS Germany.

    And what did they get for this? They got Reichskommissar Koch treating them like animals on the one hand, and thinkers such as Alfred Rosenberg trying to foster their support, with the rest of the Nazi hierarchy taking one side or another and infighting right up to the point where they lost the whole war. A horrible, inconsistent non-policy which not only ended up alienating Ukraine but set an awful example to the rest of the USSR.

    Had the Germans made a political decision to exploit the internal contradictions and issues within the USSR, and foster support from the non-Russian republics, they probably could have won the battle of the 'hearts and minds', and backed this up with the Wehrmacht on the ground. But they didn't. And so, as time went on, they ended up strengthening the Russian propaganda against themselves, creating a political 'scorched earth' that ended up burning them in the arse.

    Rob

  2. #32
    ?

    Default Re: What went "wrong" on the Eastern Front?

    Well spoken BTC. Also within the Russian part of USSR, the TR could have gained a lot of support, and actually did. Among others by General Pyotr Nikolayevich Krasnov. At the end of the war, Krasnov and his men voluntarily surrendered to British forces in Austria. All of them were promised upon surrender by Major Davis that they, as White Russian emigres, would not be repatriated to the Soviets. On May 28, 1945, Pyotr Krasnov was handed over to the Soviets by the British authorities in Operation Keelhaul. He was sentenced to death by the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court of the USSR, together with General Andrei Shkuro, Timofey Domanov and Helmuth von Pannwitz. On January 17, 1947, he was executed by hanging.... So much for that "Gentlemen" agreement.

  3. #33

    Default Re: What went "wrong" on the Eastern Front?

    Quote by Datrus View Post
    Well spoken BTC. Also within the Russian part of USSR, the TR could have gained a lot of support, and actually did. Among others by General Pyotr Nikolayevich Krasnov. At the end of the war, Krasnov and his men voluntarily surrendered to British forces in Austria. All of them were promised upon surrender by Major Davis that they, as White Russian emigres, would not be repatriated to the Soviets. On May 28, 1945, Pyotr Krasnov was handed over to the Soviets by the British authorities in Operation Keelhaul. He was sentenced to death by the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court of the USSR, together with General Andrei Shkuro, Timofey Domanov and Helmuth von Pannwitz. On January 17, 1947, he was executed by hanging.... So much for that "Gentlemen" agreement.
    Yes indeed. I understand this was part of the reason the British authorities refused to repatriate the men of the 14th SS Division, who they had imprisoned in Rimini, Italy, as they knew they would meet the same fate. In fact Canada ended up taking most of the division's men (and families that had managed to join them) and they were resettled here, in northern Alberta, which had a large Ukrainian population anyway. Others went to the UK. I actually met some of these veterans in my former job as a military publisher. Its a tragic story.

    Rob

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