We DIDN'T win the war!

in reality, all of this has been a total load of old bollocks
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We DIDN'T win the war!

Postby Jimbo » 10 Sep 2018, 16:55

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/arti ... k-WW2.html

Does this mean what we were told by our leaders and media isn't so? :o
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Re: We DIDN'T win the war!

Postby The Prof » 10 Sep 2018, 19:06

It's an interesting read and probably more than a grain of truth to it.

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Re: We DIDN'T win the war!

Postby Darkness_Fish » 11 Sep 2018, 09:12

I'm not clicking on a Daily Mail link.
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Re: We DIDN'T win the war!

Postby Jimbo » 11 Sep 2018, 09:31

Darkness_Fish wrote:I'm not clicking on a Daily Mail link.


Same article different site.

http://expressdigest.com/we-didnt-win-t ... about-ww2/
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Re: We DIDN'T win the war!

Postby caramba » 11 Sep 2018, 09:39

Darkness_Fish wrote:
I'm not clicking on a Daily Mail link.



And I'm not wasting my time reading Peter 'Bonkers' Hitchens' frothy-mouthed ravings

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Re: We DIDN'T win the war!

Postby The Prof » 11 Sep 2018, 10:17

He's not 100% wrong. Stopped clock and all that.

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Re: We DIDN'T win the war!

Postby Toby » 11 Sep 2018, 10:33

Hitchens talks a lot of sense. We didn't win the war economically or politically at all. In a manpower sense, in terms of losses, yes we were on the winning side. But we lost an Empire and we were economically devastated. In fact, we have never recovered to a stage that is the equal of our pre 1939 wealth. We had the largest merchant navy, the second largest fleet and manpower resources that the Germans could only dream of in terms of projecting our power around the globe. Politically there is no doubt that we have dropped off the radar since then.

Germany may have been devastated, but as Adam Tooze's excellent "Wages of Destruction" points out, by 1945 despite repeated bombardment, they had vital advances in chemical and modern manufacturing that made it absolutely a modern economy that only America was the equivalent of. Within 5 years Germany was back on its feet whilst Britain would ensure another 5 years of rationing.

Did Britain need to go to war in 1939? The answer really is no, as much as Poland certainly wasn't worth fighting for. Britain and France were simply not prepared for an armed conflict with Germany, whose military, whilst smaller, had modernized in the right places. There is no doubt that we wanted rid of Hitler, but the reality is that our impact on defeating him was minute. There was no serious plan to invade Britain because of the strength of the Royal Navy. Yes, our presence in Africa tied down resources, but any serious student of the conflict knows that 85% of Wehrmacht resources were gobbled up by the battle with the Soviet Union.

Britain's place in the world was made clear by Suez. Germany may not be at the chef's table on the UN, but it is an economic colossus in a way that Britain will never be.
Last edited by Toby on 11 Sep 2018, 10:43, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: We DIDN'T win the war!

Postby caramba » 11 Sep 2018, 10:35

Toby wrote:
Hitchens talks a lot of sense. We didn't win the war economically or politically at all. In a manpower sense, in terms of losses, yes we were on the winning side. But we lost an Empire and we were economically devastated. In fact, we have never recovered to a stage that is the equal of our pre 1939 wealth. We had the largest merchant navy, the second largest fleet and manpower resources that the Germans could only dream of in terms of projecting our power around the globe. Politically there is no doubt that we have dropped off the radar since then.

Did Britain need to go to war in 1939? The answer really is no, as much as Poland certainly wasn't worth fighting for. Britain and France were simply not prepared for an armed conflict with Germany, whose military, whilst smaller, had modernized in the right places.

Britain's place in the world was made clear by Suez.


Given the many, many times these observations have been made before, Hitchens can hardly be said to be breaking new ground in pointing them out

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Re: We DIDN'T win the war!

Postby Copehead » 11 Sep 2018, 10:45

Toby wrote:Hitchens talks a lot of sense. We didn't win the war economically or politically at all. In a manpower sense, in terms of losses, yes we were on the winning side. But we lost an Empire and we were economically devastated. In fact, we have never recovered to a stage that is the equal of our pre 1939 wealth. We had the largest merchant navy, the second largest fleet and manpower resources that the Germans could only dream of in terms of projecting our power around the globe. Politically there is no doubt that we have dropped off the radar since then.

Did Britain need to go to war in 1939? The answer really is no, as much as Poland certainly wasn't worth fighting for. Britain and France were simply not prepared for an armed conflict with Germany, whose military, whilst smaller, had modernized in the right places.

Britain's place in the world was made clear by Suez.


There are some problems with that analysis I'd say:

- The Empire was going anyway, the war may have hurried that process up by impoverishing the UK but not by much.
- Poland may have not been worth fighting for, that is a moral point, we had a treaty with them we were bound to honour, but appeasement hadn't worked up till then and continuing that failed policy wouldn't have suddenly worked.

Britain and France both had modern forces the equal of Germany's and larger numbers, what they didn't have was the tactics to use them properly; French tanks were actually superior to Britain's and Germany's but France was only prepared to fight a defensive war on its borders ( Maginot Line ) and once that had failed they suffered a moral collapse and they had no useable plans to deal with the changed situation. Britain had fighter aircraft that were in many ways inferior to Germany's but again had superior tactics in their management if not their combat use - Finger 4s being far superior to Vics defensively and offensively.
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Re: We DIDN'T win the war!

Postby The Prof » 11 Sep 2018, 11:41

Nobody in Britain wanted to fight another war in the 30s it's true, but Britain was rearming.
What Hitchens mentions is often forgotten about, Chamberlin did increase military spending enormously before the war.
As for invasion, there is evidence that Germany was building up a picture of Britain's infrastructure, power stations, water supplies etc. They even had boy scouts peddling around, spying. It's the RAF that would have posed the biggest problem for troops crossing the channel. The plans were ditched at some point (probably when the RAF started bombing German cities) and the Luftwaffe bombed London instead of airbases.

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Re: We DIDN'T win the war!

Postby Toby » 11 Sep 2018, 12:03

The Prof wrote:Nobody in Britain wanted to fight another war in the 30s it's true, but Britain was rearming.
What Hitchens mentions is often forgotten about, Chamberlin did increase military spending enormously before the war.
As for invasion, there is evidence that Germany was building up a picture of Britain's infrastructure, power stations, water supplies etc. They even had boy scouts peddling around, spying. It's the RAF that would have posed the biggest problem for troops crossing the channel. The plans were ditched at some point (probably when the RAF started bombing German cities) and the Luftwaffe bombed London instead of airbases.


The fact that Germany never built any landing craft for such a crossing suggests that invasion was never a long-term priority, only one that Hitler thought about once he had defeated France.

What clouds analysis of the Wehrmacht is that it was ultimately at the whim of a man whose military aptitude never really rose above that of a Quartermaster. It was populated with strategic geniuses, yet was led by a man who was a gambler, prone to throwing the dice. It worked for him spectacularly until 1941 and then his luck ran out.

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Re: We DIDN'T win the war!

Postby The Prof » 11 Sep 2018, 12:36

German landing craft were used in the Mediterranean and in the Baltic in the early 40s so they would certainly have been in development. The question is not wether Operation Sealion was a genuine military plan or not but at what point Hitler jacked the idea and how far advanced it was.

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Re: We DIDN'T win the war!

Postby Deebank » 11 Sep 2018, 12:40

The Prof wrote:German landing craft were used in the Mediterranean and in the Baltic in the early 40s so they would certainly have been in development. The question is not wether Operation Sealion was a genuine military plan or not but at what point Hitler jacked the idea and how far advanced it was.


Didn't they have troop barges stacked up in the channel ports?
I may have gleaned that 'fact' from the film The Battle Of Britain...
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Re: We DIDN'T win the war!

Postby The Prof » 11 Sep 2018, 12:43

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The little known invasion at Warmington-on-sea before being chased off by Walker and Pike

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Re: We DIDN'T win the war!

Postby Toby » 11 Sep 2018, 12:53

The issue is that the German military were exceptionally cautious in the main. Most of the senior field marshalls didn't like Hitler and before France none really expected that the Wehrmacht could take on and defeat France and England.

The German invasion of Norway was also seen as a pyrrhic victory for the Kriegsmarine - as Hitchens points out, they suffered heavy damage. I think the issue is that some historians have jumped on the hastily prepared Sea Lion documents as evidence of a long-standing commitment to invading England, which I think is anathema. Hitler, I suspect, would have only invaded England if it was absolutely necessary for him to protect Germany.

In 1940 Germany wasn't even anywhere near the industrial mobilisation that it hit in 1943 once the Russian front collapsed.

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Re: We DIDN'T win the war!

Postby Toby » 11 Sep 2018, 13:06

caramba wrote:
And I'm not wasting my time reading Peter 'Bonkers' Hitchens' frothy-mouthed ravings


That's a shame because he is arguably the most coherent and formidable journalist about. I don't think there is anyone on his level around personally - he is not afraid to tear down sacred cows and can pretty much destroy anyone - he might not have the celebrity gravitas of his late brother but he's on his level.

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Re: We DIDN'T win the war!

Postby Copehead » 11 Sep 2018, 13:37

Deebank wrote:
The Prof wrote:German landing craft were used in the Mediterranean and in the Baltic in the early 40s so they would certainly have been in development. The question is not wether Operation Sealion was a genuine military plan or not but at what point Hitler jacked the idea and how far advanced it was.


Didn't they have troop barges stacked up in the channel ports?
I may have gleaned that 'fact' from the film The Battle Of Britain...


Yes in Antwerp and the surrounding Scheldt.
As the film suggests they had barges and they had moved troops to the area to be able to board them if the order was given but I think it could only have happened if the UK had completely collapsed in terms of moral and ability to fight back.

Even if the RAF had been pushed back to the Midlands the Royal Navy would almost certainly have destroyed any invasion attempt as it happened with fantastic loss of German life.

Also Hitler wasn't really interested in the UK, he assumed they would come to terms eventually and he wanted to destroy the Soviet Union.

What is also forgotten about the battle of France and the battle of Britain is that they practically destroyed the Luftwaffe; their casualties were enormous and they were never the same afterwards. It obviously increased in size later in the war but the pre war Luftwaffe was destroyed by the end of 1940 along with most of the experienced pilots, it was never really a major threat again in the West.
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