The Instigator
inaudita
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Atheist-Independent
Con (against)
Winning
7 Points

Germany (along with its allies) had the military capacity to win the second world war

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
Atheist-Independent
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/19/2014 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 968 times Debate No: 65479
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (12)
Votes (2)

 

inaudita

Pro

I shall be arguing that Germany, at the outset of the War, had the military capacity to obtain its goals, and only through strategic blunders on its part was it defeated.

Con may begin the debate first. The concession of any rounds will lead to a fft.
Atheist-Independent

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
inaudita

Pro

While it should be admitted that Hitler's allies were shaky he had it within his grasp to defeat the Soviet Union almost completely before the beginning of 1942. Hitler could have left the Soviet Union damaged almost certainly beyond repair in 1941 if he had taken Moscow. The failure to take Moscow should be blamed mainly on Hitler himself. He chose to take Kiev before Moscow in 1941, leaving the Moscow assault to be done in the winter. The Germans had the military capacity to take Moscow during the summer. On 18 Aug 1941 the Army High Command (OKW) presented Hitler with its plan for the autumn campaign, which designated Moscow as the key objective. On 22 Aug, however, Hitler rejected the OKW plan & decided instead to strip Army Group Center of both of its 2 panzer armies, sending one to support Army Group North which was assaulting Leningrad & the other to support Army Group South assaulting Kiev. These new dispositions were in effect by 25 Aug. Army Group North arguably made no better progress with 2 panzer armies than it could have with only 1, but Army Group South won one of the largest encirclement battles of the war, took the city of Kiev, captured over 450,000 Soviet troops, & positioned itself for a thrust all the way to the Don River & the southern city of Rostov, which it captured before the end of the year (& then had to abandon during the winter).[1] Despite the seeming victory in Kiev, these battles ignored the strategic importance of Moscow. An assault on Moscow would have taken or at least damaged the main rail connections in the Soviet Union, effectively leaving the armies in the Archangel and Caucuses regions detached as well as taking or destroying the important production area that Moscow and its suburbs were.
This of course should not be ignored as the only reason the Germans failed to take Moscow. It is widely acknowledged that the Russian winter is what eventually stopped the Germans. The delay of the German offensive against the Soviet Union caused by the invasions of Yugoslavia and Greece, which caused a delay of approximately 4 weeks, was also disastrous for the German armies. That 4 weeks very well may have been enough for the German armies to take Moscow and celebrate Christmas in the great city as they had planned months before even with the minor strategic faults in their plan.
These two points also should be remembered:
1. Germany had allies in Europe. These allies would eventually grow to be the countries Italy, Rumania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, and Finland.
2. Germany easily took France, Poland, Yugoslavia, and Greece along with the help of its allies. This left them in control over almost the entirety of Europe.

[1]http://www.alternatehistory.com......
Atheist-Independent

Con

ARGUMENT
I would like to thank my opponent for creating this debate. I am always willing to debate a fellow history lover!


For my argument I am going to divide it up into three fundamental divisions. These being:

D1: Technological Flaws
D2: Production Flaws
D3: Failures of Allies

Keep note, I will be heavily utilizing John Mosier's Cross of Iron, so it will be my sole source for this round. Anyways, Lets begin!


D1: Technological Failures

D1.1. The Luftwaffe

It is often considered that Germany had one of the finest air forces in the world during World War II. This, as I will show, is a lie. German airplanes solely succeed so well because there were so many of them, and that they could take enormous losses and still technically succeed in their mission. There are numerous examples of this. One example is the invasion of the Netherlands. The Germans intended to utilize huge amounts of paratroopers so as to defeat the small Dutch army. While this did succeed eventually, it was not without great cost. Of the 430 Ju-52 Transport Planes deployed over the Netherlands, more than half (280) were destroyed. What makes this fact even more depressing is that the Dutch air force had just 123 aircrafts at the time of the invasion. One more example would be the Battle of Britain. Often times people consider the Battle of Britain as a terrifying example of German might, especially in the air. This is once again the product of propaganda from both the Nazi's and by Churchill. At the time of the original invasion, the Luftwaffe had over 2,800 aircrafts stationed in the Western Theatre. However, by the time the Battle of Britain had been called off, over 1,700 planes had been destroyed. How come? For a number of reasons, but mainly because of the British technological superiority. The RAF (Royal Air Force) had far superior fighters and also had established anti-aircraft defenses while the Germans had failed to do so. In order to counter the British fighters, the Germans would need one as well, however their only long-range fighter, the Me-110, was an absolute failure. Also, in order to escape the anti-aircraft defenses, the Germans decided to bomb at night. All this did was decrease the accuracy of the German bombers and essentially fail to bomb any of their targets.

D1.2. Panzer

Again, myth tells us that the German tanks were the most superior tanks in the world and that they absolutely decimated any other tank. This, again, is a lie. The first German tanks, the Mark 1 and Mark 2, were essentially identical tanks. Both tanks had pathetic defensive armor at about 15 millimeters. Both also had puny guns, just 2.0 centimeters, which were inferior to any other type of gun in all of Europe. Also, these tanks were ridiculously heavy despite their other tiny features, which again adds into its inferiority. To make a lighter tank, the Germans produced the Mark 3, which despite its intentions, weighed about the same as the Marks 1 and 2. The Mark 4 finally was a tank that was at all usable in combat. It had much thicker armor and had the largest gun yet, at 7.5 centimeters. However the problem is that the German tanks still were not the best tanks in the world, by far. The Soviet tanks were far superior to the German tanks even back in 1929 when the first T-26 tank was produced. The T-26 had somewhat thicker armor than the Mark 4 and had a massive 45-millimeter gun with incredible range. To make things worse, by the time of Barbarossa the Soviets had improved further upon their tanks when they made the T-34 tanks. These Soviet tanks absolutely decimated the Germans designs in all combat.

D2. Production Flaws

The primary reason for why the Germans lost was not because of their inferior technology, because we see that the Germans had great success even with the inferior Mark 4 tanks and their outdated air force, but because of their inability to make mass production of military products like the US and the Soviet Union could. For example, in 1940 just 1,460 tanks had been produced, and 3/4 of them had been either the Marks 1,2, or 3. Fortunately for the Wermacht, this number nearly tripled in 1942 to 4,198 tanks yet when we compare the production in Germany to the US or USSR it is a puny figure. In 1943-1944 the US had produced a staggering amount of 40,000 Sherman Tanks, and had shipped, along with Britain, 12,755 tanks to the Soviet Union. In the USSR they had produced nearly 60,000 far superior T-34 tanks in the span of the Barbarossa invasion.

One reason for this failure to produce weapons was that the very philosophy of National Socialism contradicted it. Hitler disdained the American capitalism and the Soviet industries and thought that they were unnecessary. In a speech by seasoned Nazi member Otto Ohlendorf he claimed that:

"We must view and test every economic structure in terms of whether in allows the full development of the basis characteristics of the German... The goods we produce after the war are not so essential; what is essential is that we preserve and develop the substance of our biological values..."

In essence, Ohlendorf is displaying the Nazi disgust towards capitalism, and by extension, the unwillingness of the Wermacht to evolve to fix their clearly flawed military industry.


D3. Failure of Allies

D3.1. Italy

The primary failure of Italy is quite similar to the German problem: their inability to produce military products. While in the case of Italy, they simply did not have enough supplies to give to their armies, while their production of tanks and planes was fine. This is why the Italians lost the War of North Africa despite their clear numerical advantage. At the start of the war, Italians had 14 divisions (170,000 men) in North Africa, and 280,000 men in Ethiopia (due to the invasion of Ethiopia in 1936). The African campaign originally looked like it was going well, however almost comically the invasion failed because of one reason: Greece. While this may sound absurd, allow me to explain. Hitler had been pressuring Italy and his allies in Eastern Europe (Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia) to invade the Allied Greece. Italy, due to their military superiority, led the invasion. It should have been a fairly easy invasion as the Greeks were literally still equipped with rifles from the beginning of the 20th century. In fact, the invasion was fairly easy, however it came with great cost. The Italians simply did not have the supplies to continue a war on two different fronts, especially two fronts on different continents. The Greek invasion required a huge amount of supplies, supplies that were being pulled out of Africa. As is the case with desert warfare, one cannot succeed without supplies. As the Italians were suddenly devoid of supplies they were ultimately defeated by well supplied British troops.


D3.2. Japan

Japan is probably the most competent of the Axis powers. They were able to continue a war against the Soviet Union and on practically all of China without much strain. However, the Japanese proved to be a thorn in the Germans side after they foolishly bombed Pearl Harbor. Pearl Harbor caused the Americans to enter the war, almost overnight. Loyal to his ally, Hitler declared war on the US as well. Hitler assumed that the US could not be much of a threat, as they were an ocean away, but again he was wrong. The US is one of the major reasons why the USSR could fend off the Germans (not because of strategic errors of the German Army). As I showed in D2, the Americans were the best producers of military technology in the world and was incredibly efficient at shipping that technology to their allies, especially the Soviet Union. Had Japan not bombed Pearl Harbor, it is likely that the US never would have entered the war and it is likely that Germany would have defeated the Soviet Union.


Conclusion

Germany lost WWII for many reasons, however failure to make adequate strategy was not one of them. The inability to produce sufficient tanks and planes greatly hurt the German war campaign, as well as their inability to produce them. Hitler's loyal support of his allies in Italy and Japan also provided great problems as it got his into multiple unnecessary conflicts. Overall, the German war machine was not anywhere near to as superior as we are led to believe, and they would have been unable to win the war either way.


Sources

[1] http://books.google.com...
Debate Round No. 2
inaudita

Pro

Rebuttals
D1: Technological Failures

D1.1. The Luftwaffe
Despite the fact that one may argue of British air superiority, the destruction of the British air defences was within days of destruction. The loss of the Battle of Britain was due to strategic blunders of Goering.
Counter-Argument: Failure to Attack British Strategic Targets rather than Air Inferiority
"We realized [Adolf Galland, the famous German fighter ace, later testified] that the R.A.F. fighter squadrons must be controlled from the ground by some new procedure because we heard commands skilfully and accurately directing Spitfires and Hurricanes on to German formations... For us this radar and fighter control was a surprise and a very bitter one."[1]
It was recognized by the Germans that the British were shrewdly using radar to govern their defence, and for this reason British radar stations were attacked. Even though this seemed apparent, the attack on British radar stations which on August 12 had been so damaging had not been continued and on August 15, the day of his first major setback, Goering called them off entirely, declaring: "It is doubtful whether there is any point in continuing the attacks on radar stations, since not one of those attacked has so far been put out of action."
The other key to British air defense was also nearly destroyed but called off by the tactical error of Goering, and that was the sector station. The sector station was the underground nerve center from which Hurricanes and Spitfires were guided by radiotelephone into battle on the basis of the latest intelligence from radar, from ground observation posts and pilots in the air. The Germans, as Galland noted, could hear the constant chatter over the air waves between sector stations and the pilots in the air and finally began to understand the importance of these underground control centers. On August 24 they switched their tactics to the destruction of the sector stations, seven of which on the airfields around London were crucial to the protection of the south of England and the capital itself. This was a hit against the very center of Britain's air defenses.
Until that day the battle was going against the Luftwaffe. "We have reached the decisive period of the air war against England" Goering declared. "The vital task is the defeat of the enemy air force. Our aim must be to destroy the enemy's fighters."[2] From August 24 to September 6 the Germans sent over an average of a thousand planes a day to achieve this end. For once Goering was right. The battle of Britain had reached its decisive stage. Though the R.A.F. pilots, already strained from a month of flying several sorties a day, put up a valiant fight, the German preponderance in numbers began to show. Five forward fighter fields in the south of England were extensively damaged and, what was worse, six of the seven key sector stations were so severely bombed out that the whole communication system seemed to be on the verge of being knocked out. This threatened disaster to Britain.
In the crucial fortnight between August 23 and September 6 the British lost 466 fighters destroyed or badly damaged, and though they did not know it at the time the Luftwaffe losses were less: 385 aircraft, of which 124 were fighters and 138 bombers. Moreover, the R.A.F. had lost 103 pilots killed and 128 seriously wounded, a quarter of all available.
"The scales had tilted against fighter command... There was much anxiety" wrote Churchill. A few more weeks of this and Britain would have had no organized defense of the skies. Operation Sea Lion would almost certainly succeed without British resistance in fighters.
And then Goering made his second tactical error. It saved the battered reeling R.A.F. With the British fighter defense suffering losses in the air and on the ground which is could not long sustain, the Luftwaffe switched its attack on September 7 to massive night bombing in London in order to gain revenge for the British night bombing of August 24. This reprieve would allow the British to repair their battered air defenses so that by the time the Germans returned to day bombing they were repelled by the R.A.F.

D1.2. Panzer
It is openly acknowledged by myself that the German tanks by the end of the war were inferior to British and Russian models, but this made little difference in the Beginning of Operation Barbarossa and the victory in the west, where superior tactics were utilized by the Germans in order to maintain victory. Even with slight armored inferiority they were extremely tactically sound in all but a few battles which could have been won if it were not for the tactical ignorance of Hitler.

D3. Failure of Allies
Though the allies of Nazi Germany were not sound they were in full control of their own destiny. It was their own decision to declare war on the United States. They had the military capacity to gain the goals they seeked, only a few tactical errors prevented them from obtaining their goals.

[1]Adolf Galland, The First and the Last, p.26.
[2]Luftwaffe General Staff record of directives given by Goering
Atheist-Independent

Con

Rebuttal

My opponents sole argument in R2 is that the Germans were unwise in taking so long to reach Moscow and that the strategic blunder in not prioritising Moscow led to the eventual demise of Nazi Germany. I would like to rebut this argument with one argument of my own. My assertion is that the Germans could have reached Moscow, and therefore beaten the Soviet Union, had they improved both their technology and industry.

Before I begin, I would like to provide a map of the situation during December of 1941. Not for my own argument, but simply for our readers to have a reference point.



First of all, the Germans simply did not have the resources required to pull off an invasion of Moscow before the close of 1941. At the beginning of December just one third of the German vehicles were still running. This is due to both a lack of fuel and due to the Luftwaffe's inability to bring the supplies to the armies. On the topic of the Luftwaffe, the planes were having a particularly hard time along the massive Soviet front. This is due to a number of reasons. One being that the Luftwaffe had no significant long-distance fighter, as the Me-110 was proved to be a total disaster. Second, the Russian winter had proved to be simply to much for the Luftwaffe to handle. The Red Army solved this problem by utilizing heated hangars. However, the Luftwaffe did not have this luxury and therefore struggled.

The next, and probably most important part of my rebuttal, is that the Germans simply did not have the industry nor the technological ability, to mechanize their troops. What I mean by this is that the Nazis were unable to provide the Wermacht with sufficient trucks so as to give the infantry greater mobility. Just as a notice, an infantry division with trucks so as to provide mobility is called a mechanized division. The reason for this inability to mechanize infantry is mainly due to their inability to mass produce. I displayed this in my original argument under D2.

Mechanized troops proved to be absolutely essential in World War II, and especially during Operation Barbarossa. The mechanized divisions could move at significantly faster speeds than regular infantry. This was important for the invasion of Russia because, as my opponent noted, it was key that the Germans reached Moscow (or Leningrad) before the Russian winter began. Therefore, if Hitler wanted the Germans to reach Moscow within just six months he would need his armies to move at the fastest possible speed. Due to the fact that the majority of his divisions were not mechanized, this was impossible. The majority of the infantry divisions resorted to using horses or stolen Russian trucks so as to move at greater speeds. These proved to be inefficient as they were unable to reach Moscow in time.

The Russians in December of 1941, on the other hand, had excellently equipped infantry. While at the beginning of Barbarossa this was not the case, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, strangely enough, proved to be the savior of the Red Army. Once the US entered the war they instantly began mass producing military supplies. Amongst these were trucks for mechanized divisions. The US, along with the UK, were able to supply the Soviets with mass numbers of Ford trucks, and therefore the Soviet infantry had an enormous advantage over the horse riding German infantry.

Therefore the outcome of the war relied on the ability for industry to supply their armies, not the strategy nor the battles. The Germans were simply unable to supply their army, partially due to the ignorance of Hitler and mostly due to the flaws of National Socialism. American industry and Soviet manpower were absolutely key in the Allies victory. True, Hitler and his generals may have made a few strategic errors along the way, yet in the end the result of the war had nothing to do with the battlefield.

Back over to you, Pro.

Sources

[1] http://books.google.com......
Debate Round No. 3
inaudita

Pro

My rebuttal shall be a bit short due to a lack of time.

I acknowledge the fact that the Germans, if they had had superior technology, would have been able to take Moscow in December, but my entire argument on the matter in previous rounds was that the Germans should have attempted to take Moscow sooner rather than attempting to take Kiev which in fact would have allowed them to take the city. Taking Moscow would have divided the countries rail lines into 3 parts, leaving the Northern and Southern Russian armies to shrivel due to lack of supplies and reinforcements. I look forward to you rebutting my arguments used in the previous rounds including the discussion of the Battle of Britain.

I leave the end of this debate to you con and thank you for participating.
Atheist-Independent

Con

FINAL REBUTAL

Before I begin my final round I would again like to thank my opponent for creating this debate. It has been one of the most fun debates to research for.


D1.1 Luftwaffe

My opponent spends the entirety of their rebuttal discussing the Battle of Britain and displaying how the Battle could have been won by the Germans had they had better strategy. Let it be noted that my opponent does not rebut either my points about the flaws of the Luftwaffe and the Invasion of the Netherlands. The problem with my opponent's objection about the Battle of Britain is that he does not discuss how the Luftwaffe still could have won had they had superior technology. The strategic errors that are addressed are minor offenses and I believe that if the Luftwaffe had been superior they would have won the Battle of Britain either way.


The primary flaw of the Luftwaffe is that they were focused solely on creating short-range, tactical bombers as opposed to long-range bombers [1]. Therefore they could not possibly win even had their strategy been flawless.

D1.2 Panzer

My opponent's rebuttal contradicts their entire argument. My opponent says that the flawed Panzer divisions were irrelevant because the Wermacht was "... Extremely tactically sound in all but a few battles...". My argument in this section is that the Germans were so behind technologically that it would have been nearly impossible for them to defeat the half of the world which was the Allied faction.


D2. Production Flaws

Unfortunately, my opponent fails to rebut my argument here whatsoever. This is, in my opinion, the most essential part of my argument and it is a shame that it got no recognition.


D3. Failure of Allies

Again, my opponent contradicts himself. The premise of the debate is that Germany, along with its allies, had the military capacity to win WWII. However, when I discuss the flaws of the Axis as a whole my opponent simply states that Germany was in full control of their destiny and that their Allies had nothing to do with it.


Conclusion

My opponent has repeatedly contradicted himself and ignored my arguments. I believe that my three divisions, technological inferiority, production flaws, and failure of allies remain standing. I acknowledge my opponent's point about the delay on Moscow, however given all of the other factors it is illogical to say that Germany would have won had they had superior strategy.


Sources

[1] http://cs.stanford.edu...

[2] http://books.google.com......
Debate Round No. 4
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Stran31 1 year ago
Stran31
Germany and it's allies almost won WW2.
Posted by Atheist-Independent 2 years ago
Atheist-Independent
Me too!
Posted by ShadowHawk555 2 years ago
ShadowHawk555
Being a history buff myself I found this debate quite interesting:)
Posted by inaudita 2 years ago
inaudita
I'm sure that if the Germans had lasers and jet planes they would have won.
Posted by Atheist-Independent 2 years ago
Atheist-Independent
Got that in with just 2 hours left!
Posted by cheyennebodie 2 years ago
cheyennebodie
His biggest blunder was persecuting the Jews. That sent many of the top scientists to America. And we got the bomb before he did.When are people going to learn you will not come out on top by hating the Jews. God's covenant people.
Posted by Atheist-Independent 2 years ago
Atheist-Independent
Italy and Japan were very helpful allies. Also, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and Finland were essential in the invasion of the Soviet Union.
Posted by Emilrose 2 years ago
Emilrose
Germany had *no* military allies towards the end of WW2. Russia initially supported Germany--for obvious reasons that significantly changed. Italy as an ally was also pretty weak.
Posted by Alpacthulhu 2 years ago
Alpacthulhu
Ah, never mind. At first I thought you were using some althistory timeline as a source for the stats you had there, and I was amused.
Posted by Alpacthulhu 2 years ago
Alpacthulhu
Why are you using an althistory site as a source?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Gabe1e 2 years ago
Gabe1e
inauditaAtheist-IndependentTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD: Pro's one rebuttal was very weak, and Con made him pay with his last rebuttal, overall win on the argument. Conduct to Con for having a better rebuttal.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
9spaceking
inauditaAtheist-IndependentTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: I feel like pro drops far too much arguments, especially within the final round, so con wins.