Highly doubting anyone has time/want to read this. I just finished it as a final term paper and the research was prettty eye opening. Enjoy for those of you who read it.
Only one man stood in the way of Nazi Germanys world dominance, it was the same man that inspired a nation and transformed it into a formidable world power only to let it slip away in a series of military mess ups and boastful blunders. Hitler lost the war because he, himself, was the leader of Germany and head of military, and an ignorant one at that. As the "Fuhrer" the supreme leader, Hitler believed in supreme power and at times that belief got to his head as he pushed aside his knowledgeable and experienced advisors. Hitler's refusal to tap the ocean of military knowledge that his generals contained led to the fall of Germany and the "Third Reich". Adolf's blunders were showcased in famous victories across frosty Russia in cities like Stalingrad, and Moscow and blazed across the hot sands of North Africa and splashed on the bloody beaches along the French coasts in historic places like Normandy and Dunkirk. With proper military leaders in power the world was we know it today would be severely altered into a world wide battlefield strewn with Anti-Semitic movements.
Adolf Hitler was born in the small town of Bravana ,Austria in 1889(1) . Contrary to popular belief, Hitler was no genius. His early years consisted of academic failures and resulted in him dropping out of school at aged 16 (2). Shortly after his academic failure he applied to an art school in Vienna where he was rejected (1). After his rejection Hitler stayed in Vienna for five years, it was during that time that he developed an interest in politics and a deep seeded hate for Communist, Socialist and Jewish ideals(1). In 1913 an angry political minded young Hitler left Austria to avoid compulsory military service(2), he made the short trek to Germany where just one year later joined the German army at the outbreak of World War one. From 1914-1918 Hitler did one of the most dangerous jobs in the service, he was a message runner between trenches(1), consequently he was wounded twice, once by poison gas and once by shell shrapnel(2). Through the war Hitler felt accepted for once in his life and received numerous medals including the Iron Cross of valour which is the highest German military honour available.(1)
In 1918 The Great War ended leaving Hitler useless and furious with Germanys defeat. Hitler blamed his countries defeat on socialist politicians and blindly aimed his rage at Communists, Jew's and minorities. The torrent of hate that Hitler had for minorities lasted until his death and ended up leading the German war machine ignorantly off track resulting in the alteration of the face of European nations. From 1918 to 1923 Hitler became interested in a lowly political party titled the German Workers party, the party had few members and even fewer funds but by 1919 he became leader and immediately altered the party as he saw fit(2). First he changed the name to The Nationalist Socialist Party, Nazi for short second he began a massive recruiting campaign and third he altered the symbol into a twisted cross surrounded by red, the swastika was born in 1919 and was quickly thrust upon the German people as a symbol of hope and upon Europe as a symbol of fear anti Semitism and a vision of Aryan world domination.(2)
In 1923 Hitler and his band of thugs known as "Storm Troopers" tried to storm the government buildings and force a military coup but failed and was sent to jail on charges of High Treason(1). While in jail Hitler introduced his insane visions to literature and wrote "Mein Kampf"(2), My Struggle. After only a year of imprisonment Hitler was again released and handed the reigns of the Nazi Party. The Nazi Party was highly un-successful until 1929 when the great depression hit Germany and the unemployment numbers shot up to near six million people(1). The German people looked for a strong political leader with an apparent plan and quickly found one.
When people are poor, hungry and hopeless they are easily persuaded and manipulated by visions of hope, prosperity and power and in 1933(1) the voters of Germany welcomed Hitler in with open arms to be their Fuhrer, their Chancellor, their total leader(1). Hitler was voted in by citizens oblivious to his slandered intentions and goals of war, they praised him as the restorer of Germany because he rode out the Depression and created six million jobs by gearing the nation for war, a war that cost millions of lives and ended with Germany's destruction, in the end Hitler did more harm then good.
When Hitler took power in 1933 he began preaching his ideals, he believed in a single party state and he held a strong desire for "Lebensraum"(1) which was living space for the German/Aryan peoples. Hitler also believed that humans were categorized into races and that the inferior ones must be exterminated(1), such as Jews, Blacks and Homosexuals(1). He believed that Poland should be a part of Germany(2), Communism must be destroyed and France must be raised to the ground in response to the humiliation Germany faced in the first world war. So when Hitler began his campaign of madness and blazed across Europe in a frenzied "Jew/Communist Hunt" he basically had personal simplistic aims for the inevitable war that he was about to start. Hitler was a man with little education and an even lesser understanding of the mechanics of war, with his early education and military ignorance Hitler pushed the world to war.
On the road to War Hitler was a political, social and economic mastermind, but in 1933 he shifted gears to taking an aggressive stance and started implementing methods of achieving his goals, in 1933 Hitler gave secretive orders to start the rearmament process(2). In order to begin his fantasies of world domination Hitler needed an army and with the nation at his fingertips he turned Germany into a powerhouse. After the opening stages of rearmament and only after a year in power Hitler withdrew Germany from the now feeble League of Nations and abruptly halted all post WWI treaty and disarmament talks with the League(1). In Germany the storms of war were brewing unchecked by the rest of the world. In 1935 Hitler gambled his rising empire and blatantly announced that he was introducing conscription to the people of Germany(1), within a year the Wehrmacht (The German National Army) grew to 580,000 troops and began training and recruiting thousands more daily(1). The infamous Luftwaffe air force came to be under Hitler as well, In re-arming his nation and building a massive army and creating an air force Hitler broke several of the points listed in the outdated Treaty of Versailles, and yet again the League of Nations took no action.(1)
The leagues apparent weakness inspired Hitler and embedded him with a false sense of invincibility, that mentality became very visible over the next decade. During these years leading to war Hitler spent a great deal of time with Heinrech Himmler, the leader of the Gestapo and Chief of both the German national police and Hitler's secret police(1), Hitler also came to admire and listen to Dr. Josef Goebbels who became the Minister of Propaganda(2) Hitler also met Herman Goering the leader of the Luftwaffe(1) who Hitler favourably and stupidly relied on during many campaigns and battles when time after time the air force did not yield favourable results. These three men became very close to Hitler and individually clouded his judgement and filled him with false security and boldness during crucial conflicts in the war. Hitler's "three advisors" as they are frequently noted each had a significant impact on the war through Hitler, he was a very impressionable man.
In 1939 Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia and later Poland(1) finally provoking the allies to declare war. It took the league of nations 6 to realize that Hitler would not stop. In the beginning of the war the German army developed a tactic known as "Blitzkrieg" or lightning war, Blitzkrieg consisted of fast moving tanks storming the lines followed by dive bombing runs and fighter planes harassing the infantry below(1). By 1940 Hitler's Blitzkrieg tactic consumed half of Europe including France(1). The League of Nations was hung up on trench warfare methods and were quickly and decisively defeated(1). As German troops paraded victoriously through the streets of Paris Hitler must have felt like he was on top of the world, but that was all to change before too long.
Hitler's first "Blunder" came to be on the bloody beaches of Dunkirk, on May 24th 1940, 400,000 allied troops, mainly British, French and Canadian stormed the beaches in a futile attempt to recapture the German occupied France(7), the invasion was a horrific failure for the Allies and their forces were pushed to the channel , Hitler's forces had the allies pushed to a prime location for extermination. Once upon the beaches the Allied troops began to retreat across the English Channel to Britain and to safety(7). Hitler being no military tactician eagerly listened to Hermann Goering and his plan for the German Luftwaffe to gloriously slaughter the remaining troops on the beach(2). Although 136 divisions and 2500 tanks(7) ranging from the heavy Panzer to the light Panther(7) were in prime positioning, locked and loaded and eager for deployment upon the cowering allies which would of surely resulted in a horrific bloodbath leaving the entire French and British land forces crippled and the British Coast undefended, Hitler decided to let 3000 aircraft assault the masses on the beach.(7)
Due to Hitler's failure to strategically deploy available overwhelming firepower upon the beaches 338,226 (7) of the original 400,000 (7) invaders were rescued, 140 000 of these were the last remaining members of the French Army (7), 98,226 British Troops were saved(7) and roughly 100,000 Canadians, Belgians and commonwealth troops escaped unscathed.(7) Between 30,000 and 40,000 French soldiers were left behind on the beaches.(7) The story of the forty thousand French captured was spun into a glorious tale of victory in the eyes of the German people by propaganda minster Josef Goebbels, the victory story was slandered so much that the German people knew nothing of the massive escape, Hitler even seemed pleased with the results. If Hitler had ordered a full "Blitzkrieg" frontal lightning charge on the beaches of Dunkirk, all would be lost for the allies, the French army would have been obliterated as well as a significant portion of the British army. Allied morale, both civilian and the militaries would be crippled by the loss of 400,000 men and most importantly the English Channel and the coasts of Britain would be empty, unprepared and ill defended. But Hitler did not act as a military leader, rather the contrary, he had no idea what to do or what to order. Hitler's military ignorance had shown and was clearly visible to his Generals but thanks to Josef Goebbels the German people were blissfully oblivious to the slandered decisions of their Fuhrer.
Before Hitler's second "Blunder" known as Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the U.S.S.R, is exposed, a brief review of Russian geography is necessary to set the context. Over half of Russia is inhabitable and the other portion is ravaged by Arctic winters and intolerable conditions. The main cities in Russia, Moscow, Stalingrad and Leningrad are all to the Northwest, North and Northeast but the main value of Russia lies in the vast oilfields of Ukraine and the surrounding provinces to the south. Also for a background Hitler had established a non aggression pact with Josef Stalin in 1939(6), Russia's communist leader. The "Nazi Soviet Pact" lasted only two years until June 1941 when 4.5 million Axis troops, mainly German, Romanian and Italian stormed across Russian borders(6). This invasion baffled the world and was a lucky reprise for the Allied forces who were faltering under the weight of the German war machine. Hitler's decisions were always clouded by his Social and political views and this invasion can be classified exactly as that, go back to the beginning and you will understand the mans desire for "living space" and the suppression of socialist/communist ideals, invading Russia was the pinnacle of Hitler's ideas. Hitler ordered the initial invasion force to spearhead to Moscow, the capital, and to seize power of the nation(6), he later changed his ideas and ordered the main battle group to split and go separate ways. This "split" stretched the German supply lines to unfathomable portions and resulted in thousands of troops starving and freezing to death, German troops did not receive winter clothing until two months into winter. Many Wehrmacht soldiers froze to death due to failed planning and stretched supply lines.
Hitler ordered battle divisions to Moscow, where they were defeated, and then to Leningrad where they were also defeated and finally decided to regroup and invade Stalingrad where the determined Russians dug in and yet again crushed Hitler's forces.(6)
No one has ever invaded Russia in the winter and won.
The capture of Stalingrad was important to Hitler Hifor two primary reasons. First, it was a major industrial city on the "Volga River" which was a vital transport link to the Caspian sea (leading to the Atlantic) and a strategic supply base leading to northern Russia. As a result, the German capture of the city would effectively sever the transportation of resources and goods to the north and in turn starve Russia into submission. Second, its capture would secure the East flank of the German armies as they advanced into the oil-rich Caucasus region with the strategic goal of cutting off fuel to Stalin's war machine(6). The fact that the city bore the name of the leader of the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin, would make its capture an ideological boost and open up a new department in the ministry of propaganda. In private meetings, Dr. Goebbels asked for swift decisive victory, defeat would not be an option for the German people this time.
By early 1942 Hitler's defeat in Russia was inevitable, all of his Generals recognized the fact and advised Hitler to retreat, but Hitler believed the German Army could not be defeated and that ideology would overcome force. Hitler declared in a public speech on September 30th 1942 that "German troops will not leave Stalingrad!, defeat is not an option for the Third Reich!" true to Hitler's speech German troops never left Stalingrad.(6) The ravaged, sick and freezing German army was encircled within Stalingrad a few days later and 750,000 German troops were killed or wounded(6), 91,000 were capture and 60,000 of those were murdered the other 31,000 were never found(6). 10,000 artillery pieces and 900 planes were also captured and later used against Germany(6).
While one army was being slaughtered in the snows of Russia another was on the run across the cooking sands of North Africa. The North African campaign started in 1940 and was marked by significant allied defeats at the hands of the German military genius Erwin Rommel "The Desert Fox" and his infamous panzer divisions(5). For most of the war Rommel controlled the resource rich tip of Africa, from Morocco and Algeria to Egypt and Libya. In 1941/1942(5) when Hitler aimed his torrent of ignorance at the Russians he completely disregarded the entire North African campaign. The entire region sat strategically in the underbelly of Germany, Italy and her allies. With all supplies diverted to the Russian front, supplies to Erwin Rommel were cut dangerously short. At times there was not enough fuel to move the battalions. Rommel could not continue fighting with no resources and flight campaign started across North Africa. The British led by General Montgomery(5) led the battles and by 1942 had recapture most of what Rommel had decisively taken during the previous two years.
When General Erwin Rommel asked for further assistance from Hitler in North Africa the words were shadowed from the previous defeat in Stalingrad, "German troops must not leave North Africa we are the superior race and we will overcome the inferior British"(5), In 1942 at the Battle of El Almien, Rommel's un equipped battle weary forces were defeated and fled into the Italian peninsula(5). The Allies, thanks to Hitler's refusal to supply his armies, shut down the African Theatre of war. Within a year of Rommel's defeat the allies were knocking on Mussolini's door with tanks and troops.
In 1942 as the Allies raged up the Italian peninsula defeating Hitler's Fascist ally Mussolini along the way. On path to Germany via North Africa two things unfolded that shaped the campaign. The first was Hitler ordered General Erwin Rommel, the most prestigious, experienced and knowledgeable tank commander to defend Greece instead of Italy. In Greece Rommel never saw action until he led the retreat of the German forces due to an impending Russian Naval invasion. Because of North Africa and later the overwhelming odds in Greece Rommel was seen as a disgrace by Hitler, Rommel was later sent to Normandy to defend the beaches but never consulted towards how the beaches should be defended. Erwin Rommel was the most experienced tank commander especially when it came to defence, and Hitler did not see it necessary to consult him on matters of defence, Hitler's ignorance again ended up costing thousands of German lives.
Hitler's final blunder began Tuesday, 6 June 1944 , D-Day began at 6:30 AM.(9)
D-Day was a multinational landing of Allied forces on the coast of Normandy, France. The landings took place along a 80 km stretch of the Normandy coast divided into five sectors: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword(9). The operation was the largest amphibious invasion of all time, with over 175,000 troops landing on the beaches(9). At the time the German army had 59 Divisions of troops in France(9) which worked out to roughly 60,000 troops(9), while 59 divisions were facing the inevitable assault on Normandy Hitler did not see it fit to reinforce them with the available 157 divisions in the already lost Soviet Union(9) or the stationary 21 divisions that were on hold, backing up the already numerous 157 divisions in the Soviet Union (9). The Allies attacked with 175,000 troops and the Germans had access to 238,000 troops including numerous "Storm Trooper Elite" brigades and 9 panzer brigades but Hitler commanded that only 59,000 troops be used to defend Normandy.(9) Mathematically Hitler had access to a total of 290,000 troops which would of completely overwhelmed the landing force. But again Hitler believed that the power of morale and ideology was more powerful than sheer force.
After Rommel's embarrassing defeat,(that Hitler was responsible for), Hitler did not trust him with significant command. Rommel recognised that the Allies would possess air superiority and would be able to harass his tank movements from the air so he devised a plan and proposed that the armoured formations be deployed close to the invasion beaches instead of sitting back and waiting. In his words, it was better to have one Panzer division facing the invaders on the first day, than three Panzer divisions three days later when the Allies would already have established a firm hold on the beach head and were able to supplement their infantry with armoured brigades, which they ended up doing. Opposing Rommel was General Von Geyr, a new German Tank commander who was favoured by Hitler, as was anyone was who agreed with him, Von Geyr argued that the Panzer formations should be concentrated in a central position around Paris and Rouen, and deployed "en masse" or all at once against the main Allied beachhead when it had been identified, Hitler's generals' knew where the allies were going to attack and yet Hitler listened intently to Von Geyr and his futile plan was set in motion
The "Panzer Argument" was eventually brought to Hitler for a final decision . He characteristically decided on an strategically simplistic and idiotic solution meant to be a compromise. Only three Panzer divisions were given to Rommel, too few to do any significant damage to the five invasion forces(9). The remaining divisions were placed moronically under Von Geyr's control(9), and actually became designated as the reserve brigades, just in case the allies took the beaches and invaded France, "hmm would that ever happen?, apparently not according to Hitler".
Only three of the "Reserves" were deployed close enough to assist in the resistance attempt against any invasion of Northern France(9), the other three were dispersed in a futile attempt to bolster southern France and the Netherlands(9). Through out the war Hitler commanded unnecessary power, as a man he seemed extremely self conscious and felt the need to bolster himself with military might and during the days leading to D-Day Hitler took it upon himself to state that he was he commander of the reserve divisions, only Hitler could move, re-arrange or order the reserves to attack(9). On June 6th , when the allies were swarming the beaches packed tightly and extremely vulnerable to armoured attack , many Panzer division commanders were unable to move because Hitler had not given the necessary authorization, why? Because in fear of his anger for being woken early, Hitler's staff did not wake him until 11:00 am(9), Hitler did not wake until four and a half hours after the initial invasion, by that time one of the divisions had been helplessly surrounded and captured, and the allies had secured a strong foothold on the coast of France, two divisions alone were helpless against the onslaught of the D-Day invasions, but 9 together could of stopped them on the beach.
As the allies approached rapidly up the Italian peninsula, and destructively across France towards Germany, the Red Army in the east pillaged, burned and raped their way across former German Strongholds also on their way to Berlin.
The world was racing to be the defeating army of the structurally destroyed Third Reich and Hitler's generals realized it. On July 20th 1944 many of his former advisors, the men who watched him and followed him while he raised Germany up only to single handedly allow its defeat attempted to assassinate him(1). The assassination failed and for another year Hitler was allowed to watch as his once glorious empire collapsed under the weight of foreign invasions(1).
On April, 27th 1945 Hitler's last surviving ally Benidito Mussolini was captured and killed(2), during this time, the Battle for Berlin raged on as Hitler cowered in his last remaining stronghold, his private bunker(2). Only when the Red Army and the Allied forces penetrated the Reichstag, (German Parliament Building) did Hitler realize the war was over, on April 30th 1945 (2) Hitler released the vision of a thousand year German rule that blinded him through so many key points in the war and took his one life. The once mighty German Wehrmacht now consisted of fourteen year old boys and aging veterans of post WW1 wars(1), the Luftwaffe no longer maintained a presence in the Ally dominated skies and as the sounds Berlin being tore apart by Communists were heard above his bunker did it finally became clear to Hitler that he was no military leader.
On April 30th 1945 Hitler committed suicide and had his body burned (2). Adolf Hitler once stood atop of the world until he blindly led his empire into the perils of defeat through a series of "Blunders"