Turning Points In WWII
If Germany had defeated or otherwise subdued Britain in 1940, Germany would have reaped these benefits: time to continue building their military machine before invading Russia; the ability to attack Russia without Britain as an enemy in the rear; loss to the Allies of Britain as a staging area for invasion of Europe/Africa, etc. It is not all that far-fetched, that the Germans could have won the Battle of Britain. Their strategic mistake was to shift the point of attack, from the RAF (attain air superiority), to wanton and pointless destruction of British cities. The Germans were actually winning the Battle, although both sides were suffering horrendous losses, when they switched to bombing cities, etc. Once the Luftwaffe had achieved air superiority over Britain, an invasion (by air or sea) becomes achievable.
In terms of the western front, the Luftwaffe failure to defeat the RAF in the Battle of Britain was a major failure on the German part, and it’s not like they didn’t have the opportunity, with Hitler and Goering changing tactics from the airfields to the cities just when the RAF’s back was nearly broken. (It came back to haunt the Germans later when the Allies began to launch the infamous bombing raids on German cities and the main industrial sectors.)
This was probably one of the most important turning points in the war. If Hitler had defeated Britain the US and Russia would have lost a valuable ally and it would have allowed Germany to concentrate on the USSR. It also allowed D-Day and El Alamein to happen.
The Battle of Britain was one of the most important events during the courseof World War II, this showed the people of the world that Hitler was not undefeatable, the British showed everyone what the Germans were weak at. The Battle of Britain kept the British from German control and later staged the D-Day landings, when if the Allies had not re-entered Europe Russia would have been alone against the Germans. If the Americans, British and other Allied forces had not gained the French beaches then France would have still been under German control. Without Britain being free, Germany would still have controlled Eastern Europe, and would not have had to fight on two fronts, meaning it could concentrate the bulk of their forces in Russia.
I give the BoB a low ranking on the ladder because it was really only a pipe dream of Hitler’s. There was no way he could have moved enough men across the Channel, let alone gain air superiority. Nevertheless, the Battle of Britain ate up many German aircraft that otherwise would have been flying over the Eastern Front.
If the Luftwaffe had concentrated more on the airfields of the RAF instead of tartgeting British cities, the RAF could well have been utterly destroyed leaving Britain defenceless from the air. Hitler may have been satisfied at this outcome at leaving Britain weaker, rather than invading. The lack of RAF would have certainly have weakened Britain’s position in the war, for example, no air recon planes to observe German movements by sea and air. Thus, German warships and subs may have been able to roam freely without being spotted apart from by other ships, and would causes more damage to the British shipping fleet. If Britain had been invaded by the sea, it may have led to the invasion of the Soviet Union being postponed for a year or more, depending on how the invasion of Britain went.
If the Germans had won here (although it was much more of a terror war than anything else; less than one percent of Britain’s total merchant-marine was sunk) it would have made the Torch and Overlord/Gymnast landings impossible.
If the U.S. had not been able to help Britain in the form of materials, ships, food i.e. the Lend-Lease Act, the Brits would of fallen to the Germans, or at the very least been useless to the war effort. And if the Brits would have fallen, there would have been no African Campaign. In that case, the Germans would have been fighting one on one with the Russians, and based on the initial performance of Germany, it is almost certain they would of crushed Russia.
Europe was occupied by the Germans, their troops were concentrated on taking over Russia, so most of the troops were stationed there. The Germans always expected the Allies to attack Europe someday, they just didn’t know when. When D-Day took place their Atlantic wall was destroyed, heavy fights with great losses on both sides took place in the area around Normandie. Those fights were even worse and cost more casualties than the rush on Normandie itself. The battle of the Bulge and The Bocage were probably the hardest tasks for the Allied forces. After those places were finally taken over by the Allies, most parts of France were secured. After that the Netherlands and Belgium were freed. The German Army got weaker and weaker. The Germans desperately tried to win the battles in Stalingrad (Russia) almost all their reinforcement was sent there, but the Russians beat them. I would say D-Day and the battles in Russia made it possible to defeat the Germans. After this there just wasn’t a chance for the German Army to win the war in Europe.
The importance of the U.S. involvement in Europe cannot be understated. Some say Russia would have won the war against Germany without U.S. support. This statement is totally bogus. The Germans got all the way to Moscow before they were stopped by a combination of things. Even with the demise of the 6th Army, Hitler still had enough troops to stop the Russians. The reason he could not stop them is because he had to man the Atlantic Wall from a western invasion and continue his fighting in North Africa. This is where the United States comes in. Stalin had been begging President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill to start a second front so as to relieve the Russian burden as early as the Argentine Conference in 1941. Just the threat of a U.S. invasion made Germany move troops from Russia to France, which made is easier for the Russians when they finally went over to the offensive because they had less enemy to fight.
The major turning points in World War Two are always described with major battles that Germany and Japan had lost. Whilst this is clearly seen there are many mistakes made by these nations leading up to and after these battles. They say it is the little things that count, so when you look at the mistakes made by Germany leading up to the second battle of El Alamein and Stalingrad there becomes clear a picture of less noticed turning points leading to these debacles. Firstly allowing the British and French forces to escape from Dunkirk, The Battle of Britain, the failure to defeat Britain, the failure to occupy Malta, the underestimation of Soviet strength in material and determination to fight, the belief that an entire army could be supplied totally by air transport and the failure to destroy American Aircraft Carriers at Pearl Harbour. These mistakes and there are more that have not been mentioned all contribute to the major losses the Axis forces suffered. There can be said that it was Arrogance and a overestimation of there own abillities that was the turning point in World War Two.
Most of the blame rests squarely on Hitler. He not only got involved in a two front war, which is a major no-no in most military scenerios, but he was actually involved on three fronts. The first front was the Russian, the second was the Invasion of Europe through France, the third was the invasion of Italy by the Allies. The latter two involving major U.S. forces which diverted German soldiers from Russia, thus allowing the Russians an easier and faster route to Berlin. Ironically, multi-front fighting is one of the core reasons Hitler labled the pre-Nazi government as criminals, saying they got Germany involved in a hopeless war which ended with their defeat in WWI.
The most critical error of WW2 began with Adolph Hitler. The German General Staff knew that they didn’t have the logistics or modern military equipment to win a large war in the late 1930s. They wanted to wait until 1945 and develop their weapons and logistics to defeat Western Europe and then defeat Eastern Europe. Hitler though was getting older and impatient and wanted to see his 3rd Reich.
There are many areas that Hitler lost the war, it has been stated numerous times that if he had not stopped the panzers from closing Dunkirk, or if he had continued the attacks on the RAF airfields and radar stations, Operation Sealion could have happened, or if he had focused more research on U-boots (remember the early wooden rifles incidents), or if the drive into the Soviet Union had been focused on seizing Moscow in the late August early Sept. time frame, so on and so on. As Hitler stated before the war, the winner will be the side the commits the fewest blunders. Germany if properly ran could have won WWII even though it was a three front war, East, West and South.
The single largest point of failure that cost the Axis powers the war was Germany attacking Russia (“Barbarossa”). This meant the Germans were fighting on multiple fronts, something the leaders of Germany (even in 1914!) desperately tried to avoid because they knew the possible results. By having the Germans stuck between two larger forces, and knocked out of the war, the Japanese were doomed. This is irregardless of what actually happened in the Pacific. Had Midway not happened, had Japan taken Port Moresby, they still would have lost (eventually), as the combined might of the Allied nations would have ground them to dust.