Remilitarization of the Rhineland

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ljadw
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Re: Remilitarization of the Rhineland

Post by ljadw » 27 Mar 2015 17:35

You forget that there were French forces in Germany till 1930 and that this prevented a return of the Reichswehr in the Rhineland .

5 other points :

The Reichswehr was unable to remilitarize the Rhineland : de facto it was only a police force .

The governments of Weimar also were unable to take the decision to return to the Rhineland : politically they were much to weak .

You will remember that Hitler first reintroduced conscription before remilitarize the RL and that in 1936 he had already an airforce.

The French had not the power to prevent the remilitarization of the RL : the French standing forces were totally unable to intervene:general mobilisation would be needed,and as it was a few weeks before the elections,mobilisation was impossible .A French reoccupation of the RL would result in a mass rebellion of the German civilians,harsh measures would be needed as the taking of hostages,the burning of villages and the shooting of civilians,the introduction of a secret police with torture chambers,...

Besides,to invade Germany,France would need the consent of the League and it was very uncertain that this would happen .

Last point: The result of the occupation of the Ruhr in 1923 was a failure for France :the official reason was that Germany was in arrears with the reparation payments,but the occupation of the Ruhr did not change this : Germany remained in arrears with the reparation payments and there was a financial panic in France .

ONLY if the reoccupation of the Rhineland signified a mortal threat for France,would France react .

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Remilitarization of the Rhineland

Post by Sid Guttridge » 30 Mar 2015 11:04

Hi Ljadw,

Exactly. The Reichswehr was too weak militarily to remilitarize the Rhineland if France resisted.

The same remained true of the Wehrmacht in 1936.

The French standing forces were certainly capable of intervening in 1936, had the political will been there. Besides, why would the French artificially compromise themselves by only using their standing forces? Their big advantage over Germany was the fact that they had trained 14 years of conscripts since WWI, whereas the Germans had trained none.

The French elections are a political factor, not a military one. It conforms with what I said earlier about Hitler having a broader political perspective than simply the mismatch in military power in French favour 1936.

I see no historical evidence that temporarily occupying German territory to prevent remilitarization "would result in a mass rebellion of the German civilians". There was no such "mass rebellion" in the 1920s and no such "mass rebellion" after 1945. Nor was there a "mass rebellion" in German majority areas of Denmark, Poland, Czechoslovakia. Only in 1938 did the Sudeten Nazis show signs of armed resistance and the Czechoslovak armed forces so effectively chased them over the German border that Hitler had to threaten war to retrieve this reverse. Where there were problems, it was directly attributable to local Nazis (i.e. Memel). German civilians proved remarkably orderly and pragmatic under foreign rule or occupation.

Cheers,

Sid.

ljadw
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Re: Remilitarization of the Rhineland

Post by ljadw » 30 Mar 2015 12:01

For 1923,you have forgotten Schlageter .

Hitler would exhort to start a partisan war,and there were enough nazis to shoot at the French .

Besides,a French intervention would result in big fighting with the WM and for this,mobilization would be needed .13 years before,the French had occupied the Ruhr and had to slink of with the tail between their legs and the government lost the elections .

There would be war and Germany would fight till the last French soldier had left German territory .France could not afford such a war especially not during an economic crisis .It also could not march through Berlin and occupy the whole of Germany .

The French army had left Germany in 1930 and it was out of the question that it could return .And even if France would reoccupy the RL,what would be the result ? As long as there were French soldiers in Germany,any cooperation with Germany was impossible .
The demilitarisation of the RL depended on German good-will,and on nothing else .

The question was not to reoccupy the RL,the question was to ensure the lasting demilitarisation of the RL,and this was a mission impossible .
Everyone knew that Germany would not accept a definitive demilitarisation of the RL,and there was no way to prevent the return of the German army,unless to start WWII,which was impossible .

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Remilitarization of the Rhineland

Post by Sid Guttridge » 31 Mar 2015 10:15

Hi ljadw,

You write on behalf of Hitler's possible actions with an absolute certainty that did not exist at the time.

There was a strong chance that, had the French reacted strongly to the remilitarization of the Rhineland, Hitler would have been overthrown.

Had he survived, he might have encouraged partisan resistance, but "franc-tireurs" were outside recent German tradition.

France probably could have marched through the whole of Germany in 1936, given the political will but, as you say, the political and economic costs would have been high. It was this that weighed most heavily on them, not German military potential.

The Germans had military plans to defend against a French military reaction, (of which Guderian's deployment was part) but these were for behind the Rhine, which would have meant conceding most of the industrial areas of the Rhineland to the French and leaving most of the rest within French artillery range.

No, it is not true that, "The demilitarisation of the RL depended on German good-will,and on nothing else." Given the relative weakness of the German armed forces in 1936, it primarily depended on French political will. It was deficiencies in this last that Hitler gauged correctly.

Cheers,

Sid.

ljadw
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Re: Remilitarization of the Rhineland

Post by ljadw » 31 Mar 2015 11:45

1)Why would France intervene ? From the French POV there was no reason to intervene,because the remilitarisation was no threat to France

2)Why was France not intervening ?

There was no reason

Britain did not support an intervention :even Churchill was against an intervention

From a military POV ,mobilisation was necessary,but there was no majority in parliament for mobilisation

For an intervention,France would need the consent of the League and it was more than improbable that this consent could be obtained .

Most important question : if France intervened and the intervention was succesful,than what ? If France left the RL,the WM would return,thus,the only option was a prolonged occupation of the RL which was out of the question for military ,political and economic reasons :a prolonged occupation would require a prolonged mobilisation and a prolonged call-up of reservists .

ljadw
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Re: Remilitarization of the Rhineland

Post by ljadw » 31 Mar 2015 14:05

The numerical strength of the French army in France was in 1936 403.169 men.There were 20 ID,2 armoured divisions,8 colonial divisions .But,as it was the rule in all peace armies,more than the half of these 403.169 men belonged to the supply forces and the recruits,the divisional peace strength was less than 7000 men,the result was that none of the French divisions was operational,mobilisation was needed and that would take several weeks .

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Remilitarization of the Rhineland

Post by Sid Guttridge » 01 Apr 2015 11:19

Hi ljadw,

You will have to provide a source for that last proposition.

It seems extremely unlikely that the French would not have a single division fit for combat for several weeks. This would be a step back from the situation in 1914.

What you are listing is presumably mostly the French A Class divisions containing regulars and the current French conscript classes. These were equivalent to the German Welle I divisions. The difference was that the French had several million trained reservists who could not only fill out the A Class divisions, but could field B Class reserve divisions as well.

You must also recall that the German forces sent into the Rhineland were few in number and would not require a French mobilization to eject.

As to your earlier post, you are again giving political reasons for French paralysis, which was precisely my point. On a purely military level, French intervention was doable in 1936, because the German armed forces were then very weak and without reserves.

The French had a real long term problem relative to Germany. By 1938 Germany had 80 million people and a higher birth rate than France, which had only 45 million people and a lower birth rate. Consequently, two German conscripts were reporting for training for every one Frenchman. As a result, despite the lack of reservists trained over 1919-1934, in 1940 Germany was able to field around 100 divisions - about the same as France. However, in 1936 the situation was very different militarily, as it still greatly favoured the French. That was why Germany's general staff was very nervous about all Hitler's adventures until 1939.

Cheers,

Sid.

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BDV
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Re: Remilitarization of the Rhineland

Post by BDV » 01 Apr 2015 15:04

Because the French military can (easily) deploy only a token force, and the german military can deploy minimal force, what you have is a game of chicken.

My concern is what was achieved militarily and or politically for Germany by this act of effrontery?
Last edited by BDV on 01 Apr 2015 15:20, edited 1 time in total.
Nobody expects the Fallschirm! Our chief weapon is surprise; surprise and fear; fear and surprise. Our 2 weapons are fear and surprise; and ruthless efficiency. Our *3* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency; and almost fanatical devotion

ljadw
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Re: Remilitarization of the Rhineland

Post by ljadw » 01 Apr 2015 15:09

The following French source "Présentation de l'armée française de 1914 à 1939" (P 20 etc ) gives the manpower of the French army in 1936 and the number of available divisions .

The manpower and divisions are limited to the forces stationed in France (the Metropole)

268.197 conscripts and NCO

69418 professionals

44424 coloured (who were stationed in France to catch the decreasing number of conscripts)

There were 20 ID and 4 Colonial and 4 North African divisions (coloured troops with white officers).44424 coloured men and 8 divisions means a strength of 6OOO/7000 men per division .

There were 337615 "white" men to form 20 divisions,but from those 337615 men,one should deduct the forces of the Maginot Line,the recruits,the forces of supply,the which means that these divisions also were very understrength.The result was that Gamelin told the government that a general mobilisation was needed to increase the manpower .But even this would not help,as the French strategy was a defensive one :as in 1914,france would fight only if it was attacked,and the French strategy was defensive,the result of which was that France had no RDF,no forces that could invade Germany .

If the standing forces could invade Germany, Gamelin would not have asked for mobilisation .And,mobilisation was excluded : in 1914,France had mobilized,not to help Russia,but,because there was a real danger of a German invasion . In 1936,there was no danger of a German invasion,thus mobilisation was excluded.

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BDV
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And WHY NOT Moor and Negro Troops?

Post by BDV » 01 Apr 2015 15:49

Spearheading the invasion of Rhineland with the colonial men, and then using them for occupation duties, would be a quite strong statement against the racialist agitation of Herr Schicklgruber.

I mean, as long as there are to be symbolic gestures, how much more symbolic than that?
Nobody expects the Fallschirm! Our chief weapon is surprise; surprise and fear; fear and surprise. Our 2 weapons are fear and surprise; and ruthless efficiency. Our *3* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency; and almost fanatical devotion

steverodgers801
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Re: Remilitarization of the Rhineland

Post by steverodgers801 » 01 Apr 2015 22:51

ITs simple the French and British leaders were committed to not fighting and came up with every excuse possible. My favorite is how the JU 52 transport would spear head the German destruction of London if war came in 1938

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Remilitarization of the Rhineland

Post by Sid Guttridge » 02 Apr 2015 11:59

Hi ljadw,

I have little time now, but the following from Wikipedia may be of interest as to German military perceptions at the time:

A German officer assigned to the Bendlerstrasse during the crisis told H. R. Knickerbocker during the Spanish Civil War: "I can tell you that for five days and five nights not one of us closed an eye. We knew that if the French marched, we were done. We had no fortifications, and no army to match the French. If the French had even mobilized, we should have been compelled to retire." The general staff, the officer said, considered Hitler's action suicidal.[118] When German reconnaissance learned that thousands of French soldiers were congregating on the Franco-German border, General Blomberg begged Hitler to evacuate the German forces. Under Blomberg's influence, Hitler nearly ordered the German troops to withdraw, but was then persuaded by the resolutely calm Neurath to continue with Operation Winter Exercise.[119] Following Neurath's advice, Hitler inquired whether the French forces had actually crossed the border and when informed that they had not, he assured Blomberg that Germany would wait until this happened.[120] In marked contrast to Blomberg who was highly nervous during Operation Winter Exercise, Neurath stayed calm and very much urged Hitler to stay the course.[121]

In haste

Sid.

ljadw
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Re: Remilitarization of the Rhineland

Post by ljadw » 02 Apr 2015 20:57

Knickerbocker was a US journalist (someone as Shirer) and one should be very sceptical about his allegations,especially as he was not able to give the name of this German officer .

After the war,Neurath claimed that he was opposed to the remilitarisation.

The story that Blomberg was panicking is also not very convincing,because Blomberg got his "reward" after the remilitarisation : he was promoted to fieldmarshal.

And, I don't believe (if what Knickerbocker told was true) what the German oficer said :after the war, the general staff also said that,if Chamberlain had not capitulated at Münich,the WM would have overthrowed Hitler,and we know that this was a pious lie .

ljadw
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Re: Remilitarization of the Rhineland

Post by ljadw » 02 Apr 2015 21:14

I have read some excerpts from "Is tomorrow Hitler's" by Knickerbocker and I must say that he is even worse than Shirer : excemple : is Hitler homosexual? Lindbergh is a great threat to our security and the US people must decide what to do with him.

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tigre
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Re: Remilitarization of the Rhineland

Post by tigre » 03 Apr 2015 01:48

Hello to all :D; some pictures...................

Winterübung - March 1936!

Sources: Das Interessante Blatt. 12. März 1936.

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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