Hitler's siege mentality

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Re: Hitler's siege mentality

Post by David Thompson » 01 Mar 2022 02:50

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Re: Hitler's siege mentality

Post by LAstry » 25 Mar 2022 14:09

The 3rd Reich 1942 excepting UK; Spain /portugal/Sweden and Switzerland

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Re: Hitler's siege mentality

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 28 Mar 2022 22:45

What's the substantive difference between the two following characterizations:
  • 1. Siege mentality
  • 2. A belief that if Germany controlled continental Europe (inc. Baku and a MidEast forefield), Europe could not be invaded. With time to reorganize European economies for in-sphere autarky, the resulting Grossraum was blockade-proof and had economic potential at least sufficient to ensure that no power could invade Europe indefinitely (setting aside atomic weapons).
If 1&2 are coterminous, I see no problem with saying Hitler had a siege mentality - but it's also difficult to say it's the wrong strategy.

Counter theories might feasibly argue that the Anglosphere could alone have conquered Europe. Agree or disagree, a quick victory over SU is irrelevant to that argument and thus renders Stolfi's central contention superfluous.

For Stolfi's argument really to stick, he'd have to say that Germany could have weathered an Anglo onslaught following a 1941 conquest of SU but not one subsequent to a 1942 Ostsieg. That seems far-fetched.
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Re: Hitler's siege mentality

Post by Peter89 » 29 Mar 2022 11:37

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
28 Mar 2022 22:45
What's the substantive difference between the two following characterizations:
  • 1. Siege mentality
  • 2. A belief that if Germany controlled continental Europe (inc. Baku and a MidEast forefield), Europe could not be invaded. With time to reorganize European economies for in-sphere autarky, the resulting Grossraum was blockade-proof and had economic potential at least sufficient to ensure that no power could invade Europe indefinitely (setting aside atomic weapons).
In order to achieve that Grossraum, Germany had to defeat half of the industrial powers in the world in an offensive war waged against enemies that outnumber her and outproduce her and then hold a territory which has the population ten times of her own. Instead of doing nothing and live in armed peace, because nobody really wanted to attack them. So it is not really a siege mentality. It is an offensive mentality.
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Re: Hitler's siege mentality

Post by pukovnik7 » 29 Mar 2022 15:34

I actually do believe that Hitler's strategy was informed by German experiences in World War One, where British blockade basically strangled Germany into defeat. Hitler was convinced that a protracted war will happen, and the "lightning war" was his attempt to leverage Germany's limited resources into obtaining the resources necessary for protracted war.

So, a good post.

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Re: Hitler's siege mentality

Post by historygeek2021 » 30 Mar 2022 01:59

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
28 Mar 2022 22:45
What's the substantive difference between the two following characterizations:
  • 1. Siege mentality
  • 2. A belief that if Germany controlled continental Europe (inc. Baku and a MidEast forefield), Europe could not be invaded. With time to reorganize European economies for in-sphere autarky, the resulting Grossraum was blockade-proof and had economic potential at least sufficient to ensure that no power could invade Europe indefinitely (setting aside atomic weapons).
If 1&2 are coterminous, I see no problem with saying Hitler had a siege mentality - but it's also difficult to say it's the wrong strategy.
1 and 2 belong to different categories.

1. Siege mentality is a way of waging war - victory is achieved through long-term economic attrition of the enemy and erosion of their will to fight, encompassing not just the enemy's military but also the enemy's civilian population.

2. A belief that a certain geographic area is economically self-sufficient and impervious to military attack is simply the result of economic and military analysis.
For Stolfi's argument really to stick, he'd have to say that Germany could have weathered an Anglo onslaught following a 1941 conquest of SU but not one subsequent to a 1942 Ostsieg. That seems far-fetched.
Stolfi does say that if Germany achieved a certain degree of success in 1941, it could have finished off the Soviet Union in 1942, or at least reduced it to a non-factor. He is of the view that a German controlled continental Europe that included European Russia would be able to survive indefinitely against Britain, but it would depend on Germany fighting a passive, strictly defensive war, so as not to stir up sentiment in the United States. This would of course require getting rid of Hitler, which Stolfi makes clear from the beginning was a prerequisite for any German victory in WW2.

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Re: Hitler's siege mentality

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 30 Mar 2022 05:21

historygeek2021 wrote:1. Siege mentality is a way of waging war - victory is achieved through long-term economic attrition of the enemy and erosion of their will to fight, encompassing not just the enemy's military but also the enemy's civilian population.
Is that an accurate description of how Hitler waged war though? He did vanishingly little to wear down British/French resolve prior to Fall Gelb and then, except during the Blitz, devoted negligible resources to bombing Britain. Sure, he talked about bombing Britain but his actions bespeak a focus on the battlefield - specifically the Eastern Front.

I'm always suspicious of these "Hitler explainers." Dude didn't have a coherent philosophy. He had fears and urges, the state of German morale being one of them, sure, but the way he actually waged WW2 doesn't evince a priority of war on the enemy's national willpower. I can see counterargument in the V weapons etc but even they're a small percentage of German war effort and he adopted them reluctantly, only once I'm fairly certain he knew he was going to lose. That was a strategy for causing harm, not for winning the war. When he was actually trying to win the war, his revealed preferences were for a focus on the battlefield.
historygeek2021 wrote:He is of the view that a German controlled continental Europe that included European Russia would be able to survive indefinitely against Britain, but it would depend on Germany fighting a passive, strictly defensive war, so as not to stir up sentiment in the United States. This would of course require getting rid of Hitler, which Stolfi makes clear from the beginning was a prerequisite for any German victory in WW2.
I think I stopped reading Panzers East around the point of Stolfi's logistical analysis, which struck me as wishful and superficial.

Does Stolfi actually analyze how the Anglosphere would have landed in Europe? As I've cited elsewhere, none of the Americans actually thought they could do so, not even had the SU fallen in 1943. Nukes could change that of course...
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Re: Hitler's siege mentality

Post by historygeek2021 » 30 Mar 2022 16:37

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Mar 2022 05:21

Is that an accurate description of how Hitler waged war though? He did vanishingly little to wear down British/French resolve prior to Fall Gelb and then, except during the Blitz, devoted negligible resources to bombing Britain. Sure, he talked about bombing Britain but his actions bespeak a focus on the battlefield - specifically the Eastern Front.
Hitler wanted to attack in the west immediately after Poland. Stolfi says this was not with a view toward conquering all of France, but to protect the Ruhr from invasion/bombing. Even the final Fall Gelb had limited aims: occupy the Low Countries and northeastern France, protect the Ruhr, deprive France of its industrial base, and give the Luftwaffe forward bases to bomb Britain. The invasion of Russia was expressed as a way to free Japan to attack Britain's valuable eastern colonies.
I'm always suspicious of these "Hitler explainers." Dude didn't have a coherent philosophy. He had fears and urges, the state of German morale being one of them, sure, but the way he actually waged WW2 doesn't evince a priority of war on the enemy's national willpower. I can see counterargument in the V weapons etc but even they're a small percentage of German war effort and he adopted them reluctantly, only once I'm fairly certain he knew he was going to lose. That was a strategy for causing harm, not for winning the war. When he was actually trying to win the war, his revealed preferences were for a focus on the battlefield.
I agree he didn't have a coherent philosophy. He was an irrational, superstituous lunatic. His fears and aspirations seem to have been largely driven by his personal experience in the First World War, when it seemed to him that the German army had stood undefeated on the battlefield but was betrayed by a civilian collapse at home. He accordingly prioritized making sure that Germany controlled a large enough economic area to keep its people happy and well fed, with an aspiration to do to Britain what Britain had done to Germany in the First World War. Hence his high priority on U-boats, bombers, Japan and V-weapons.

I think I stopped reading Panzers East around the point of Stolfi's logistical analysis, which struck me as wishful and superficial.
Stolfi actually makes some good points. He read Creveld and provides more detailed information on AGC's supply situation in August than Creveld. There is a good debate here: viewtopic.php?f=55&t=124758

User timobrienwells makes some good points in defense of Stolfi that no one seems to have an answer for.

Does Stolfi actually analyze how the Anglosphere would have landed in Europe? As I've cited elsewhere, none of the Americans actually thought they could do so, not even had the SU fallen in 1943. Nukes could change that of course...
No. Stolfi presents a very idealized scenario where Hitler is removed from the picture, Germany rapidly conquers the European part of the USSR and then the USSR stops fighting, and then Germany just ignores Britain and the USA never enters the war.

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