The Greatest Mistakes Of Germany During World War Ii

The German army had the superior military technology. They had a new highly effective battle tactic that proved to be deadly in its use. They had a force of incredibly highly trained infantry soldiers. They had skilled generals and a committed population who were dedicated and sure of their cause. They had an enemy who was spilt and wouldn't effectively coordinate its forces with itself. With all these advantages present, one would have assumed that the German forces should have had an edge in the war that would've granted them victory. However, the war did not go in their favour. So how, with all these advantages, did Germany still manage to lose the war?

Well, Germany made many mistakes during World War II. Many of these mistakes were either directly or indirectly caused by the German Führer, Adolf Hitler. Hitler made many decisions, often against the better judgement of his highly skilled generals and inner circle, that ended up being mistakes and cost the German war effort battles, troops, resources, and eventually the war itself. One such mistake was the lack of use of coded and cryptographic messages. During the war, German encryption technology failed across the board. While the Germans did not crack the most important codes of the Allies, the British routinely read German news from 1943 onwards. Today we know how this war-critical fiasco came about.

During the Second World War, Hitler never attempted to bundle competencies in ciphering and this resulted in the codes of the Allies being clearly superior to those of the Nazis. Northwest of London is the Bletchley Park estate. There, the British gathered all their expertise in encryption during World War II. Thousands of people cracked radio messages from the German encryption machine Enigma and other secret codes under industrial conditions. Ingenious scientists such as Alan Turing or Dyllwin Knox continued to improve decoding methods, making crazy machines and at the same time puzzling out new encryption techniques. But where was the German counterpart to Bletchley Park? Quite simply: not there. There was none. In contrast to the British, Hitler never attempted to concentrate forces in ciphering. Instead, about a dozen different organizations took care of this topic in the Third Reich. The Wehrmacht High Command had its own crypto troops, as well as the Air Force, the Navy, the Reichspost, the Abwehr, and several other institutions. Hitler allowed hardly any cooperation between these institutions. This meant none of the Nazi institutions were able to effectively coordinate with each other. The Enigma Code is considered a symbol of the failure of German encryption technology in the Second World War. One important cause was the fragmentation of the German cypher system. Only in the last two decades has it become clear that the consequences of this fragmentation in ciphering have been devastating. None of the many small encryption units in the Nazi Reich even approached the level of colleagues in Bletchley Park. While Enigma radio messages were cracked there with special machines, deciphering in Nazi Germany remained largely manual work, despite all the tradition of mechanical engineering. The Nazi code snatchers succeeded, but the most important codes of the Allies (for example, the British Enigma counterpart Typex or the US machine Sigaba) were always a mystery.

The cryptological superiority of the British and Americans was also demonstrated by the encryption methods developed by them. Their said machines Typex and Sigaba - devised by the brightest minds in the country - were clearly superior and unparalleled at the time. There were German cryptologists, who recognized the weaknesses of the Enigma, but in the fragmented German cypher system was overstrained with their warnings and so Hitler refused. It would have been a breeze to make the Enigma much safer with smaller design changes. Nevertheless, the Nazis used the Lorenz machine at the highest military level. But with their ingenious deciphering machine Colossus the British could routinely read from the end of 1943, which gave them enormous advantages in the fight against the Germans. Hitler’s refusal to dedicate more resources to the cryptographical side of his war effort meant that any and all German communications that were intercepted by the Allies could be deciphered, read and then that information used to cripple the Nazis. Another mistake, and arguably his greatest mistake was his incredible lack of skills in terms of the military and massive mistrust in his generals and other high-ranking persons. An example of this is was when Hitler dawned that his second blitzkrieg against the Soviet Union would fail; he dismissed his generals and ordered the pointless street fight in the Volga city. Only once did Alfred Jodl disappoint his "leader". The chief of the Wehrmacht command staff belonged to generals, whom Hitler did not unfailingly trust, and who was condemned to death, among other things, during the Nuremberg war crimes trial. On September 7, 1942, however, he once loudly opposed Hitler. The reason had come from an inspection trip that Jodl made two days earlier to Stalino, as Donetsk was then called. In the process, he was to find out when Army Group A in the Caucasus would finally reach its assigned goals. Jodl drew a deeply pessimistic picture. Neither is it possible to win the mountain passes nor is there a realistic chance of reaching the oil fields on the Caspian Sea until the end of summer. With this diagnosis, he massively criticized Hitler's strategic guidelines. He should, according to an eyewitness, have reacted with an "indescribable outburst of rage".

For the historian Bernd Wegner, who worked on the way of the Wehrmacht to Stalingrad for the standard work "The German Reich and the Second World War" of the German Armed Forces Research Office, the episode in the advanced Fiihrer headquarters in Werwolf in Ukraine represents the culmination of that crisis led to the downfall of the 6th Army on the Volga. Hitler dismissed the commander-in-chief of Army Group A Wilhelm List, and shortly thereafter Chief of the General Staff Franz Halder. The more it became clear that the second blitzkrieg in the Soviet Union would also become a debacle, the more fanatically Hitler drove his troops to Stalingrad and thus into catastrophe. It was literally a shock of reality that hit Hitler at Jodl's speech. The relatively light victories of the spring and the rapid advance over hundreds of miles to the south had produced grotesque victories. Instead of concentrating on one goal, the already strained forces had been split, heading for the Caucasus and towards the Volga. The transport capacities were so limited that at times the advance for days came to a standstill. Nevertheless, Hitler already gave instructions to make eight tank divisions tropicalized to attack the British in Iran. He also wanted to relocate victorious units to the Channel Coast. But his seasoned generals pointed out - true - warnings from the intelligence service that the Soviet troops were well on the way to "with a considerable part of. . . (their) forces to escape destruction. "Hitler, who had moved his headquarters to Vinnitsa on July 17, 1942, increasingly withdrew himself from the arguments of the military. In all reports from the fronts, which pointed to problems, he assumed a lack of fighting spirit.

After the appearance of Jodl on September 7, which had supported the front line, with the note that they were exactly to their orders, Hitler ordered stenographers to the situation briefings, which had to write down all his statements. He refused his generals a handshake, no longer took part in the common table and retired to a windowless barrack until dark. In this, as they say, "icy mood" Halder also drew the consequences. On 24 September he provoked his dismissal by open opposition. Conscious because he did not want to take responsibility for another failure of the offensive. "Basically, he (Hitler) hates everything that is field grey, " noted his adjutant. Kurt Zeitzler was appointed the successor to Halders, a decision that made clear the turn of the "September crisis" personally. Zeitzler was a convinced National Socialist and had made his rise mainly in the Third Reich - in 1934 he had just been a captain. His first instruction to the general staff was to believe in the leader again. After other high-ranking officers had lost their command, there was no one left in his environment and in the leading positions of his armies who still dared to convey Hitler's seriousness to the situation. Although the Wehrmacht had made in July and August 625, 000 Soviet prisoners and destroyed 7, 000 tanks and more than 400 aircraft, the resistance of the Red Army became increasingly stiffened. The more it became clearer day by day that the lofty goals, and above all the "final victory", would no longer be achieved by the end of the year, the more relentlessly Hitler drove his soldiers into senseless struggles. The refineries of Grozny and Astrakhan, which were still targets of his offensive, he had bombed and thus made unusable. Moreover, he ordered the 6th Army to destroy a city that until then had been only one stage on its triumphal procession: Stalingrad. This decision added with Hitler’s refusal to allow his troops to try to break free once they’d been surrounded, resulted in one the bloodiest battles of the Second World War and caused massive casualties to both sides. Then after over two months of fighting the 6th Army surrendered. This meant a huge loss of personnel for the Nazi Army as well as a massive loss of morale among the German populous. These two are just two of a variety of mistakes made by Hitler that cost the Nazis dearly.

I believe that the latter of these two the single greatest mistake made by Hitler during the entirety of World War II. Hitler's illogical mistrust of his experienced intelligent generals and other high-ranking personnel and his desire to make all the important military decisions despite his incredible lack of tactical and military knowledge. This lack of skill led to Hitler making many mistakes that proved incredibly costly for the Nazi war effort. This is why I believe that that was Hitler’s greatest mistake in World War II.

18 May 2020
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