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View Diary: Steve McMahon (171 comments)

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  •  It's wild speculation, really. (none)
    Round-the-clock bombing had a devastating impact on Germany, strategically. US Army Air Corps losses were horrendous, but acceptable given the effectiveness of daylight bombing.

    What impact did the constant air raids have on the German's efforts to develop a nuclear weapon, I wonder?

    The Soviets would have had a much tougher go of it in their drive to Berlin had they faced the full force of the German Army. Imagine, for example, how Army Group Vistula would have fared had it been bolstered by the 15th and 7th Armies? What if all those panzer divisions not been sqaundered in the Ardennes? It clearly would've taken Zhukov much longer to cross the Oder.

    In that time, Germany might have been able to produce nuclear warheads to place atop their V-2s. That would have changed everything. No one can know for sure, but I tend to think the Germans would have found a way to keep Russian tanks from entering Berlin.

    Still, it is shameful that our history books omit the sacrifices of the Russians in WWII. In contrast to Stalingrad, Omaha was a picnic at the beach.

    "I am not a crook" - The Honorable Richard M. Nixon

    by tricky dick on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 04:51:25 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Speculation, maybe, but still interesting (none)
      The way I look at it, neither the West nor the USSR alone could have defeated the Nazis -- at least until the atomic bomb was developed.  Allied bombing took a huge toll on armaments production while the fight in the East took a toll on personnel.  If there was no Eastern Front, D-Day could have never succeeded.  Similarly, if the 8th Air Force and the RAF didn't bomb the hell out of German factories, the Nazis would have had a much better shot of eventual success against the Soviets.  Moreover, Western military aid to Russia was a vital component of Russian military success.
      •  I am not as well read as you might be (none)
        but from all participating members of my family who were sent to the Eastern Front, nobody was convinced they could have won against Russia. Swamps and the weather did it. Nobody knew what it meant to fight in the winter in the Russian swamps. They would always have lost.

        The Americans just made it happen faster. And the fact that there was the Eastern Front to begin with was independently decided and not influenced by the US. I have three family members who died at the Eastern Front and four uncles and my father who survived and came back. I just give you what I heard from them.

        •  Being well read is one thing, being there (none)
          is quite another.  I appreciate your post and perspective.

          Actually, if you read what I said, I did not address the issue of whether the Germans could have defeated the USSR, only whether the USSR alone could have defeated Germany.  My own view is that military victory by Germany was pretty much foreclosed after the initial drive to Moscow stalled during the winter of 1941-42.  In the absence of Western pressure in the form of the bombing, I think the best outcome for the Germans would have been some sort of stalemate involving a pullback to somewhere east of Poland.  Outright conquest of the USSR was not a likely outcome.  Conversely, even with the massive manpower the Soviets brought to bear later in the war, defeating the Germans would have been a tall order absent Western assistance.

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