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Was Hitler's defeat inevitable?

Originally published under Ask Mr. History. Published Online: November 22, 2012 
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Dear Mr. History,  

How close did Hitler come to achieving victory in WW2? Many historians seem to believe that Hitler made too many errors and poor judgements that caused his demise, not to mention his persistent interference with his generals and his mistrust of them. Though I hate using the word, if he was a "better" leader could have he won the war or was his defeat inevitable?  



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Dear Andrew,  

Adolf Hitler loved calculated risks and was encouraged by the growing number that succeededbut therein lay the key to his inevitable failure. He overcommitted himself like hell, bailing out his friend Benito Mussolini in North Africa and the Balkans while sticking to his ultimate plan to conquer the Soviet Union, even while Britain remained unfinished business. His decision to declare war on the United States, even with Britain still fighting and with the Soviets counterattacking outside Moscow and at Rostov, was possibly based on the supposition that the Japanese would take up a lot of the slack, though Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto could have told him differently, had he cared to listen. From that point on, Hitler's defeat was more a matter of "when" rather than "if," and that inevitability was fairly well clinched after November 1942, when the Soviets encircled the Sixth Army at Stalingrad, the British took the offensive at Second Alamein, Operation Torch landed American and British forces in Morocco and Algeria, the Americans permanently seized the initiative at Guadalcanal, and the Americans and Australians landed at Buna-Gona to take the offensive in New Guinea.



Jon Guttman
Research Director
Weider History Group
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4 Responses to “Was Hitler's defeat inevitable?”

  1. 1
    Joesph Wheeler says:

    Who was the most effective leader of either sied in the Pacific Theater of WW2?

  2. 2
    Shooter1001 says:

    Was Hitler's defeat inevitable?

    I think that depends upon the date you base that question. Ask it in 1938? Or 1943?
    If he had refrained from invading Poland and built a German-centered axis with Czechoslovakia, Austria, Italy, Romania, Hungary and perhaps even France he may have been better prepared for the inevitable war with the USSR. Avoiding war with Britain was most important since that meant war with the USA and ultimate defeat.
    If you ask that question in 1943, I can't see how he could suffer anything but total defeat. Even if Hitler could come to some accommodation with Britain, France and the US he still faced the USSR. Stalin had no concern about casualties and saw the opportunity for territory. Nothing short of total victory over Germany would satisfy Stalin.

  3. 3
    Lyndon says:

    The Australians and Americans did not land at Buna and Gona. It was the Japanese after the defeat of their navy in the Battle of the Coral Sea.
    The Japanese were on their way from Rabaul, New Britain to invade Port Moresby, Papua.
    When thwarted in their plans to take Port Moresby by sea, the Japanese landed at Buna and invaded across the Owen Stanley Range to capture Port Moresby by land.
    They were stymied by the 32nd and 41st divisions U.S. Army and the Australian army.
    Now, What do you say to that?

  4. 4
    Bobe says:

    We talk a lot about Germany's war in 2 fronts, but in USSR the front was 400 miles long so just that mistake alone of overextended supply lines(plus partisans interference) was enough to halt the German military machine, BLITZKRIEG had no effect there. Germany could had won the war in so many different scenarios, but due to HITLER'S ego and control freak personality he took victory out of his generals hands. The german generals agreed with thrust towards MOSCOW, then we have STALINGRAD were Hitler fires general HALDER leaves the biggest body of the armies in the hands of a general PAULUS without any experience in the field instead of general Seydlitz., then the KURSK offensive when he should be defending instead attacking.There are several scenarios of a victory of Germany none includes Hitler meddling in the military affairs.

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