Myths of WWII

I have this in pdf form but at a megabyte, couldn’t upload it here. Fortunately it’s available as a webpage. One of the myths, according to the author, was:

Erwin Rommel was sent to North Africa in the first place to salvage
Mussolini’s hold on Libya, but he was not sent into Egypt so that the Giza
pyramids could be dismantled and then re-erected on the edge of Berlin the
way the Germans had earlier done with the Pergamum Altar in the middle of
the city.

He was to supervise the killing of all Jews in Egypt, Palestine,
and elsewhere in the Middle East under the control and with the
participation of the murder commando attached to his headquarters.5 Hitler
did not trust the Italians, to whom the area was to be allotted, to carry
out this critically important mission as thoroughly as he was confident
his own people would before the land was turned over to his ally.

German military leaders who complained in the winter of 1941-42 that their men
were freezing, losing limbs and sometimes their lives, because of the
absence of trains to bring warm clothing, when there were trains on the
same lines to bring Jews to be killed in the newly occupied Soviet
territory, learned the hard way what the objectives and priorities of the
regime they served actually were.6

The name of the author should give you an idea as to the slant of the work, which is not to say it negates it – it’s just something to bear in mind.

6 comments for “Myths of WWII

  1. dearieme
    July 15, 2017 at 16:19

    Seems a bit hysterical to me. For example he tries to disprove the ‘myth’ that the victory of the Allies was the result of their overwhelming superiority in human and
    material resources by cherry-picking a couple of counter-examples. One is the Battle of Britain, where indeed the British fighter planes were not superior in numbers or quality. The battle was won by the qualitative superiority of Home Chain. Fair enough. He also mentions Midway, where although he exaggerates the Jap superiority in number of aircraft carriers, and ignores the fact that the battle was won by luck, his point is still fair.

    Two counter-examples, however, do not demolish the case. Anyone who’s read, for instance, about the battle for Normandy can see that it was the Allied air and naval supremacy, combined with superiority in artillery, and endless ability to replace damaged tanks and other vehicles, that won the day. Similarly Monty was far better off for numbers and materiel at El Alamein than was Rommel.

    The Americans in the Pacific became far better equipped than the Japs as the war progressed, and better off for numbers too since more than half the Jap army was tied up in China throughout WWII. Once the Yanks had a decent torpedo they sank so much irreplaceable Jap shipping that Japan was doomed.

    Neither Japan nor Germany had anything to compare with the strategic bomber airforces of the British and Americans.

    There are unexplained mysteries in the war – for instance, how on earth did British and Imperial/Commonwealth forces have such a resounding one-sided victory in Burma in the last months of the war? (When I say it’s a mystery, I mean to me; presumably I simply haven’t read enough about it.)

    • July 15, 2017 at 16:33

      I’m just wondering, you know, if wars aren’t predetermined, the common connection being wealth.

      Or maybe the other side is backed with money and resources and then does something to annoy the PTB and it dries up.

      • July 16, 2017 at 05:09

        I’m just wondering, you know, if wars aren’t predetermined, the common connection being wealth.

        All modern warfare, from 1914 onwards, is economic warfare. Nothing else matters.

        You should read Adam Tooze’s The Deluge – it explains very neatly why the Germans lost WW1. And why they never had a prayer of winning WW2.

        • July 16, 2017 at 10:10

          Yes.

        • dearieme
          July 16, 2017 at 13:18

          “And why they never had a prayer of winning WW2.”

          That’s hindsight. Three different decisions could have changed everything. (i) Don’t stop to service your tanks and turn south against the French, just force a British surrender at Dunkirk. (ii) (a) Don’t attack the USSR weeks too late in the year, and (b) don’t disperse your forces over a three-front attack. (Note: no Battle of Britain gives the Germans far more air power for the attack on the USSR. No strategic bomber offensive by Britain means the Germans have far more artillery and aircraft for the war on the USSR.) (iii) Don’t declare war on the USA.

          Of these (iii) is probably the weakest requirement because if Britain had surrendered, Japan could just have cleaned up the Dutch and British colonies without much temptation to attack the US. (iia) is also iffy, in the sense that if Britain had surrendered there would probably have been no occasion to delay Barbarossa. (iib) might also be weak because a surrendered Britain would have meant that the Germans could have imported plenty of oil from the Middle East, so that the German attack towards Baku would have been much less tempting.

          Looked at that way the key issue was Dunkirk.

          • July 16, 2017 at 13:23

            Thanks for this. Interesting.

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