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WWII: How Close Were We?


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#1 Racoon

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 11:08 PM

*didn't quite know where to put this, so feel free to move it*

I am a huge World War II History Buff. :hyper:
It's probably the most significant war in History.
I watch any and all Documentaries I can. Any Movie with historical accuracy.

It involved so many countries, and killed so many people.
But here is what I noticed...

We could all be speaking German, Italian, or Japanese right now.
How close were we to losing???

2 pivotal events that changed the course; and your discusion is encouraged.

The Battle of Midway: The Japanese were ready to deliver a crushing blow to US Pacific fleets; But We broke their codes and instead surprised them by sinking 4 Japanese aircraft carriers and destroying 300 fighter planes! :evil:

Germany Declared War on Russia: Breaking the peace treaty. Hitler wanted Caspian Oil, and got overzealous.
Had he not attacked Russia, Europe would surely have fallen, I believe...

What are your thoughts?
I would love a great History thread on World War II, its significance and implications.
Data, History links, Opinions, anything & everything!

The part of WWII that I know the least about are the battles in Africa.
Only that Nazi General Rommel was a hard nut to crack!
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#2 Racoon

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 11:46 PM

Here are some Good Numbers.

http://www.bluejacke.../ww2_facts.html

and here is a another cool site, with a bit of neat trivia!
this will direct you to the trivia, and you can explore from there:

http://www.secondwor...uk/trivia1.html

#3 Racoon

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 11:53 PM

Heres a Cool History Buff Link! :hyper: Lots of extra info.

http://www.euronet.n...ied/ww2/ww2.htm

It is a well-recognized site, but the print is a little small...

Editing a new link here: Wikipedia of course; This will direct you to the Axis Powers. I find it intersting the Finland perspective and their role as "Co-belligerant"

http://en.wikipedia....iki/Axis_Powers

#4 Buffy

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 11:55 PM

There were pivotal events. If Hitler had been a little more strategic, he would have waited to attack Russia until *after* he'd invaded and controlled the UK. That was a *huge* error. If Tojo had been a little more strategic, he would have waited to attack the US *after* he'd coordinated with Hitler on squeezing Russia (they barely defended Stalingrad: imagine if they'd had a two front war with no help from the Brits and the US still in isolationist mode...). These people in charge were real meatheads, but you can find them throughout history (even Napoleon overstepped, just like Hitler, who then didn't learn from history...).

Speculation is always tricky, and the historians know more facts, but--although I really think most SciFi is dreck--do read Philip K. Dick's "Man in the High Castle" http://www.amazon.co...uct/0679740678. If you decide you like the genre, you might also like L. Sprague deCamp's "Lest Darkness Fall" http://www.amazon.co...duct/0515608173 (which is set 2000 years earlier in Rome....).

What if pigs flew?
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#5 Racoon

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Posted 28 April 2006 - 02:44 PM

From the Trivia link:
Hitler was a teetotaller, non-smoker,and a Vegetarian.
Himmler was a chicken farmer.

The Soviets by far lost the most people during the war. :evil:
I recommend the movie "Stalingrad". Its a foreign film, but it is rivoting!
That is what Hell must be like...:esheriff:

I watched a Documentary on Japanese - Chinese part of the war.
Americans and the British supplied the Chinese resistance, thus perpetuating the conflict. The Japanese were fighting a race war as they consolidated China, and tried to convince the Chinese of that...
Bad Stuff! :hyper:

Norway lost 5,000 service men. They endured some Nazi occupation when they left Finland.

My friend in Austria, whom I visited, said that Austrians are still resentful of Germans. :shrug:
Man, talk about an event that shapes our lives to this day!

Many of the Legionairres are dying now from old age. I recommend you siphon as much knowledge from them as possible...

Does anyone have any cool tidbits on WWII??

#6 Tormod

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Posted 28 April 2006 - 03:50 PM

Norway lost 5,000 service men. They endured some Nazi occupation when they left Finland.


Sorry - this isn't correct. Norway was occupied on April 9, 1940 unrelated to Finland. We were under Nazi rule until May 8, 1945. Although our army capitulated after only a few months of battle, we had a very strong resistance.

The famous Telemark Batallion wrote history when they blew up the heavy water plant at Rjukan, Telemark - perhaps the single most important event which prevented the Germans from creating the nuclear bomb.

http://odin.dep.no/o.../032005-990466/

The 5,000 deaths were mostly seamen. I think the correct figure for enlisted soldiers was less than 1,000.

#7 Racoon

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Posted 28 April 2006 - 04:02 PM

Sorry - this isn't correct. Norway was occupied on April 9, 1940 unrelated to Finland. We were under Nazi rule until May 8, 1945.
Telemark - perhaps the single most important event which prevented the Germans from creating the nuclear bomb.

http://odin.dep.no/o.../032005-990466/


That was a stat I read in one of the links on casualties. Numbers like that are tricky. :)
I was trying to draw you in! ;)

Norway's importance hadn't been clear to me. I was curious about Finland, as they weren't really Nazi supporters, but were fighting the Soviets; thus "alligned" themselves that way. "Co-beligerant":confused:

Thanks for the clarification Tormod, and the link!

I mostly see it from the US point of view.
Which is why I am encouraging others viewpoints. :D
I am interested in India's role as well.

#8 Pyrotex

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Posted 28 April 2006 - 05:51 PM

...Does anyone have any cool tidbits on WWII??

Not many folks even know about the Buna Campaign in Papua New Guinea.
My father was there, just outside the town of Port Moresby on the southern side of PNG, in the eastern "tail" of that huge island. Down the "spine" of that tail runs the Owen Stanley mountains--they are compression ridge mountains, some of the highest and "ridgiest" in the world. On the northern side of the island was the village of Buna.

On maps held by both the Japanese and the British, there was marked a light wiggly line that connected Buna on the north coast to Port Moresby on the south coast. Both parties assumed this marked a road through the mountains. Both parties were dead, freakin' wrong!!! It came from hand scribbled notes from a missionary a century earlier. It was a foot path.

The Japanese landed massively at Buna with artillery, trucks and arms designed for mountain travel. They were totally unprepared for what they found. The "road" went straight up 45 degree cliffs to peaks where the night time temps were around freezing--then went straight down 45 degree cliffs to valleys with 110 degree heat, 100% humidity, dense jungle, raging cataract streams, and buggy-bitey thingies that would kill you before you hit the ground.

Then you repeat over the next hogback ridge. And the next. And the next... They took apart their trucks and weapons and pulled them up and let them down on ropes. Pulled them up, let them down.

Meanwhile, General McArthur using Brit maps, send Americans and Australians into Port Moresby and up the "road" into the jungly mountains to meet the Japanese. They soon faced the same freakin' problems!!! The Japs and the Brits lost upward of 80% of their troops, mostly to disease, bugs, snakes, cataracts and falls. Men went crazy, screaming into the jungle never to be found again. There was no road. It was just a native footpath.

Finally, the Japanese cut their loses and retreated to Buna. The British and Americans finally landed on the north beach and defeated them at ungodly high losses--The Allies lost maybe three to one. Many casualties were flown over the Owen Stanley mountains to the Seven Mile airstrip just inland from Port Moresby. There, my father, Johnnie Finch Thompson, was a medic in the American field hospital unit. And did he ever bring home some stories... :)
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#9 Chacmool

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Posted 14 July 2006 - 09:50 AM

Just a little *nudge*. :naughty: This thread has been moved here from the Lounge.

#10 Qfwfq

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 02:45 AM

If Hitler had been a little more strategic, he would have waited to attack Russia until *after* he'd invaded and controlled the UK. That was a *huge* error.

:)

Down through history, has anyone ever got away with attacking Russia?

#11 HydrogenBond

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 10:12 AM

Napoleon attacked Russia and made it to Moscow. The problem was that the troops were so stoked by their victory that they burnt Moscow. This left no quarters and provisions for the French troops during the Russian winter. Their arrogance was pivotal part of their downfall.

The same was probally true of Hitler. It started to believe his own propaganda due to his being pumped up with speed-balls.

#12 Zythryn

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 03:30 PM

What if Japan occupied Hawaii after Pearl Harbor?

If you are interested in alternate histories (where what if's play out with otherwise historic accuracy) try some Harry Turtledove. He has written dozens of books about this type of thing.

#13 HydrogenBond

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 04:01 PM

Actually they sort of do. The Japanese own a lot of real estate in Hawaii.

It is interesting to speculate what would have been. For example, if Japan and Germany kept clear of instigating the US until they consolidated their empires throughout Europe and Asis. An then attempted to take the fight directly to the US by attacking it on two fronts. It would be tough for them to maintain that supply line. At the same time, America would have more than ideals to fight for; also survival and revenge. The result would have still been the same.

#14 Freddy

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 08:47 PM

:edizzy:

Down through history, has anyone ever got away with attacking Russia?


Yes, the Mongols or Tartars, attacked, conquered, and controlled Russia for over two centuries. This was called the Mongol Yoke. Timijin or Gengis Khan was a conqueror who with his desendents carved out an empire that included; Mongolia, China, Korea, Russia, the Balkans and Arabia. Russia has been invaded a dozen times including by the US in 1918 at Archangel.

#15 Freddy

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 09:06 PM

Napoleon attacked Russia and made it to Moscow. The problem was that the troops were so stoked by their victory that they burnt Moscow. This left no quarters and provisions for the French troops during the Russian winter. Their arrogance was pivotal part of their downfall.


Actually, the Russians themselves burnt Moscow to deprive Napoleon his victory. The Russian army had fought the French to a draw outside of Moscow at Borodino. The winter did not defeat Napoleon's Grand Army of 600,000.

100,000 were KIA and WIA
100,000 died of starvation and disease before reaching Moscow
100,000 would desert
the French out paced their supply lines
Russians used a scorched earth strategy
Napoleon's best troops and generals were in Spain fighting Wellington
communication was poor as his soldiers spoke 12 different languages
Napoleon waited too long before retreating
the winter of 1812 was mild

Starving and ragged troops were in a forced winter retreat became a rout.
Only 40,000 of his troops survived the invasion of Russia.
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#16 Qfwfq

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Posted 28 July 2006 - 07:12 AM

Actually, the Russians themselves burnt Moscow to deprive Napoleon his victory.

Exactly. The Russians are a crafty lot.

They knew Napoleon could barely make it to Moscow and was totally reliant on quickly taking it, in order to recover, that was the one, huge, mistake of all his achievements.

Russia has been invaded a dozen times including by the US in 1918 at Archangel.

Now, I wouldn't quite count that kind of thing, I meant a complete defeat. Gengis Khan yes, that counts, I'd call it a lone example.

#17 Qfwfq

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Posted 28 July 2006 - 07:49 AM

For example, if Japan and Germany kept clear of instigating the US until they consolidated their empires throughout Europe and Asis. An then attempted to take the fight directly to the US by attacking it on two fronts.

The Yanks weren't so dumb as not to realize the risk of Nazi-Fascism taking hold on the other continents.

Before Pearl Harbour they were supporting the Brits without direct involvement. They did however get a lot of concessions in the deal, gaining many strategic advantages from the British Empire, this was most of the reason why the global situation changed so much from before to after WWII.