Anti-Colonialism and American foreign policy

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djolds1
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Post by djolds1 »

TallDave wrote:No, in fact not letting Patton go to Prague and eventually Moscow was probably the biggest mistake of the 20th Century. We could have avoided the entire Cold War. Russia had no air force or navy to speak of, it was entirely doable. And we certainly never should have armed them via Lend-Lease; 2/3 of their six-wheeled trucks were made in the U.S. It was an alliance that benefited them far more than us.
No. Churchill was correct. Best to put in a good word for the Devil if Hitler invaded Hell. We gave the weaker of the totalitarianisms arms and let the two demons bleed each other white for minimal cost in Anglosphere blood. Smart and cheap. But neither the American nor Brit populations would tolerate another war after the Nazis were smashed, and that is precisely what sticking it to the Soviets would have entailed. Also, the Russian Cheka was simply too good, too widespread, having cultivated and recruited too many useful idiots in Western universities during the 20s and 30s who were in offices of influence by 1943.
TallDave wrote:Just imagine if China and the rest of SE Asia had never gone Communist. Human civilization might be decades ahead.
Editing out communism is a major task. Such a different 20th century would have knock on effects both salutary and repugnant. Basically it requires a replay of WW1, with Germany coming out on top, or sanity breaking out and an armistice being declared once the Western Front froze in place. The Imperial West/ culture of "the white man's burden" never collapses. However, this means that the "polite racism" of that ancien regime endures, certainly well past where it did in actual history. The 20th century didn't start (culturally) until 1917 or so.
Vae Victis

djolds1
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Post by djolds1 »

MSimon wrote:And in fact it is not just the Brits who screwed the ME. The Germans had a big hand in it too. Baathism - still extant in Syria - is/was an offshoot of German fascism. Mein Kampf is still a best seller in the ME. The Palestinian problem is in part the result of German intrigues in WW2. See "The Mufti of Jerusalem".
The US has its share of blame. Our reflexive Anticolonial self-righteousness wrt the Suez Crisis prompted the Brits to finally say "screw it" and dump the ME in DC's lap. A great moment in American cluelessness. Smarter by far to leave the ME to London's control.
MSimon wrote:In may ways we are still fighting WW2 in the ME.
WW1. All the contradictory promises the Brits made in the ME during WW1 still have consequences today.
Vae Victis

djolds1
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Post by djolds1 »

CaptainBeowulf wrote:To some extent, Chris, you're taking the same attitude towards Americans as Americans in 1890 would have taken towards a Brit.
Smaller powers want constraining arrangements for the hegemon. The hegemon wants the maximum freedom of action. Mutually contradictory political aims.
Vae Victis

djolds1
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Post by djolds1 »

TallDave wrote:As for Japan, they were never remotely a match for us with our 43% of world industrial capacity. As Victor Hanson details, America's relative productive capacity was astounding; by war's end we were producing something like the equivalent of the entire Japanese navy, at its peak, every eleven months. We were lucky at Midway but it really just hastened the inevitable.
http://www.combinedfleet.com/economic.htm
Vae Victis

CaptainBeowulf
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Post by CaptainBeowulf »

On the comment on Germany and Greece that came up earlier:

The Germans had to invade the Balkans in May/June 1941, just before they invaded Russia. They actually used a couple of armies for this, and left them there fighting Balkan guerrilla movements until the Russian front reached the Balkans in late 44/early 45. That was about 20 divisions, not one.

They had to save Italy's butt in Greece, but also the Yugoslavs overthrew the pro-Axis regime in power in the spring of 41 and got an anti-Axis government - so the Germans were trying to take out two birds with one stone (Yugoslavia and Greece). Also, Britain was getting involved in opening a front in Greece - just like it had tried the Gallipoli landings against Turkey in WWI. The Germans actually did a lot of damage to the British forces in Greece, and it worked well for them operationally: the Brits had conducted an offensive in North Africa as well as joining the Greek front, and so were overextended. They ended up with defeats on both those fronts in the spring/summer of 41. Nonetheless, the Germans lost much of their elite parachute division invading Crete.

Some people argue that if the Germans hadn't had to invade the Balkans, they could have invaded the Soviet Union 3 weeks earlier, and so they would have captured Moscow before winter and won. However, others have pointed out that there was a long winter and delayed spring in '41, and the rivers that the Germans had to cross in Belorussia were still too swollen until late June. It wouldn't have been possible to ford them or build quick and dirty bridges - and even the Russians in '41 were still able to blow bridges as they retreated.

CaptainBeowulf
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Post by CaptainBeowulf »

On the point of the Germans at Stalingrad - by November '42 the Soviets were able to mass a huge force to encircle the Germans. There was a point - probably late August - early September '42, when the Russians were very weak. The Germans might have taken Stalingrad at that point if they could have thrown in another 100,000 men or so. However, by September Zhukov was already building up the forces to eventually encircle the Germans. The Russian policy from mid-September on at Stalingrad was to trickle in minimal reinforcements to keep the Germans fighting in the city. By the beginning of November, the Germans had captured all but a few small bridgeheads on the bank of the Volga. Most likely, if the Germans had committed more troops, the Russians would have thrown in more to keep the battle in the city going until they had their counteroffensive force ready. More Germans at Stalingrad would likely only have delayed the Soviet counteroffensive until December or January.

The real point is that the Germans were pursuing a foolish strategy. Sending a highly capable field army into an urban warfare meat grinder against a numerically superior opponent is military idiocy. The Germans could probably have formed a clean front along the Chir river inside the Don bend and concentrated on supplying the forces moving south towards the Caucasus oil fields. From the Chir positions they would have been quite capable of bombing the heck out the Soviet tank factories in Stalingrad. They would also have been in an ideal position to do what they did best - use their tanks and aircraft in open field combat to destroy Soviet wave attacks. What they could not do - and what they tried at Stalingrad - was win a battle of attrition.

If you read detailed histories, you also see that the Germans were outrunning their supply lines. They probably could have supported the ammunition and fuel expenditures for a defensive front on the Chir and an offensive in the Caucasus - they couldn't adequately supply offensives both at Stalingrad and in the Caucasus. They forgot about concentration of force/effort... or as they would have called it, schwerpunkt.

CaptainBeowulf
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Post by CaptainBeowulf »

Read "The German Generals" by B.H.L. Hart. Their take was that the Russian Army and Armament was greatly improved by war's end. And the Germans thought the Russians had the best tank of any Army by War's end.
Something similar was true of the Soviet air force - it got much better.

The Germans ate the Soviet air force up in 41 and 42, and held even with it in 43. However, read about some of the Soviet offensives in 44. The Soviets successfully executed massed dive-bomber and fighter-bomber attacks. Their fighters also successfully kept any German planes out of the air. They also did do some quasi-strategic bombing you don't hear much about in the west. They hit cities in the Baltic states and parts of what was then eastern Germany with medium bombers. I don't think it's a fair assumption that they would have posed no challenge for the RAF+USAAF team. I think the RAF+USAAF were stronger, and would have won eventually, but there would have been a few months with no clear air superiority during which our ground forces would have struggled against the Soviet armor.

Lend-Lease: difficult to say if the Soviets would have lost without it. We gave them tinned foods like spam, rail locomotives, refined petroleum products like aviation fuel, some artillery, a few tanks they didn't like, and loads and loads of trucks. It was probably the trucks that made the biggest difference.

However, they made the vast majority of their tanks (T-34s, KVs, "Joseph Stalins", SU-86 assault guns, etc) themselves. By the fall of 1942 they put these out at a rate of about 2000 a month, a rate which they sustained until the end of the war. They also built some mind-boggling amount of artillery themselves. All of that output probably would have happened without lend-lease. Same with aircraft: they were turning out tens of thousands a year.

Without all the trucks, canned food, extra locomotives, refined oil products etc. they probably would not have been able to move that mass of stuff forward as effectively. The Germans would have gotten more opportunities to regroup and counter-attack. Likely the Soviets don't win without lend-lease. But do they lose? Too close to call. Maybe stalemate.

Or maybe Hitler orders some other crazy grandiose offensive and the Germans end up losing whatever forces they would have saved up... and the Soviets just kind of slowly and ponderously lumber into Berlin.

Also, in regards to letting Patton go for Moscow in 1945: by that point the Soviets were making trucks and larger quantities of refined oil products themselves, and they already had all the other stuff we had given them. So, the end of lend-lease wouldn't have hurt them as much.

Best case scenario would have been if we actually had atom bombs by May 1945, and not just two of them - but several. In that scenario, we might have used the atom bombs to destroy the Soviet factories in the Urals. The Soviets would then have been left with just the forces they had in Europe - and those would have only lasted a few months without reinforcements.

I'm not sure under which scenario the human cost was greater. In the scenario of a war against the USSR, millions would have died. On the other hand, millions of people led crappy lives under Soviet rule. However, others managed to do OK, or to escape to the West. Which is worse? I know a lot of us would say "give me liberty or give me death", but that's our choice - don't know if I want to speak for the people of eastern Europe and Russia in saying "you would've been better dead than red"... especially as their descendants now have a chance.

choff
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Post by choff »

Everybody knows about General Patton, but few remember General Wavell and his influence on the war. He's one of these guys who did so much for so long with so little, the willing being led by the unknowning doing the impossible for the ungrateful. Four separate campaigns at once, causing the Germans to delay the attack on Russia by six weeks, back in the darkest days of 40/41, never more than 18,000 pairs of boots at the front.
CHoff

olivier
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Post by olivier »

djolds1 wrote:The US is the current 800 kilo grizzly bear, and 800 kilo grizzlies sit, and sh*t, wherever they d*mn well please.
Image
Then maybe Europe does not want to be mistaken for a second grizzly. :lol:
BTW, bears are beautiful animals. I have seen many in the wilderness and enjoyed it.

CaptainBeowulf
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Post by CaptainBeowulf »

General Alexander was another one who did a lot in North Africa and Italy. Some people say Eisenhower wanted him as ground forces commander in Normandy. You always hear about Monty at El Alamein and, later, the famous Monty-Patton rivalry into Italy... but seldom about Alexander.

Skipjack
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Post by Skipjack »

No. Churchill was correct. Best to put in a good word for the Devil if Hitler invaded Hell. We gave the weaker of the totalitarianisms arms and let the two demons bleed each other white for minimal cost in Anglosphere blood. Smart and cheap.
A few items:
Actually, they first let Hitler do his thing, because he was the only one who would be able to hold off an imminent attack by Russia. That was because they knew that Russia was building a huge army. Hitler at first did not want to attack Russia (remember they had a treaty), but the Germans had those high flying cargo gliders and they had cameras on those as well. They took pictures and those pictures actually made Hitler cry (according to an eye witness that I knew). The pictures showed a massive(!) army of tanks, waiting for crews, ammo and fuel. Thousands of them. Stalin did not simply ramp up production during WW2, he had already fully ramped up production long before the Germans had invaded. Why? Because he was going to attack first! That is the reason why Hitler was forced to do an otherwise foolish and badly equipped attack on Russia.
The Russian tanks were much better than anything the Germans had at the time. They were also overpowering the German tanks 10 to one.
That ratio never changed throughout the war. Had Hitler not attacked Russia first, before Stalin was able to finish his plans, the Russians would have walked all over Europe within days. That is a fact and you can read it up in the WW2 archives that the Russians opened after the end of the cold war.
Oh and Stalin was the much, much worse one of the two.

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

WW1. All the contradictory promises the Brits made in the ME during WW1 still have consequences today.
I should have mentioned that as well. In other words I agree.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

However, others have pointed out that there was a long winter and delayed spring in '41, and the rivers that the Germans had to cross in Belorussia were still too swollen until late June.
German Generals Talk

Is a fine book on the German High Command view of WW2. The General's view is that there was no significant delay or subtraction of force.

I highly recommend the book.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

djolds1 wrote:
ladajo wrote:Chris,
Was Wild West Justice something like British due process in India? Africa? The South Pacific? Ireland? Scotland? China?
Sir Charles Napier. Great man with a gallows and a sterling example of how to handle multiculturalism (i.e., frappe it).
ladajo wrote:In Saddam's case, it was nothing personal. He was an a-hole, and he needed to go. A-holes like him get what they deserve, a lynch mob of their own peers acting out a court decision made by themselves.
Oh, it was personal. The little turd had stuck his finger in the American eye for a decade, after we spanked him but let him live in '91. Payback's a female canid.
I had to look up canid. Not being a fancier myself. Thanks for the education.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

Jccarlton
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Post by Jccarlton »

MSimon wrote:
TallDave wrote:
They didn't do big strategic bombing raids, but they certainly had a lot of fighters, fighter-bombers and medium bombers. It would have been enough to tie up our air forces for a while.
The Luftwaffe ate them up. So did the Finns (!). Russia was a very poor country, relative to the Western powers. Stalin himself complained about this a lot.
Read "The German Generals" by B.H.L. Hart. Their take was that the Russian Army and Armament was greatly improved by war's end. And the Germans thought the Russians had the best tank of any Army by War's end.

The Russians were willing to take HUGE losses to reach their objective. And their logistic tail was near zero during an advance.
I'm not sure I would trust the Germans on something like this. The German ideals for AFV's placed far to much emphasis on armor and gun power and not enough on mobility and reliability. It's one thing to have a heavy big gun afv, but it also has to move and get to where it needs to be. Look at the battle of the Bulge. The tip of the Bulge is about 90 km from the base. Which strangely enough is the point where a Panther's transmission craps out. 90 kms is shorter than the run a typical Sherman ran on the test track in the Detroit arsenal to break it in. I don't have the exact figures, but the MBTF for a Sherman transmission is measured in thousands of miles. That's why you almost never see a picture of a Sherman on a transporter and why tank transporters were mostly used as standard tractor trailors(look at red ball express pics). On the other hand Panthers had to be transported or put on flat cars to reach the front. The ability of a Sherman to move long distances on it's ownr tracks was an important strategic advantage for the allies.

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