Posted: March 18th, 2023
In the first three years of the Second World War, the German forces made significant advances in a successful manner and were able to conquer the most part of Europe and a substantial part of Russia’s European territory. At the time when the Nazi forces entered into Russia in World War 2, the strategic line of attack was planned to be similar to that employed in overpowering France and Poland, initially during the war. The initial success was through the use of Blitzkrieg. This was a very fast, pooled arms attack that consisted of a tank thrust, facilitated by mobile and aircraft weaponry adept of being at par with the tanks and backed by portable infantry to combine expanded territory. Nevertheless, different from the campaigns against Poland and France, which resulted in the immediate laying down of arms of these nations, the campaign against Russia came to be slowed down, protracted and in the end a shattering defeat that had a remarkable impact on the outcome of World War 2 (Stahel, 2009). The purpose of this paper is to indicate eventual defeat of the German forces and show why the Blitzkrieg was not a war-winning innovation for the Germans during World War 2.
To begin with, one of the underlying factor was the lack of a proper understanding and consideration in the high command of the Nazi forces with respect to the purposes and objectives of Blitzkrieg. In particular, Blitzkrieg attacking and invasion necessitates relentless mobility as it attacks as quickly as possible at the strategic points of the adversary, which will instigate speedy admission of defeat. These may be industrialized, armed, radical or commercial aims, but their capture ought to lead to triumph and conquest. In simplicity, the adversary ought to be caused to react incessantly, devoid of any prospects to be preemptive, as a counter-offensive on armed forces overextended as sparingly as those in a Blitzkrieg ought to, by requirement be, possibly will be calamitous in the extreme.
In accordance to Waugh (2001), the commander of the German forces who was the mastermind of the winning conquests in France and Poland was completely aware of this aspect. He had the understanding that the requirement of the forces was not, in any way, to avert and permit the enemy time to respond. This is because he was cognizant that eradicating all resistance of the forces’ way was not just non-essential, but could in actual fact be damaging, if it instigated the attack to stall and permitted the adversary spell to transpose other forces. The significance for the forefront forces was to evaluate and gauge whether enemy forces are an immediate danger, and if not, disregard them, taking into consideration if the enemy admits defeat, all of its armed forces are instantaneously neutralized (Waugh, 2001). The ineffectiveness of Blitzkrieg came about because Hitler did not understand these conceptions. Subsequent to the fast swift surrounding and seizure of Minsk well-ordered, in contrast to the advices of the commander and other select few to move in on Moscow, the German driving force to strike south to seize Kiev, combining German places, but eradicating their significant advantages of swiftness and the element of surprise.
In turn, this delay in the attack permitted several aspects to take place. For starters, the Russian forces, which had up to that time been overwhelmed to react faster, had the capacity to reposition themselves and make preparations. In addition, Hitler had misjudged both the enormous production competences of the Russian government, and the determination of the Russian general public. A long way from a rapid defeat, this hiatus empowered Stalin to turn the battle into the Great Patriotic War, decreasing the probabilities of admission of defeat. In addition, there was also the factor of deteriorating resources. This is largely perceived during the later Nazi forces campaigns and attacks in Russia (Adamsky and Bjerga, 2012). This is because Blitzkrieg drained large amounts of energy fuel and resources as a result of both Russia’s vicious weather conditions, and exceedingly enormous size with regards to land to conquer. The Soviet Union was extremely larger compared to the small nations that Germany had initially conquered in Western Europe. As a result, the German forces were forced to travel over extensive distances as they headed inwards into Russian territories. In the end, the resources that the forces has begun deteriorating and taking into consideration that the Germans were fighting using a mechanized war strategy, the lack of fuel caused Blitzkrieg to be ineffective (Stahel, 2009).
One other reason why Blitzkrieg ended up not being a war-winning innovation lies on its extensive dependence on a topography that was not a good infrastructure. This is owing to the fact that the tanks employed by the German forces were ideal and had better performances on land that was flat and dry (Oleinik, 2015). This aspect came to be very much clear in the course of the campaign and attack against Russia. More so, this downside was ostensible during the Nazi forces’ last endeavor at an attack during the Battle of the Bulge in the year 1944. Different from Western Europe where there were extensive good roads and landscape, the German forces experienced such a tough time in Russia, owing to the roads that were broken down and muddy. In addition, the railway transport system of the nation was extremely less effective (Oleinik, 2015). In turn, this had an adverse impact on the German forces as they were unable to attain provisions for food and fuel, which caused numerous German army units to live and fight without food for numerous days (Oleinik, 2015). In addition, Blitzkrieg was largely reliant on good weather conditions and climate. This is deemed to be one of the major reasons as to why this war tactic or innovation failed to succeed in Russia. This is because in previous attacks in Western Europe, the German forces were helped with the warmer climate conditions. In contrast, the harsh and brutal weather conditions in Russia led to the death of several German army soldiers. The forces had not anticipated these dissimilar and disparaging kind of weather conditions (Oleinik, 2015).
In conclusion, the Blitzkriek was in the initial years of the Second World War quite inventive as it brought the success in conquering France and Poland. This was due to the fact that this war tactic took into account the use of tanks, in addition with mobile and aircraft weaponry. This enabled the German forces to have the element of surprise and speed during their attack. However, when the Nazi forces made the decision to invade Russia, the weaknesses and downsides of Blitzkriek were brought out into the light of day, showing that it was not a war-winning innovation. To start with, the weather conditions were extremely harsh and the German soldiers were not able to handle the winter. In addition, the landscape and poor infrastructure in Russia caused the tanks to become ineffective in the attack. In addition, the delay prompted by Hitler removed the element of surprise and enabled the Russians to plan and respond to the initial attacks (Adamsky and Bjerga, 2012).
This indicates that Blitzkrieg was in the end not a war-winning innovation for the German army as it failed to be effective during the later stages of the Second World War. Different from the initial years where the Nazi troops enjoyed victory over European nations such as Poland, this instigated the eventual defeat to the Russians.
Adamsky, Dima.,Bjerga, Kjell. Contemporary Military Innovation: Between Anticipation and Adaption. London: Cass Military Studies, 2012.
Oleinik, Gleb. World War 2: The German Blitzkrieg. Hib Pages, 2015. Retrieved 14 December, 2015 from: http://hubpages.com/education/World-War-2-The-German-Blitzkrieg.
Stahel, David. Operation Barbarossa and Germany’s Defeat in the East. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
Waugh, Steven. Essential Modern World History. United Kingdom: Nelson Thome, 2001.
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