I tried searching but couldn’t find any threads on the topic, maybe other posters can point me in the direction of some threads that address this issue.
To make things clearer I’ll separate out the question by asking
a) at what point was allied victory inevitable in the European theatre?
b) at what point was it inevitable in the Asian theatre?
I know it’s improbable that Germany and Japan could have won the war outright but maybe they could have ended it in stalemate/ceasefire with territorial gains so after which point was this no longer possible and total surrender inevitable?
I’ve posted this in GD because there may be some debate over when this point was reached though perhaps there is a clear consenus, ie the dropping of the Atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki or some much earlier date(s).
Agreed, especially by the next day, when Hitler declared war on the US instead of sending the Japanese a card saying “I know we agreed to declare war on our mutual enemies, but I lied, so good luck and put me down for a crate of California oranges when you get there.”
Which would have been justified, since, when the Japanese didn’t attack the Soviets, Stalin made critical use of his Siberian troops.
Churchill said something to the effect of, “When I learned of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, I went to bed and slept the sleep of the saved and the happy.” He was right. Once the U.S. entered the war with its huge population and economic might, it was only a matter of time before Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany went down.
Dunno. If the Russian’s had folded during the winter of '42, Germany could’ve concentrated on its own defense for the next few years, and the D-day invasion would’ve been a lot harder going. So even with Perl Harbor, I’m not sure the outcome of the war (in Europe) became inevitable till the Russians started pushing the Germans back.
Which raises the question of what moment the “turning point” was for the Eastern Front. There was an interesting thread that asked that question a few years ago, but I can’t find it now…
I suppose as well it’s complicated by there being a retrospective inevitable point and a contemporary inevitable point. Did the Americans think when they entered the war that “yeah this’ll be a piece of cake” or was there trepidation until after D-Day, Midway or whatever other landmark events/dates?
I would argue that it was “Operation Uranus” and the encirclement of the German forces at Stalingrad. It took 230,000 of the Germans’ best troops out of the action with one fell swoop and demonstrated that the Soviets could carry out mechanized war on the same scale as the Germans.
IIRC, the Axis was technically a defensive alliance (i.e. the members were obligated to go to war against someone who attacked one of them, but if one of them made the original attack the others weren’t obligated to join in).
I’d like to suggest that winning the Battle of the Atlantic, specifically the US’ ability to mobilize its shipyards to simply build more freight tonnage than was sunk during 1942 and 1943 was key. I’m not sure whether it was always inevitable, but until the amount of tonnage getting through to the UK (and to a lesser degree, the USSR) was such that even the most successful U-boat tallies weren’t preventing the build up of supplies in the European theatre was a key turning point.
Now, obviously, the economic power was there in the US, and only really became mobilized after Pearl Harbor, but I think that for a couple of months in 1943 the numbers on supplies getting through to England were really that close to failure.
In the Pacific? Anything but a negotiated settlement for the Japanese was right out from the get-go. And that went out the window when the declaration of war was delayed by the decoding in the Japanese embassy until after the attack at Pearl.
Yes, but suppose the Japanese had better luck at Pearl Harbor and Midway and sank the majority of the US carrier fleet? It would have taken years for the US fleet to recover. Sure, our industrial power was so much greater than Japan’s that we could lose our fleet and start over, but a negotiated settlement isn’t completely out of the question.
And a Germany that isn’t losing on the Eastern Front is going to be a heck of a nut to crack. The German military was already collapsing by the time of D-Day.
No NOT Pearl Harbor Day-but early December;german General Guderian wrote: “losses through mid-December total 274,000 killed, wounded, and missing” (on the Russian front). This was when the Germans were winning-but these losses were unsustainable. By December, the horse-drawn german Army was bogged down, and its front line units were freezing and experiencing “General Winter” Had Stalin offerd peace feelers at this point, the germans should have taken them up.
I once asked my mother this question, since she was around at the time and very involved in the at-home war effort. She said that during most of the war, very many Americans really didn’t think we could win against both Germany and Japan, that we’d wind up having to surrender to one of them. But morale was such a huge issue, most people kept their skepticism to themselves, in public. She remembered her coworkers debating which country we should surrender to . . . but since she was Jewish, there was no contest.
Not to change the original question, but this is the perfect thread to ask something I’ve always wondered:
What would the war have been like if, instead of Japan going to Pearl Harbor, they attacked Russia?
Russia would have been fighting on two fronts and they were having a hard enough time with Germany as it was. In addition, the U.S. wouldn’t (necessarily) be involved! And seeing as how logically strategic this would be (to me, anyway), why didn’t Japan?
In a large part? Because the Japanese war aims were to solidify control over Manchuria, and various south east Asian resource areas. ISTR the two biggies they were looking to control were Indonesian rubber, and oil resources. There’s oil in Siberia, yes, but at the time, I think that most people still thought of Siberia as mostly useless territory with nothing but cold as a natural resource.
The reason for attacking the US was to pave the way to taking the Phillipines, and prevent US attacks to prevent the growth of their empire.
Japan not attacking the U.S.-held Philippines and Pearl Harbor is a pretty whopping big if, but… Stalin would have been in big trouble if he’d had to face both Japan and Germany attacking at either end of the USSR, without the U.S. in the war. The British wouldn’t have been able to invade W Europe with any realistic chance of winning, without U.S. help. (Churchill could mebbe cause some problems for Rommel in N Africa, but that was always kind of a sideshow). The Germans then would’ve been able to move troops to the Eastern Front who would otherwise be keeping an eye out for a cross-Channel invasion, and the Japanese would have lots o’ troops who otherwise would be scattered across various Pacific islands.
I wouldn’t bet on the survival of the Soviet Union under those circumstances, although it would’ve taken several years and some truly terrible warfare for a total Soviet collapse.
From what I have read, the Japanese were a land power only when fighting against disorganized and lesser equiped forces. Their initial successes during the Khalkin Gol incident were largly overshadowed by Zhukov’s successful use of a mechanized assault, which pretty much kicked the Japanese right in the beanbag.
What I don’t know is if the Russians had the logistical ability to fight a holding war against one force while repulsing the other. It’s possible they could have given up a LOT of the land of Easter Russia in order to buy time, but I don’t know what infrastructure existed there that would have been considered “un-give up-able”.
Elendil’s Heir, do you know if there was any place, other than cities that were already invested German armies (Leningrad and Stalingrad) which could have replaced Moscow as the adminstrative center of the USSR?
FTM, just how important to those casualty figures is it that the Wehrmacht, and SS, chose to treat Belorus, and the Ukraine, as conquered territories peopled by untermenschen, rather than some more humane model. ISTR that in Belorus, especially, the first Wehrmacht units were welcomed as liberators. Had the Nazi’s been institutionally capable of stepping away from their racialist idiocy, and simply promised government and treatment similar to that in Germany I wonder just how determined the fighting further in Russia would have been.
ISTR that even as Soviet propaganda was talking about people fighting and dying for the Rodina, there was still a lot of ambivalence towards Stalin, and the Soviet system in particular. Had the choice been other than to fight or face slavery, I wonder if the fighting would have been quite so hard on the Wehrmacht?