Plot Holes in World War II

Someone has finally pointed up some of the biggest failings in a very popular episode in the history of “The Universe” and we certainly can’t miss out on that, can we? Especially when it’s so incisive:

Indeed; you can’t make some trait a defining feature of a character and then throw it out entirely when you get a new idea. Or, if you do, be sure to actually throw it out; maybe then the audience won’t remember the nasty trick you just played on them. Flipping back and forth just doesn’t go.

Admittedly, it’s possible to retcon your way out of a bad spot, as has happened in this case regarding the worst of the black-and-white morality. However, it doesn’t count in some sense: The work is done, it’s finished, and if you wanted to have said something different you’re too late. Especially when it’s obviously a different author writing the later episodes; going from this episode to the bigger-budget episodes in the “Cold War” plot arc is like Stan Lee handing off to Alan Moore or, in some regrettable cases, Frank Miller.

Anyway, the whole thing is worth a read. He doesn’t touch on some of the other absurdities, like how Germany’s anti-Semitic policy just happens to force out enough of the scientists working on the A-bomb miracle weapon (a largely unheralded deus ex machina, something one of the characters even remarked on in-story) so the Americans have it and the Germans never even come close, except for some espionage subplot fodder. All this after building up Germany and Austria as a wonderful place for science and culture, and giving the Germans (largely ineffective) wonder-weapons like the early jets and ballistic missiles. Again, inconsistency just doesn’t go.

(And don’t even get me started on some of the characters. Patton would never be allowed within spitting range of a real tank, let alone be allowed to rise all the way up to umpty-star general so he could gallivant around and fulfill a delusional reincarnation fantasy. It’s like they didn’t even care that the whole Theosophy plot was largely done with decades’ worth of story time before this whole mess began.)

Eh, I can gloss over the obvious anachronisms and shortening the time for major research projects and the like, and of course they’re going to Godwinize the main villains-- Moral ambiguity doesn’t sell. But I just couldn’t buy some of those over-the-top action heroes. Audie Murphy? Yeah, right. I’ll bet the actor they got to play him had never won so much as a bar brawl. And don’t even get me started on that Simo Hayak guy.

One of the main enemy nations building most of the houses of their capital city out of paper? So it can be bombed, and crackle, crackle, crackle, burn up? Sure.

And the cliched general who said “I shall return.” And a major sea battle turning at the last minute thanks to a plucky group of fighter pilots. Please, don’t rip off Star Wars for your plot points, okay?

Lets just fool ourself by calling our bombers “Flying Fortress” and send them all the way to Berlin without escort, in broad daylight! and think that will change the tide of war!

A bit formulaic for my taste. After the success of the first one, the sequel brought back most of the cast and added more explosions, ending with a Michael Bay finale.

I liked:

“the Soviet strongman whose name means “Man of Steel” in Russian (seriously, between calling the strongman “Man of Steel” and the Frenchman “de Gaulle”, whoever came up with the names for this thing ought to be shot).”

And of course the pivotal battle between the Germans and Russians took place at a town called “Stalingrad”. Oh, yeah; that took some imagination.

I like his point about how the British PM is a total Mary Sue.

There was weak pacing too. Look at the early months of the war. The whole “Invasion of Poland” story was over in just four weeks. And then nothing happened for six months! They all just sitting around acting like there isn’t even a war going on.

Then suddenly in May, they finally remember they’re supposed to be fighting. But do they do it right? No. France, which was supposed to be this big strong power, rolls right over. Yeah right, like that’s believable. Any of you guys ever hear about World War I and five years of fighting?

My guess is they saw they were getting low ratings and they figured the war was going to be cancelled. So they threw together all of the stuff they had been saving up for the rest of the war as a grand finale. Then what happens? The war doesn’t get cancelled after all! So now they have to rewrite the whole story and make Britain be the new big strong power.

Britain! Like a little island is going to be able to do something when a big country like France couldn’t. And they had already written themselves in a corner by writing out the entire British Army. And they had to recast the British government and bring in new characters.

I was all set for some big payback when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, but what do the Americans do? They invade NORTH AFRICA!


It took me completely out of the story.

All you complainers got what you deserve. Everyone knows Rabat anything with Roman numerals in the title sucks.

I guess the author has never heard of Mers-el-Kébir, Dresden or Hiroshima. The axis powers won the “most evil” prize hands down, but there were plenty of questionable actions on the allied side. Even the history channel has touched on some of them.

Imho, this was a (not too subtle) jab at Bush2 who invaded Iraq after being attacked by Saudis.

I will say that having the American President die before the end of the war was a shocker. However, they ruined the moment by replacing him with a guy from Missouri who went from County Judge to Senator to VP to President in all of 10 years. :rolleyes:

What lost it for me was that the most decisive battle of the Pacific naval war was won because the American fighters just happened to attack the Japanese carriers when all their planes were on deck and switching from fighter ammunition to bombs in order to attack Midway. I mean, the timing was just plain unbelievable.

I also didn’t like the deus ex machina of “radar.” One side has a secret weapon that can show the other sides planes and ships from a distance, but the other does not? Pretty damn convenient.

And don’t get me started on how the British were able to break the German’s unbreakable code.

Good follow-on in the comments:

Oh I love this thread! (How I wish some clever History teacher could use it in a class for those students who claim history is dull. Truth = stranger than fiction, obviously.)

I have nothing clever to add, though.

You have to give them credit though, for a small show in a cable channel they have a hell of a special effects team. Some of those explosions look real, not to mention the SFX on the death scenes.

Let’s not even get into how America did in this thing - WTF, did these people think that we’d believe this crap?

Let’s look at the timeline:

1939 - Depression
1940 - Depression
1941 - Depression
1942 - Getting ass kicked left and right
1943 - Finally starting to fight back at the periphery
1944 - Huge fuckin’ army, huge fucking industrial output. Invade Europe by water, island-hopping in the Pacific. Weren’t they in a depression just 2, 3 years ago (show time)?
1945 - Huge fuckin’ army, winning a 2 front war, miracle super-weapons, standing-off the true “winner” of WW2 in Europe

There’s not enough :rolleyes: in the world for such an arc. Might as well give the US a magic wand while we’re at it, guys.

The notion that, with millions of people dying and the whole world in chaos, a general could get in trouble for just slapping a guy is pretty stupid.

And please, you expect me to believe that some obscure Lieutenant Colonel in the beginning of 1941 will rise to become the Supreme Allied Commander by 1944? When he had never even commanded so much as a batallion in combat prior to this war? And that he won’t command any in combat before his promotion? That he will then go on to become President due to his immense popularity?

Talk about Mary Sues.