Word Count 880
Sean Van Grinsven
“Allied victory in World War 2 was as much the result of the allied strategic success, as it was German mistake. In many respects, Germany lost the war, rather than the Allies winning it.”
Allied victory towards the end of WW2 was primarily due to Hitler’s ideology and his inefficient military structure. His poor military structure enabled the Allies numerous opportunities to collectively regroup their forces and to continue the war against Hitler. German military strategy was erratic, at times directed by fanatical ideology rather than sound military strategy. There were many victories (the Blitzkrieg) that demonstrated Hitler’s brilliance as a leader and strategist, Liddell Hart describes the early conquest of the west where Hitler began to appear as a gigantic figure when the German war machine was in full flight. Other confrontations such as the Blitz, Dunkirk and Barbarossa suggest that Hitler decisions were floored. This raised questions about his leadership and eventually led to the destruction of the Great German War Machine (Wehrmacht).
Hitler career was dominated by the awesome power he had over the German people initially that transcended into the international community. His power over the people was partly due to his extraordinary talent as an orator. His ability to communicate across a range of people from commonfolk to industrialists to military personnel, gave him a charisma that people found exciting and believable. This was demonstrated in the pact with Poland to appease France, “Hitler’s intuitive genius and the way in which he was able to manipulate his foreign audience as much as he had done with his domestic’ (De Luca in Braunbeck, 97). Hitler also had the uncanny ability to commit to memory, (almost photographic), precise details of events/communications and complex technical details. This caused some paranoid distrust of his general’s n which Hitler refused to consult with them on strategic meetings. Field marshal Erich von Manstein suggested that “Hitler had the characteristics essential to military leadership, strong will, nerves of steel and undeniable intellect”. Other qualities attributed to Hitler were his attention to detail and his controlling behaviour; this was most obvious in his military structure.
Hitler was, first and foremost determined to command the military personally. According to his leadership principle (Fuherprinzip), Hitler wanted ultimate authority. “It must never be forgotten that nothing really great in this world has ever been achieved through a coalition, but that such achievements have always been due to the triumph of the individual. Adolf Hitler”. Adolf saw himself as that individual. The Military structure was such that at he ensured that no general or commander had enough authority to make independent decisions. In 1941 he became Commander- in- chief of the army where he had direct control of the armies. Like all great leaders Hitler had weaknesses, it was his distrust of his commanders and generals that had the biggest impact on his military strategy. Schram in Braunbeck suggests that by this one action alone he took away the very essence of leadership- allowing subordinate commanders the freedom to make decisions based on the experience and knowledge of the battle field (). Essentially inability to make rapid decisions and communicating them to the front line commanders cost Germany the War.
Poor military strategy/communication enabled the allies to regroup, recover and restock. In the battle of Britain 1940 Germany was