It’s been interesting to see how much effort the Nazis put into slaughtering people, in a very disturbing way. To put that much resources into murdering people is horrible.
But what if… they didn’t? And all of that previously wasted resources was able to be directed at the Soviet Union? Would that have changed anything?
It’s hard to fathom hating a group SO much that you would use that much of your resources, but they did. It would be interesting to put that effort into perspective compared to the war in the USSR.
John Keegan certainly thought so, and he’s not the only only one. Initially, the Germans were greeted as liberators in VAST parts of the country. The intelligence, the lack of security troops, the much freer flow of supply at critical times, the not inconsequential potential for rebellion against Soviet authority in places like Moscow during Operation Typhoon.
The real question people ask is could the Nazis have NOT been so murderous and still conducted a World War 2 like what they did up to Barbarossa? And I think the answer is yes to a large degree. There were bloodless technocrat reasons to invade the rest of Czechoslovakia in 1939, and you don’t need to be one of the most corrupt regimes in history to face the economic problems Germany was facing by 1939 due to overheating the economy.
Granted, it would be a hard line imagining a merely unpleasant Nazi regime that invaded countries and did a bit of looting a bit of slave labor as economic needs manifested but kept their eyes on the big prize of taking Europe as the prize as is, but I think it possible. And for the people involve d it’s probably a better future in the short term, but it also means the Nazis are far FAR more likely to win, in which case all of Europe gets to stagnate under Nazi Breznevism until the economy of Europe cannot support the Goering’s of the world anymore and collapses in the 1980s or something.
I’m not sure that’s a better result than what we got and I hate saying that. Far more lives but lives without freedom, lives under the boot of corrupt but pragmatic gangsters.
I agree that the odds of being able to have that kind of control required them to be the worst people ever.
But even ignoring the thought of being liberators in the USSR, how many resources were used to slaughter people, and how did that compare to the resources used in Barbarosa? Would it have been a significant change by having all of those trains and personnel? Let alone all of the various weapons used to murder so many people?
Seeing so much effort put into murdering people, how does that compare with the war against the USSR? I think that might be an interesting perspective of how terrible they were.
You are right on the money, friend.
Think of all the regular weekly episodes where we’ve heard about German unit A having supply issues, lack of ammunition’s, etc. Then, think about all the WAH episodes where we constantly hear about Einzazgruppen X spending days gunning down civilians. Shoot them once, twice, three times to make sure they are dead. Meanwhile, the people who are within walking distance of Moscow have a shortage of supply.
With such idiocy, it is no wonder the Nazis failed.
In addition to the supply issues, had they been less brutal, it seems like they would have been far more likely to be considered “acceptable” as conquerors (there’s always some resistance to occupying forces, but rarely does it reach the kind of resistances you see in WWII Europe).
Also, it would almost certainly have made for a more robust espionage group. Wilhelm Carnaris, leader of the Abwehr (German military intelligence) actively went out of his way to sabotage the Nazis with things like his negitiations with Franco in Spain. And shortly after they cracked the Enigma codes used by the Abwehr (each service had a slightly different version of Enigma) the British had confirmed that they had caught every single Abwehr spy in the UK or turned them into a double agent. (I believe I’ve heard that Juan Pujol Garcia was the one Abwehr agent they hadn’t found by then, and that’s because he was in Portugal writing reports that were completely fabricated about his equally fabricated time spent in Britain…by the time British agents did find him, they were giving him a job offer, not hunting a spy.)
And it’s hard to believe that morale in general didn’t suffer to some extent among the common troops. There’s always going to be some nutso fanatics available, but for the most part, people aren’t exactly happy with the kinds of things the Nazis were doing. Passive acceptance does not make for the most enthusiastic army.
The short answer: possibly. Hitler’s goal of mass-extermination of Jews, slavs, and other peoples certainly created a political and logistic disadvantage.