Why did Hitler not include Turkey in the Molotov Ribbentrop pact or invade Turkey?

Yes, right on the money, my friend! :wink::+1:Turkey was seriously approached by Nazi Germany to join the Axis Powers but they respectfully declined, or as we say in the Netherlands, they chose eggs for their money :rofl:

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Ok these are my inferences (though I am pretty sure most of them are wrong) :

  1. Hitler viewed Turkey as a friend rather than a foe so it makes no sense to include it in the Molotov RibbenTrop pact. (He probably included Bessarabia because it would easier to befriend Romania and get all the sweet sweet oil?)
  2. The supply lines would be stressed even more and the wehrmacht probably would not have made it to Moscow or the caucacus?
  3. Let’s say they go ,screw it let’s invade Turkey then that also opens up another invasion route by the allies as (spoiler) the allies invade Italy in 1943.
  4. It would mess up the chrome deal?
  5. And if they did invade they would lose a good spy base against the USSR?
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A solid analysis, as far as I am concerned :+1:

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Why not invade Turkey in 1941?

  1. Week 1 you conquer European Turkey; week 2 you face an amphibious assault to reach Asian Turkey.
  2. If you invade Asian Turkey you have to support your forces across the Bosporus.
  3. What do you gain by conquering Turkey? Your next move options are the same but you have spread your forces out and have suffered loses.
  4. A neutral Turkey protects your southern flank from the allies in the middle East.
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Not sure religion matters on this. I thought Ataturk and therefore Turkey, at least officially, was militantly secular at this time?

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Actually,
Hitler is more logical and rational than OKH and generals in the field. He realized the war was an economic one, and that denying the soviets oil and the grain of the Ukraine would have devastating effects. In late 1942, according to some sources, there were few dogs and cats wandering around in Moscow because people were eating them. The Soviets needed food in Lend Lease more than anything else, more so than a second front by the Allies.

You can see it here on the TIK video’s:
How close was the Soviet Union to Collapse in 1942-1943? - YouTube

For more detailed info about Stalingrad see the links and my post on the TG forum here:
Battlestorm Video Series on Stalingrad - The TimeGhost Army

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From a high level, perhaps. But the execution of the battle was peculiar. Especially when things went badly.

Going into the battle, seeing the struggles during the actual planned time of the war- it should not have been a mystery that supplies getting in would have been tough. But it ended up much worse and prevented further penetrations when the Soviets were really borderline at times.

Seems like by the time Germany could have even had a land invasion of Turkey, the battle turned from the original goal of suffocating the Soviet Union to what it turned out to be. Hitler sacrificed armies when the rational move would have been to save them to let them fight a later day. Does not seem very rational to do that.

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I think you both have some validity to the points you make. I really hope, Astrid will pick up this issue in her new phenomenal series about spies and covert relations…
I really do believe the main reason not to invade Turkey was both their asset to bothe Axis and Allied powers as a covert harbour of spies and as a valuable friendly force to Hitler, predominantly, keeping allied forces at bay in the region.

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It is hard to separate hindsight in some of these discussions.

But it’s also hard to not see massive faults in the run up to battles that it seems that they should have known.

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Great point you make, exactly that is the point of issue on this topic: appreciate your input, the same question I ask on why the Germans chose Crete and not Malta to take by airforce

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Exactly.

Crete is a great point about Turkey, too. All getting Crete does is secure the eastern Med- to what end? Whereas Malta would make supplying N Africa light years more secure- let alone make the supply line much longer for England. Unless they were interested in Turkey. While there’s a “risk” of England jumping into Greece and the Balkans- the supply line that would have to go around Africa through the Suez could never support that had they gotten Malta instead.

A Youtuber called Montemayor did a great pair of videos showing Midway from the Japanese point of view- so we could get an idea of what they were thinking. I would like to see similar insights for some of the German decisions.

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As we can now watch what happens as the Suez canal clogs up it is interesting to contemplate on the impact of Rommel capturing it🧐

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Way to link the past with the present. I was thinking the same thing. After the fall of France taking Malta and invading Egypt should have been the real objective before invading the Soviet Union. What Germany (in both World Wars) did not understand was the concept of strategic warfare (one reason why they did not develop strategic bombers). Sun Tzu describes winning battles before they are fought, or defeating enemies with the least amount of effort. Defeating the British in Egypt cuts the British Empire in half, and results in the Near East being wide open for the taking of the Kirkuk oil pipelines and pushing on to Persian oil fields. As the Axis would advance, Commonwealth resistance would weaken as they could not strategically reinforce this hostile region effectively. This is contrary to the increased resistance of going through the Ukraine and the Caucasus region. This would also geopolitically isolate both Yugoslavia and Greece, resulting in no need to invade them as they most likely would have remained neutral or even increased cooperation with the Axis. The elimination of British from the Near East results in a more cooperative Turkey who may want in against the Soviets as they are the only threat to them. German bombers from Mosul and/or Tabriz would be in range of Baku and other oil producing areas. The oil situation for the Axis would be solved as Persia was also pro-Axis before the Commonwealth and Soviets invaded it. Persia and Afghanistan would also cause the Soviets to have to defend a huge portion of their entire border except for the border regions of China and Mongolia. The situation basically flips as now the Brits are now more starved for oil, unless they get it from the Western Hemisphere nations, and the Soviet army is now stretched thin before a single shot is fired in war.

As far as invading Turkey, I’ve seen it in war games that fighting through the narrow Constantinople/Bosporus is very difficult and Turkey’s supply infrastructure, like Spain, is quite limited. However, they do use the same rail gauge, unlike Spain and Portugal. Even then, the terrain in Turkey is very mountainous and difficult to move through, so it is not really worth it militarily, strategically, or geopolitically. As stated above, there are better options.

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Much appreciate your comprehensive contribution to the topic, John!

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I used to think like you did until I watched that Stalingrad series. The reason why Manstein was replaced with Model was because Germany in 1943 no longer had the fuel supplies to fight a war of mobility in which Manstein’s tactics relied on. In fact, as the war went on, the German Army became less motorized. Model was more of a static warfare tactician and was quite good at using such tactics to bleed the enemy. 6th Army could not break out because it lacked the fuel supplies to effectively do so. Same with the XIV Pz Corps when it was cut off early in the battle north of Stalingrad, but it held out and supply was reestablished. Demyansk also gave the false impression that large scale units could be supplied via an airbridge.

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I very much see your point. However, how much of that result was due to bad planning of the entire theater? I find it hard to believe that they didn’t notice that they were going SO far from the German supply chain that supplies were going to be the #1 problem with the entire attack. The fuel supply issue could not have just come up a year after the invasion. If it honestly did, the lack of planning pretty much doomed the attack from day one.

For such a powerful reputation for waging war, their planning was pretty bad, or perhaps the goal was never fully planned out- which made the structure of the attack just terrible.

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From what I have studied, the German’s did war game the invasion of the USSR, and it was determined that they lacked the supply logistics to reach the Archangel-Volga-Astrakhan line of the limit of the German advance. 3.3 Million troops was also inadequate to occupy such an area even if the Axis did not loose a single soldier in the invasion. So Paulus and the German Quartermaster knew the military resources were not enough. Much of the invasion was driven of ideological reasons…as Hitler stated “One good kick and the whole rotten structure will collapse.” There was also the racial superiority non-sense along with the belief by the Generals that if the Soviet Army could be surrounded and destroyed en masse before retreating across the Divina and Dnieper Rivers, then the rest would be a more or less a occupation mission against scattered and disorganized resistance at best. One of the reasons why the Germans turned north and south after the battle of Smolensk was that Army Group Center had reached its logistical limit as far as supply. The German’s also had intelligence failures in Soviet tank advancements and in manpower capabilities.

Indy has mentioned this in some of his videos and here is another source addressing the short comings.
Operation ‘Barbarossa’ And Germany’s Failure In The Soviet Union | Imperial War Museums (iwm.org.uk)

Or these videos:
why did barbarossa fail - YouTube

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Sorry, I didn’t understand what U mean: Hitler sacrificed armies ? Could U to explain, please?
Thanks a lot!

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Very interesting opinion, John! But! : “Turkey’s supply infrastructure, like Spain, is quite limited.”
In my opinion, Hitler didn’t think about it too much. Because Soviet infrastructure the same, not enough for nazis. And Turkey’s terrains…. Russian mud in RASPUTICA is same terrible thing for trucks and even for tanks. Also length of communication lines is much much longer in SU, than in Turkey. Also PARTISANS….
I think Hitler’s design was not to invade because really he knew that friend better than enemy.

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If I remember by thought, there were times Hitler demanded his armies not back down, when had they done that, it would have saved them for a later day. He did it quite a few times in Russia.

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