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Old 12-18-2015, 07:30 PM
 
Location: SoCal
5,722 posts, read 4,857,055 times
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Why exactly did Germany implode during World War I but not during World War II? After all, in World War I, Germany capitulated before it was fully defeated while Germany only capitulated in World War II after the Allies have already captured Berlin and almost all of the other parts of Germany as well.

As for my own thoughts in this, I would like to point out that Germany's situation during World War II was different from Germany's situation during World War I in various ways:

1. While Imperial Germany treated their opponents (including anti-war activists) with kid gloves, Nazi Germany threw all of its opponents (who did not already emigrate, that is) into concentration camps or extermination camps. Thus, while people such as Rosa Luxemburg could speak out against World War I in Imperial Germany, no one could speak out against World War II in Nazi Germany without ending up in jail or in a concentration camp afterwards (which, in turn, is why almost no one is Nazi Germany actually spoke out against World War II). Thus, with the lack of an active anti-war movement in Nazi Germany, ordinary Germans might have felt less inclined to actively protest World War II and Germany's participation in it.

2. German military discipline might have been stricter and harsher during World War II than during World War I. For instance:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erich_...and_propaganda

"A harsh disciplinarian, Raeder was obsessed with the fear that the Navy might "disgrace" itself as it did in the last war with High Seas mutiny of 1918, and to prevent another mutiny, Raeder imposed a "ruthless discipline" designed to terrorize his sailors into obedience.[133] Under the leadership of Raeder and even more so under his successor Karl Dönitz, it was official policy for naval courts-martial to impose the death penalty as often as possible, no matter how slight the offence, so that the sailors would fear their officers more than the enemy.[134] Historians have described Raeder as someone who "supported the Nazi regime unflinchingly and proved merciless against malingerers, deserters and those who questioned the authority of the Führer".[135]"

Thus, there might have been less potential for a collapse of military discipline in the German military during World War II in comparison to during World War I.

3. Unlike during (most of) World War I, Germany fought against the Soviet Union during World War II. Since the Soviet Union was (rightfully) known as an extremely monstrous, bloody, and brutal regime, German soldiers might have been too scared of Soviet reprisals against themselves, their families, their friends, and/or their country to stop fighting in the middle of World War II. Plus, while both Britain and the U.S. were much more humane than the Soviet Union was, both of them were Soviet allies and both of them also insisted on unconditional surrender to all of the Allies, including to the Soviet Union. Thus, German soldiers and German civilians might have concluded that the Western Allies would be unwilling to significantly mitigate Soviet brutality against Germany and that it's thus better for them and for Germany to fight all the way up to the bitter end than to capitulate early (as in, to capitulate in the middle of the war).

4. Unlike Germany's leadership during World War I, Germany's leadership during World War II was certainly fully committed to fighting all of the way up to the bitter end. Indeed, Hitler and the Nazis appear to have been hoping for a last-minute miracle during World War II. Plus, in addition to this, Hitler and the Nazis might have also viewed war as an end in itself rather than simply as a means to an end.

5. Germany's troops and population might have been much more indoctrinated during World War II than they were during World War I. After all, Imperial Germany's propaganda certainly cannot compare to the Nazi propaganda machine between 1933 and 1945. Plus, it is worth noting that many German soldiers in World War II spent a lot of their childhoods being exposed to Nazi propaganda; after all, a German soldier who was 18 years old in 1945 was just 6 years old in 1933, when Hitler and the Nazis came to power in Germany.

6. This is purely speculation on my own part, but it is possible that Germany's food situation during World War II was less severe than Germany's food situation during World War I due to the fact that Germany might have been much more willing to loot Eastern European food supplies during World War II than it was during World War I. Plus, unlike during World War I, Germany engaged in genocide during World War II, which in turn ensured that Germany would have less people to feed during World War II than it would otherwise have.

7. Unlike during World War I, the Allies insisted on unconditional surrender during World War II. In turn, this might have discouraged some/many Germans from rebelling and from giving up the fight earlier (as in, in the middle of World War II).

8. Germany's government during World War II was less vulnerable to regime change than Germany's government during World War I was. After all, I don't think that Imperial Germany ever had anything comparable to the Gestapo. Plus, in regards to World War II, Adolf Hitler also certainly had the "Devil's luck" in regards to him escaping and surviving all assassination attempts against him. For instance, when Claus von Stauffenberg and his colleagues tried to assassinate Adolf Hitler and to launch a coup in Germany on July 20, 1944, they failed and ended up getting executed by the Nazis. Meanwhile, after what Stauffenberg and his colleagues endured, no one in Germany had the nerve to challenge and/or to rise up against Hitler and the Nazis; after all, doing this might have very well resulted in them getting caught and executed afterwards.

Anyway, any thoughts on what I wrote here? Also, am I forgetting to list any additional relevant factors for this? If so, then please tell me!
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Old 12-19-2015, 03:26 PM
 
7,326 posts, read 4,347,484 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Futurist110 View Post
Why exactly did Germany implode during World War I...

Quote:
Imperial Germany treated their opponents (including anti-war activists) with kid gloves, Nazi Germany threw all of its opponents (who did not already emigrate, that is) into concentration camps or extermination camps.
Well that's not exactly true. Germany committed a number of onerous war crimes in Belgium during the occupation.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ra...ium#War_crimes


Quote:
Rosa Luxemburg could speak out against World War I in Imperial Germany,
Except for the fact that she was imprisoned for two and a half years for doing so and eventually murdered in 1919.

Quote:
German military discipline might have been stricter and harsher during World War II than during World War I.
I kind of doubt that. It was the same Prussian Army that fought in WWII, and considering the number of plots hatched by senior officers to kill Hitler that argument isn't as solid as one might suggest. But having said that, in socialist ideas were everywhere in WWI and the idea that the war was being waged for the benefit of the ruling and capitalist classes resulted in wide spread discontent with the war in every nation involved.

Quote:
Since the Soviet Union was (rightfully) known as an extremely monstrous, bloody, and brutal regime, German soldiers might have been too scared of Soviet reprisals against themselves, their families, their friends, and/or their country to stop fighting in the middle of World War II.
I would argue that because of the extremely monstrous, bloody and brutal acts of the Nazis and the German Army they had every right to fear Soviet reprisals. So I'll give you this point.

Quote:
Unlike Germany's leadership during World War I, Germany's leadership during World War II was certainly fully committed to fighting all of the way up to the bitter end. Indeed, Hitler and the Nazis appear to have been hoping for a last-minute miracle during World War II. Plus, in addition to this, Hitler and the Nazis might have also viewed war as an end in itself rather than simply as a means to an end.
I'll give you this one as well and the rest as well, at least for now.
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Old 12-20-2015, 08:38 PM
 
1,519 posts, read 1,096,482 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWiseWino View Post
Well that's not exactly true. Germany committed a number of onerous war crimes in Belgium during the occupation.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ra...ium#War_crimes
I think he means their internal enemies (mainly socialists). The Kaiser never repressed German socialists like the Nazis did. Thus, when the time came for their various risings in 1918, the socialist movements were not only intact, but the leaders and fighters knew that while they were risking their own lives, they were not risking the lives of their wives and children.


Futurist: That is a great list . I cant think of anything to add.

Last edited by Cryptic; 12-20-2015 at 09:07 PM..
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Old 12-21-2015, 10:54 AM
 
Location: Southeast Michigan
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While all points are probably valid, the single biggest one is the same reason that USSR did not fall apart in 1941 the same way the Russian Empire fell apart in 1917.

The combination of a totalitarian dictatorship (the main factor) with propaganda fueled blind patriotism and the criminal nature of Nazi leadership (the biggest contributing factors).

The suspected enemies of the state in WW1 were being followed; the active ones were imprisoned and those who agitated among the troops were hanged. By contrast, even the suspected enemies of the state in WW2 were executed or sent to concentration camps, their family members and even their friends would be investigated and often arrested. As authoritarian as Kaiserreich or Imperial Russia were, they don't hold a handle to the Third Reich or USSR under Stalin. There was also total surveillance of everyone against everyone. Anyone who raised their head was dealt with immediately and with brutal efficiency and disregard of the law, unheard of 30 years prior. After a decade of Nazi rule the populace was scared to even whisper the things that their Government disapproved of. Nothing like that was happening in WW1. The High Seas Fleet uprising took the Government by surprise and they were not sure they had enough loyal troops to suppress it.

The propaganda / indoctrination were also at the unprecedented levels. Almost religious levels.

Finally, the top Nazi leadership and many rank and file party members knew all too well that their monstrous behavior on occupied territories would guarantee them death sentence or long time imprisonment if they lost the war. On the contrary, Kaiser and his generals had nothing to fear but loss of power, loss of face and wounded pride. Their life and much of their wealth were not in danger.
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Old 12-26-2015, 09:18 AM
 
24,137 posts, read 16,710,802 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ummagumma View Post
While all points are probably valid, the single biggest one is the same reason that USSR did not fall apart in 1941 the same way the Russian Empire fell apart in 1917.

The combination of a totalitarian dictatorship (the main factor) with propaganda fueled blind patriotism and the criminal nature of Nazi leadership (the biggest contributing factors).

The suspected enemies of the state in WW1 were being followed; the active ones were imprisoned and those who agitated among the troops were hanged. By contrast, even the suspected enemies of the state in WW2 were executed or sent to concentration camps, their family members and even their friends would be investigated and often arrested. As authoritarian as Kaiserreich or Imperial Russia were, they don't hold a handle to the Third Reich or USSR under Stalin. There was also total surveillance of everyone against everyone. Anyone who raised their head was dealt with immediately and with brutal efficiency and disregard of the law, unheard of 30 years prior. After a decade of Nazi rule the populace was scared to even whisper the things that their Government disapproved of. Nothing like that was happening in WW1. The High Seas Fleet uprising took the Government by surprise and they were not sure they had enough loyal troops to suppress it.

The propaganda / indoctrination were also at the unprecedented levels. Almost religious levels.

Finally, the top Nazi leadership and many rank and file party members knew all too well that their monstrous behavior on occupied territories would guarantee them death sentence or long time imprisonment if they lost the war. On the contrary, Kaiser and his generals had nothing to fear but loss of power, loss of face and wounded pride. Their life and much of their wealth were not in danger.

Russian Empire under the last decades of the Romanovs was a powder keg which wouldn't take much to set it off.


Imperial Russia was the last major autocratic monarchy in Europe and a country still largely run along the feudal system. England/GB, France, and so forth had their share of major revolutions which brought about change. Meanwhile each of those actions only caused various Romanov rulers to double down on their autocratic regimes which in turn brought about a predictable response.


Russia was fresh from a humiliating defeat by Japan and really had no business entering/beginning WWI; but Nicholas II wouldn't be told and that set both HIM, his family and country down a deadly path. Had the last Czar of All The Russias listened less to his wife and more to wiser advisors Russia might have moved towards a constitutional monarchy. As things stood within just a few years of Lenin's madness a majority of Russians longed for the return of the Czars.


As for the rest of OP's premises; Germans post WWI Germany were bound together buy a collective national guilt if you well. Largely viewed and reviled by much of Europe and the world for causing the Great War they got little sympathy elsewhere, so they turned inwards. Between the harsh terms of surrender then a worldwide recession that turned into the Great Depression Germans were suffering. Such periods are fertile grounds for *someone* to rise into power by basically blaming outside forces for internal plight.


Hitler and the Nazis reminded German populace time and time again about the defeat of WWI and what awaited them if they didn't win this time around. That is what kept many Germans going far longer than they should have.
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Old 12-26-2015, 01:31 PM
 
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I think there is a simpler reason for the difference. Although WW1 was, perhaps, the first modern war, attitudes of politicians and generals remained firmly anchored in the 19th century (as did tactics at first). Thus, the concept of 'total war' and 'unconditional surrender' had not really entered the vocabulary. It was entirely acceptable - and not dishonorable - to ask for an armistice if you could not win.

In addition, there wasn't really an idealogical gap between the Entente and the Central Powers. It was a war of empires not of competing political systems.

In WW2, the Allies demanded unconditional surrender and Germany was determined to fight to the end. It was a different generation of leaders, competing political systems and ideologies.
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Old 12-26-2015, 04:32 PM
 
Location: Type 0.7 Kardashev
10,576 posts, read 7,849,467 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ummagumma View Post
While all points are probably valid, the single biggest one is the same reason that USSR did not fall apart in 1941 the same way the Russian Empire fell apart in 1917.

The combination of a totalitarian dictatorship (the main factor) with propaganda fueled blind patriotism and the criminal nature of Nazi leadership (the biggest contributing factors).
I would simply add that it was not only the totalitarian aspect of the Third Reich, but the personality into which that total power was concentrated.

Adolf Hitler had long espoused the concept of complete victory or total annihilatory defeat. Preparing in any manner for surviving a defeat in the war was simply alien to him. His vision for defeat was to fight to the bitter end, or as close to that end as he could get before the prospect of losing control of his fate (ie, risking capture) necessitated suicide. To that end, of course, he had to drag the rest of Germany along with him. His scorched-earth policies - ordering the destruction of Paris, the razing of anything the occupying enemy might find useful - were part of this thinking. In the final days, Hitler openly spoke of the irrelevancy of making assurances for post-war Germany, asserting that the defeated side would have demonstrated its inferiority and thus did not warrant continued survival in any fashion.

We see in the behavior of most of his closet lieutenants how crucial Hitler himself was to compelling Germany to fight on. Goring, Himmler and Ribbentrop each sought terms for Germany. Even Goebbels, who had no interest in surviving Hitler himself, broached the possibility. But for Hitler, there'd have been some sort of capitulation, even if unconditional surrender to simply avoid more destruction on the inevitable path to defeat.

As for the willingness of the people to go along with this, you have a dozen years of formidable propaganda, the fear (in the eastern Reich, anyway) that Soviet occupation would be as fearsome as continuing to fight, and the fact that opposing the regime was often more lethal than simply going along with the war.
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Old 12-29-2015, 10:40 AM
 
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In WW1, Germany did not have the benefit of having overly strong allies. The Austro-Hungarian army was fairly large, but the other allies ( Bulgaria, Turkey) didn't have all that much to offer. The Central Powers were always a bit undermanned during WW1..
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Old 12-29-2015, 03:49 PM
 
Location: occupied east coast
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I can't help but think that during WW II, Germany came under direct attack by the allies.

I am thinking specifically of the "bomber offensive".

Much like the German attacks on Great Britain served to galvanize the British resolve, the allied attack likely did the same.

I think that because of this, the average German felt more involved in the effort.

This as opposed to a citizen sitting in Berlin in 1917 "reading a new paper"....

This can seem to foster a detachment and an apathy.
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Old 12-29-2015, 04:25 PM
 
Location: SoCal
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWiseWino View Post
Well that's not exactly true. Germany committed a number of onerous war crimes in Belgium during the occupation.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ra...ium#War_crimes
In Belgium--not in Germany itself, though.

Quote:
Except for the fact that she was imprisoned for two and a half years for doing so
OK; anyway, I learned something new today.

Quote:
and eventually murdered in 1919.
That was after the overthrow of the Imperial German government, though.

Quote:
I kind of doubt that. It was the same Prussian Army that fought in WWII, and considering the number of plots hatched by senior officers to kill Hitler that argument isn't as solid as one might suggest. But having said that, in socialist ideas were everywhere in WWI and the idea that the war was being waged for the benefit of the ruling and capitalist classes resulted in wide spread discontent with the war in every nation involved.
What about executing several German military men for failing to destroy the Ludendorff Bridge in 1945, though? :

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle...courts-martial

Indeed, did Imperial Germany ever do anything like that to its military men for such an offense?

Quote:
I would argue that because of the extremely monstrous, bloody and brutal acts of the Nazis and the German Army they had every right to fear Soviet reprisals. So I'll give you this point.
OK.

Quote:
I'll give you this one as well and the rest as well, at least for now.
OK.
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