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What were the differences between fighting strategies of Germany and those of the...

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jmarkman37 | Honors

Posted July 13, 2011 at 7:45 AM via web

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What were the differences between fighting strategies of Germany and those of the allies?

What were the differences between fighting strategies of Germany and those of the allies?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 13, 2011 at 8:00 AM (Answer #2)

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The word "strategy" when used in military terms, is supposed to refer to the overall goals of the war while the term "tactics" is used to refer to the actual ways in which the fighting is conducted.  I wonder if you are referring to tactics in this question.

Tactically, the major difference between the Germans and the Allies was that the Germans had much more machinery (and were therefore more mobile) and much more coordination between their various forces (infantry, artillery, armor, air).  These advantages allowed them to move much more quickly and to bring much more force to a given place on the battlefield.  Because they could do this, they were able to win easily during the Blitzkrieg portion of the war.

If you really are talking about strategy, the German strategy at the beginning of the war was to quickly knock France out of the war while keeping the Soviets out of the war through diplomacy.  Hitler believed that the English would then decline to truly fight Germany once they had no continental allies.  The Allied strategy at this point was simply to hold on as long as they could.  This changed in 1941 when Hitler invaded Germany and (late in 1941) when the US entered the war.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 13, 2011 at 11:19 AM (Answer #3)

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Germany was interested in expanding, while the allies were defending themselves. There's a big difference. The Germans were fighting from the standpoint of racial superiority. They felt they were entitled to the land and to subjugate the people. The countries fighting against Germany were fighting to save their very way of life.
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larrygates | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 13, 2011 at 11:00 PM (Answer #4)

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The German fighting strategy, as was noted in post two, was one of Blitzkrieg, or lightning war. The idea was to quickly overrun the enemy with overwhelming force. This is evident by the attack on Poland and later France, which were completed in short time frames. The attack on Britain followed a similar tactic, the idea was to overwhelm Britain with relentless air strikes followed by a land invasion, which of course never took place. It was only after the failed invasion of Britain that the Germans launched Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union.

The Allied strategy was to contain Germany as best as possible. At several war conferences, it was determined that the German advance needed to be stopped before dealing with the Japanese advance. The Allied strategy to defeat Germany did not come into fruition until after the German advance into the Soviet Union stopped on December 6, 1941, one day before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. At that point, as the German army retreated from the Soviet Union, the strategy became one to defeat Germany in a pincer type offensive, with the Soviets advancing from the East, and the U.S. and British forces advancing from the West. This began in the West with the D-Day invasion of June 6, and continued until Germany was completely overran, Berlin was captured by the Soviets, and Hitler committed suicide.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 13, 2011 at 11:11 PM (Answer #5)

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I guess another major difference was that Germany found itself fighting a war on two fronts as it invaded both Russia and France. Whilst what #2 says is obviously correct, at the same time, fighting a war on two opposing fronts is a big risk that arguably stretched the German army to its limits. Because Germany was the aggressor, the allies did not have to do this and could thus attack Germany from a number of different angles.

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 14, 2011 at 6:19 AM (Answer #6)

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The Germans invented the fighting style known as the Blitzkrieg, and were masters at it by the time the US and Soviet Union had entered the war against them.  This war of movement based on the heavy use of mobile troops, armor and close air support was, indeed, revolutionary, and the Allies attempted to copy it soon after 1942.  But since the US and Soviets had massive manpower and resource reserves, they didn't need lightning victories as much as the Germans did, so I don 't think they were nearly as effective using that strategy as the Third Reich was.  The Germans also chose to fight a two front war, which greatly limited the kind of strategies they could employ, and reinforced the idea that such a war was a losing proposition. The Allies were able to simply  wear down and overwhelm the German defenses and military over time, to absorb ridiculous losses, and outproduce them industrially.  While the Allied air forces and armor were used effectively, the overall strategy was more one of bludgeoning Nazi Germany to death.
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vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 5, 2011 at 3:32 PM (Answer #7)

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This question has been discussed often by Richard Overy, an esteemed British historian.  You may want to look at his writings, which in turn will lead you to other writings, which in turn will lead you to others.  Half the fun of researching any question like this is discovering the multitude of ways in which highly intelligent people have approached it and come up with often vastly different answers.  Here's a helpful link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/wwtwo/how_the_allies_won_01.shtml

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