The battles of that very great and bloody war have died down long ago. Long ago she became history. Few of its members survive to this day. Pyramids of books have been written about it and thousands of films have been made. Of course, all peoples who fought have different views on those events. The Japanese and the Americans look at the Pacific campaign very differently. The same can be said about the Germans and the French. This happens after every war, and there is nothing surprising here. But there is one absolutely special front. As you may have guessed, this is the Eastern Front.
With all disagreements, landing in Normandy, Sicily, etc. pretty well described on both sides of the conflict and creates an acceptable three-dimensional image. But not the Eastern Front. Here something incredible begins to happen. I will make one (absolutely politically incorrect) remark: in the event of non-aggression on the USSR, the German troops could still stand in Prague and Paris to this day. Who would knock them out? Anglo Americans? Mussolini? The non-aggression pact gave guarantees to both parties. This is usually forgotten. And now 41 is a year, all of Europe is under Hitler, and he makes a decision ... And now let's imagine that he made a different decision: not to fight in the East. Just imagine for a minute. Yes, the legendary Rezun buzzed his ears to everyone that July 6 ... But this, as we know, is a myth and propaganda. Now imagine that there was no war in the East.
Today’s world would be very different from the one we live in. For the Germans, of course, for the better. No, the Japanese, for example, were indeed driven into a corner, they had no options left, and they delivered a desperate blow. But Hitler's situation was completely different. Without a front in the East, he could fight back and out in the West for a long time without risking anything. Without the Eastern Front, he could not have lost the war in principle. So it goes. This is pretty obvious. You can discuss the details of this version of history, but not the result: Germany controls continental Europe. No options. Atomic bomb? Germany is also actively pursuing such developments, and in the absence of a catastrophe of the Eastern Front, which devoured all the resources of the Reich, these developments would go faster.
Going "perpendicularly" to the respected popularizer of the secret history of the world Rezun, I still assume that the reason for the attack is not the fear of "Day M" and not adventurism, as other researchers think. The reason is different: for Germany it was a “colonial war”. Yes, just so no matter how offensive it sounds to us. German headquarters, in principle, did not see Russia as a worthy opponent. By the way, before the First World War in Berlin, about the same mood reigned. And here is the invincible Wehrmacht, which has no enemies on the continent, and there is a "barbarian kingdom" in the East. This was not an adventure, in any case, it was no more an adventure than the capture of Algeria by the French. Yes, there was no doubt and throwing. They just thought it would be easy.
The answer was - like the capture of Rome by the Gauls in due time (suddenly!). Imagine that in response to the French colonization of North Africa, the Berbers take Paris by storm. Here is something like. The same frank nonsense. This option is simply no one pawned. In no case should Hitler and his generals be regarded as a bunch of adventurers and madmen. From the very beginning, they simply did not view the war in the East as something that could decide the fate of Germany in a negative way. All the other explanations of why Germany joined this disastrous campaign for themselves, look extremely unconvincing. The risk / reward ratio is too unattractive.
Hitler was not a superhumanly brave hero. His generals did not differ by reckless optimism. But they put Russia and the Red Army very low ... Those memories of the doubts and fears of 22 June are explained not just by a fantastically correct prediction of future catastrophes, but simply by the serious concern of professionals before the start of a super-large army, unprepared for such tasks by the army. For some reason, we judge the Germans on our own (quite erroneously!), And therefore we draw very strange conclusions. German generals, officers and soldiers did not think about the "long term." The German military experts were seriously worried about their own army - not fired and had no de facto experience of large-scale military operations, and the experience of large maneuvers was limited: from the 1918 to the 1933, the German army had no actual ...
And such a situation before a decisive leap to the East did not inspire them with optimism. It is our custom to brightly paint the Nazi hordes, "armed to the teeth with the most modern weapons“, The reality was far from being so pretentious: the Germans were afraid not so much of the strength of the Red Army, as of (quite professionally!) Their own unpreparedness for a big war. Germany prepared for the First World War much longer and in much more favorable conditions. “From scratch” to create a super-powerful army for six years in a country that is starving and falling apart at the beginning of a long journey is impossible theoretically. Yes, of course, Hitler was seriously “helped”, but miracles do not happen.
It is enough to study the frankly scandalous situation with the equipment of the Wehrmacht tanks (“Heavy duty” Pz-I, Pz-II), as many things become clear, with the Luftwaffe by 1939, everything was by no means as pathos as they like to show in propaganda films. You want to say that the Pz-I with the support of the Yu-87 is a mega-weapon? Are you serious? Here they are actively “dancing on the contrary”: since Hitler achieved such outstanding “successes” and destroyed so many people, then there was a “super army” behind him, supposedly it is clear that all Hitler’s crimes would not have been possible without some “powerful army”. So, it was just the crimes he committed throughout Europe and not only (like all Germans), but there was no “super-army” behind him. Everything was "sewn on a living thread." Just do not watch the Nazi film propaganda in the morning, and you will be happy.
If Hitler really had such a structure in June 1941, the war in the East could have ended a little differently. But, despite all the gross mistakes of the Soviet military leadership in 1941-42 (see “Hot Summer 1941-42”), the Wehrmacht was not as good as propagandists like to paint it. Moreover, the Wehrmacht "poorly and slowly studied": in the summer of 1942, the Red Army was already fundamentally different than in the summer of 1941. This was not enough to start winning, but the gap in the quality of organization of the troops was sharply reduced (for some reason all historians first of all pay attention to the quality and quantity of equipment, but the main thing in any army officer corps) ... and the Germans of this did not notice. Wehrmacht-1942 did not make a qualitative breakthrough with respect to the Wehrmacht-1941 (why do you need reinforcements, Hannibal, if you still win?).
In principle, the talk that "our forces are incalculable" gives frank naivety: under Hitler there was practically the whole of continental Europe with its industry and agriculture. Due to the large number of rich, developed countries in the occupied countries, the percentage of men conscription in Germany was abovethan in the USSR. And the number of ethnic Germans in Europe was close to the number of ethnic Russians (Belarusians) in the USSR. "Innumerable forces"? What are you talking about? Who? Serious help on Lend-Lease went after Stalingrad (the Anglo-Saxon helps the one who helps himself). Seriously bombing Germany began in the same year 1943 ... And before that? And before that, our Anglo-Saxon partners were still waiting for something ...
The position of the USSR in the summer of 1941 was tragic: the army was crushed, food problems begin, in the fall the Germans near Moscow, Leningrad is blocked, and the country is starving ... But in Germany everything is fine in the summer of 1941, and in the summer of 1942, everything was not bad ... Germans eat their fill, civil industry produces much more for purely civil (non-military!) needs. We don’t want to understand the “asymmetry” of that war in the Soviet and German perceptions ... For them, the “pain and tragedy” began much later, closer to 1944-th year (and were more likely connected with “carpet bombing”), and in the summer of 1941-th everything was fine with them. The death and suffering of millions of Soviet citizens for them no problem was made up. And even in the summer of 1942 in Germany, there was no “catastrophe” on the horizon: the war in the East is almost colonial in nature, and there is no reason to speak of “serious casualties”.
But Stalingrad became just a “watershed” for Germany, and absolutely sudden. This is the first major defeat of the Wehrmacht by the Red Army. By the time the war was actually pure for a year and a half, the two summer campaigns of the USSR lost outright ... And only by the very end of 1942, the Red Army conducted a large, successful offensive operation on the encirclement. For the first time, Karl! Finished the early maturing field marshal already in general in 1943! That is, in fact, the 1941-42 campaign in the East can be considered as having no precedent in the history of mankind and almost completely won by the Wehrmacht! The enemy was standing on the Volga! In her lower flow! And in the late autumn of 1942 on the account of the Red Army there was not a single large successful offensive operation with the encirclement and capture of large forces of enemy troops.
I do not understand the whole post-war bragging of Soviet historians: they say, we showed this mustache to the fascist, where the crayfish spend the winter! In November and early December, 1942 was very sad for the USSR: the army was not capable of attacking, the people were starving, tens of millions of Soviet citizens "under Hitler." Here, instead of analyzing, it is customary to indulge in a “patriotic hysterics” and begin to sing “loudly military songs” loudly and emotionally, in unison so much. Not worth it. Already not worth it - "get drunk full." In a certain sense, the sincere surprise of the Germans about the lost war and the storming of the Reichstag is quite understandable: they won not several "random", "early" victories, no, coming to Stalingrad, they practically "drove the Russians into the Asian steppes" (according to one science fiction alternatively).
Those who like to look at the huge map of the USSR and its supposedly small part occupied by the “fascist hordes” somehow kindly forget that then (as now) most of the population of Russia / USSR lived in its European part. In the giant tundra, where individual regions “equaled three France,” neither plants, nor factories, nor vineyards were observed. And there was practically no population. Then the "asymmetry" was even more serious than at the end of Soviet power. That is, if we do not consider “the whole map”, but only its “mastered” part, then the occupation looks much worse. And yes, the South Caucasus in the summer of 1942 was practically cut off from the main territory, and there were cases of panic and mass desertion of conscripts.
Well, tell me, what are these "innumerable reserves" hiding behind Stalingrad? Ural region, which before the war was much less developed than later? And a rare chain of Siberian cities? Against all of Europe? What kind of tales about the "innumerable reserves"? In reality, the country stood on the edge of the abyss, on its very, very edge. Or did someone expect to break the Wehrmacht in Tobolsk? In the Kazakh steppes, dashing blow of the masses of irregular cavalry?
These "combat stories of our invincibility" made sense in the course of of war. The truth is not always timely. Retell military propaganda after war, at least strange, to say the least. Retell this propaganda through 70 years after WWII? What for? Intellectual crisis? Fear of terrible truth? So everything has already happened. What to fear?
In fact, the war itself is very clearly divided into two completely different "wars" - and just "in Stalingrad." Between the fighting of the summer of 1942-th and 1943-th (even in the same "locations") very little in common. For example, to stop the operation "Citadel" the Red Army of the model of the summer of 1942-th would hardly have been able even in the most favorable conditions. But the Germans "too long" fought with her, and she quickly learned. Not for nothing that the Spartans had a simple rule: do not fight too often with the same opponent, so as not to teach him military affairs. The trouble of the Germans was just that; they didn’t take this war in the East too “seriously” before Stalingrad. Up to the fact that near Stalingrad / in the North Caucasus they already had a legion, almost intended for India (!). And then it was too late. The Red Army "suddenly" went on the offensive (which no one expected from it any longer), American and British bombs rained down on German cities ...
Here we have to laugh at the fact that in the fall of 1942 the German "was ready to go to India," it was customary to make fun of the "stupidity of Hitler's generals," but, excuse me, they reached one of latest large industrial hubs available to Stalin, and no one could stop them. And Stalingrad is very in the depths of the country. No, the Volga in its upper course is one thing (although it is also far from the outskirts), in the lower one ... Well, why not plan a “trip to India” after that? Who will stop them? From Kharkov, they in one throw reached the Caucasus. And the “doom” of the Third Reich in the autumn of 1942 was nowhere to be seen anywhere. Even in the telescope ...
This is exactly what the Germans are unhappy with: they remember very well how they practically won the war in the East (for some reason they did not read Soviet propaganda). And then everything went downhill.