World War II German Military Strengrhs and Weaknesses: Political Leadership

Figure 1.--.

Some have assumed that the single-mindedness of the Führer state was an advantage in waging war. Germany's political ledership, however, proved to be a mixed blessings to the Wehrmacht. The German Army was by 1934 the only important German institution capable of yielding force that Hitler had not managed to dominate. He had support within the miitary, but did not yet dominate it. And the military was woried. It was still as a result of the Versailles Treaty limitatiins, a relatively small force. And it faced the massive 3 million-strong SA--the NAZI Party para-military force. And SA leader Röhm was seeking to replace the Heer with the SA as Germany's principal military force. The Night of the Long Knives carried out by the SS changed that, killing Röhm and the SA top leadership. The military in graditude aggreed to pledge itself personally to Adolf Hitler and National Socialism. From that point on, Hitler steadily increased his control of the new Whermacht. His massive armaments program permitted the rapidy remilitarization of Germany with modrn weaponry. Support from the top was at firt a strength of the Wehrmacht. This included both expansion and weapons development. But it committed the Wehrmacct which was a relatively small force backed by a country with a limited industrial base and acces to raw materials against an incresingly massive coalition of enemies that Hitler made. Hitler's support continued to be an advantage in the first 2 years of the War when he still listened to his very competent military commanders. This begn to change after the victory in France. Hitler never liked bring aolitican and having to compromise. He always wanted to be areat war leader. And after France he began he begn to increasingly intrfeare in milkitary matters as well as appoint political hacks because of their loyalty. The turning point was in the Soviet Union when the generals advised pressing on to Moscow, but Hitler ordered the Panzers south to Kiev. Shortly afterwards mired deep in the Soviet Union and still at war with Britain, he declred war on the United States creating a coaltion with far greater war-making caoabilities. From that point he begn to interfere more and more. And when his interference led to military disasters he simply removed competent commanders like Guderian and injected himself more amd more to the management of the campaign in the East.


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Created: 2:26 AM 4/5/2012
Last updated: 2:26 AM 4/5/2012