Military History

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The Hitch said:
Was watching a documentary and they said "more people died in the last 12 months of the 2nd world war than in the previous 4 years combined".

Can't seem to verify it on the internet, at least not with a simple google search. But wow, that would be a really mindblowing fact.
Would that include camp victims?
 
With camp victims the it's less unbelievable as the Nazis were going on death marches and killing anyone who couldn't deal with walking any longer. Also Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed hundreds of thousands at a time, and Dresden bombing killed 22000 in one night.

However, I think it's BS as the Soviets lost 27 million men. That's about a third of all deaths. Almost all of these were during the attempted invasion of Russia by Germany, and the Battle of Stalingrad especially.
 


Taken from Wikipedia.
With the civilian deaths in the Soviet Union, China pushed early in the war, I do think its unlikely.

Total deaths during the war are estimated at ~70-85 million.

So did 35-40 million die in the last 12 months ? Doesn't seem likely.


Now I can easily see if you restricted it to say US military deaths, that this would be the case. The invasions of the last 12 months of the war had huge casualty rates.

So the context that the statement was made in is important.
 
Jun 30, 2014
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Brullnux said:
With camp victims the it's less unbelievable as the Nazis were going on death marches and killing anyone who couldn't deal with walking any longer. Also Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed hundreds of thousands at a time, and Dresden bombing killed 22000 in one night.

However, I think it's BS as the Soviets lost 27 million men. That's about a third of all deaths. Almost all of these were during the attempted invasion of Russia by Germany, and the Battle of Stalingrad especially.
You shouldn't forget the Bombing of Tokyo, the mosty destructive conventional bombing in history, but yes, it's probably BS, because of the huge losses that the Soviets and China had earlier.
 
If Shingshan is still around (or Search), I'd like to screw up about a mistake I made a year ago. Pétain did not give the order to export the heavy water out of France and to the UK. The two scientists/secret agents with the mission to take the water out of France were already in harbour of Bordeaux on June 18 1940. Jolliot Curie had already dismantled his amenities.

The decision had been taken by the government of Paul Reynaud. Pétain only just seconded the decision taken by his predecessor.

Mea culpa. ;)
 
Sep 21, 2013
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Billie said:
anyone can point to some good docu's to watch about wars? Have watched a couple WW1 documentaries and want more. Doesn't specifically need to be ww1?
Dan Carlin has a very good series of Podcasts titled "Hardcore History". I especially like "Blueprint for Armegeddon", "King of Kings" and "Wrath of the Khans". "Blueprint" covers WW1. What a horrific battleground it was for those who fought in WW1. While the insane toll on the soldiers is difficult to comprehend Carlin does an excellent job of depicting it.

This is an fantastic thread. Many thanks to those who contribute to it.
 
Sep 17, 2015
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Billie said:
anyone can point to some good docu's to watch about wars? Have watched a couple WW1 documentaries and want more. Doesn't specifically need to be ww1?
'The Great War' was a very good, watchable BBC wwi Documentary series, available (but not usually cheaply) on DVD. It inspired the even better ITV 'The World at War' about wwii.

I think if you want a good, readable Book it's hard to top the two John Keegan books which cover each war in a very readable and mostly accurate way.
 
Having seen this thread for the first time, I would just like to go back to a quote or two from a few posters regarding WWII. I think it's greatly overlooked (or under appreciated) by the US and a few of the Western allies, the amount of sacrifice that the Eastern Europeans put during the War. Not only were there heavy military losses, but civilian losses were also significant. From civilians that fought alongside the militaries, the ones that were persecuted as prisoners, the ones that help hide jews and other minorities. The Partisans in the former Yugoslavia really were front and center in the Balkans, trying to stave off the Nazi's and the Axis. Some things that usually go unnoticed by media, for some reason: The Nazi's and the Fascists in Italy had puppet 'armies' or 'guerillas' in the region: Cetniks in Serbia and Ustase in Croatia. Those 'legions' were brutal and while they were affiliated with the Germans, they were more or less doing as they pleased. At the end of the war, once the country was liberated by the Partisans, they had their own "Nuremberg" trials to deal with it and like the Germans, some of them were executed, others were put in prison, some escaped, but very few. Staying with the Axis and their 'puppets,' the Bulgarians, Hungarians and Romanians had some Partisans, but by and large, they were aligned with the Axis. The Bulgarians helped wipe out the Macedonian Jewish population. It wasn't terribly large to begin with, but 90%+ of the Jewish population in the country perished. The Bulgarians, to my knowledge, haven't apologized for this. They, of course, were also a Soviet satellite during the Cold War, so they haven't been aligned with the nicest regimes, have they?

Going back to the casualties, according to Wikipedia (I know what you are going to say, 'don't trust Wikipedia..'), Poland lost up to 17% of its population, Yugoslavia anywhere between 6 to 11%, Greece 7-11%, Estonia 7.3%, Hungary 6.18%, Latvia 12.5%, Lithuania 14.36%...The Soviets lost HUUUGE numbers. Both civilians and military. Some say that the Soviet involvement in helping defeat the Nazi's is overrated. I think that can be disputed, but had the Soviet Union fallen, it could have been anybody's guess as to what would have happened in the Eastern theater and Europe as a whole. Let's remember, the US wasn't budging until Pearl Harbor.
 
Sep 17, 2015
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BullsFan22 said:
The Soviets lost HUUUGE numbers.
One thing worth remembering is that a lot of the civilian dead referred to as 'Russian' were not what a modern Russian would call Russians. The largest number of civilian war dead were in places that are not ethnically Russian or in Russia, IIRC Belarus is the modern Country that lost the largest proportion of its population, and the Ukraine etc were all high on the list too.

I am trying to write this carefully as I do not want to offend any Russian members, this is not in any way intended to denegrate the Russian Contribution to wwii which I agree was the single largest factor in the allied victory over Germany IMHO.

BullsFan22 said:
The Bulgarians, to my knowledge, haven't apologized for this. They, of course, were also a Soviet satellite during the Cold War, so they haven't been aligned with the nicest regimes, have they?
Being located where they were, it's hard not to sympathise with countries like Bulgaria, Romania et al - they could either be friendly with a neighbour or they could be overrun by them! Finland is the one that springs to mind.
 
Apr 3, 2016
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Each country tends to overstate it's participation, I think. Particularly the French, whose myth of La Resistance attempts to cover up for most of France happily cooperating with the Nazis at every level.

As for eastern Europeans, there was a time that if you met a person with an eastern European name and accent of a certain age living in the east of the UK, there was a good chance they would have been a concentration camp guard.

The contribution of the Polish is certainly not forgotten in the UK. Polish air force pilots fighting out of the UK are remembered with great appreciation, and are invariably honoured at memorial events, as well as in separate exhibitions in the RAF museum and the Imperial War Museum. One of the six Spitfires in the Battle of Britain Memorial flight is painted in Polish colours to honour the 303 Sqn.
 
Sep 17, 2015
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kwikki said:
Particularly the French, whose myth of La Resistance attempts to cover up for most of France happily cooperating with the Nazis at every level. .
Agreed, every country does it, magnifies their own achievments and glosses over the embarassing bits. It's natural and normal. Britain tend not to mention that, after the war was over, we watched Poland get eaten by the Soviets. "Thanks for your spiffing contribution to the Battle of Britain chaps! Oh, and thanks AWFULLY for getting us that Enigma Machine!"

Had I been Mr Pat Average in a Nazi Occupied Britain I am quite sure, with a family to feed, I would not have been in the resistance. I think most People would have to admit the same if they are honest with themselves. Have you seen 'It Happened Here' - a very good faction movie in which a nurse struggles to survive in Nazi Occupied Britain, by the same man who made the 'Live TV Footage documentary' about Cullodden.

I take issue with your 'Happily' but don't want to start a fight ("you can't fight in here, this is the War Room!"). I suggest 'Marianne in Chains' - an excellent book on the period in France. 'Happily' is not fair I think. There were Fascists in the Petain Government and the Milice, there were some active happy collaborators, just as there were Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Lithuanian, Latvian etc etc volunteers in the Waffen SS. but most French people were not Happy.
 
Apr 3, 2016
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You are right, 'happily' is not a good word to use. Nobody would be happy in those circumstances.

I just think there is a stark parallel between the Russian reaction to invasion and the French.
 
Only the Yugoslav resistance was militarily significant, but that's one hell of a high standard to apply to all other resistance movements, which still did what they could in insanely dangerous conditions. That includes the French Resistance, which wasn't the universal movement some (who, though?) would want to believe, but still pretty important, considering.

To say that most of France cooperated with the Nazis is as much of a distortion of history as claiming they all were partisans or actively supported the Resistance. The Popular Front had won the 1936 elections - those voters didn't magically disappear, they were simply repressed and scared shitless.

Comments along these lines often go hand in hand with the myth that France cowardly surrendered without putting up a fight. It's baseless pop history.

The Russian reaction was determined by the geostrategic realities of the USSR: they could keep fighting because they could regroup. France couldn't. Still though, in the USSR there were millions of Hiwis and other collaborators motivated by everything from personal ideology to "crap, how am I going to survive this?" - just like in France.
 
Sep 17, 2015
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kwikki said:
I just think there is a stark parallel between the Russian reaction to invasion and the French.
France was a wonky republic, riddled with dissent, and the French Communists were instructed by the Soviets to describe any attempt to organise resistance to the Germans as a Capitalist war-mongering Plot against the workers... Meanwhile the substantial French Right were almost glad to be conquered by a Foreign Fascist in preference to being governed by French Socialists. The French lost more than anyone in wwi - can you imagine spending 4 years fighting the Germans only to be told twenty years later to cheerfully send your son* off to do it all again becuiase the Government allowed the old enemy to once again be a military threat? *or in some cases, where you were 20 at the end of wwi getting conscripted yourself, again!

The USSR was a monumental Totalitarian state with the absolute power of life and death over its citizens, and which was able to use the classic Russian Trade-Off (Space for time). It also had a huge amount of help from the US and Britain, weapons, equipment, food, boots, radios.... The Battle of Kursk included some divisions driving Churchil and Valentine tanks. Talk about bad luck.... 'welcome to the Russian Army Comrade.... ah yes, I see you admiring our wonderful T-34 tanks... however you will be in this , it's called a 'Lee'.......
 
Apr 3, 2016
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The French surrendered so easily and quickly that the Germans weren't in a position to take control of the country. Hence Vichy.
 
Sep 17, 2015
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kwikki said:
The French surrendered so easily and quickly that the Germans weren't in a position to take control of the country. Hence Vichy.
Unkind and not really true. It was always the German method to run western countries using the powers-that-be, whether quislings or tolerably compliant parties of the right. The Occupied bit was to create a cordon sanitaire and to ensure easy access to the rest of france if they needed it. Much easier to milk France of her wealth with a ridiculous Mark/Franc conversion rate and leave it to the locals to run the country than spend money and men holding her down.

If Britain had had a land-border with Germany in 1940 we would have gone down just as fast, if not faster. It tends to be forgotten after we gloriously escaped** at Dunkirk, most of the French Soldiers we shipped out were shipped right back to continue fighting, which they did, pretty well considering.


*or 'ran away' as the French would put it - after breaking a promise to cover our section of the front without telling the French we were off.
 
As I said, it's pop history. The Battle of France was much shorter than expected, but it still saw some ferocious fighting and high casualties. It just so happens the French and the Brits (can't stress this enough) were DECISIVELY beaten on the field and thrown into disarray, their various attempts at regrouping and reforming a line being quickly thwarted by Germany's rapid advance. If they had continued to fight, from an absolutely hopeless strategic position (all their defenses having been breached and with the admittedly useless Italian army attacking their flank), it would just have resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths and dozens of destroyed cities, for exactly the same ultimate outcome. Of course, it's easy to look back now and say they should have bit the bullet and kept on fighting none the less - we wouldn't be the ones making huge sacrifices for nothing.

As PatrickLeeds says, the Brits were just as decisively beaten, they simply benefited from an infinitely better strategic position that allowed them to keep fighting. Same as the USSR.
 
Sep 17, 2015
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hrotha said:
the admittedly useless Italian army
Oh that's not fair... the Italian army were really good at....ummmmm, well they were great at...... nope, got nothing. Help me out anyone?

Some of their Tankettes were really cute....... that's all I have got.

No! wait! Got one! The semovente! That's a cracking self-propelled anti tank gun, yes, the semovente. Viva Italia!

 
Aug 9, 2016
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PatrickLeeds said:
kwikki said:
The French surrendered so easily and quickly that the Germans weren't in a position to take control of the country. Hence Vichy.
Unkind and not really true. It was always the German method to run western countries using the powers-that-be, whether quislings or tolerably compliant parties of the right. The Occupied bit was to create a cordon sanitaire and to ensure easy access to the rest of france if they needed it. Much easier to milk France of her wealth with a ridiculous Mark/Franc conversion rate and leave it to the locals to run the country than spend money and men holding her down.

If Britain had had a land-border with Germany in 1940 we would have gone down just as fast, if not faster. It tends to be forgotten after we gloriously escaped** at Dunkirk, most of the French Soldiers we shipped out were shipped right back to continue fighting, which they did, pretty well considering.


*or 'ran away' as the French would put it - after breaking a promise to cover our section of the front without telling the French we were off.
That is of course true, but I would always counter that if Britain had a land border with Germany, then the material make up and experience of it's armed forces would have been very different. Britain's steel went into Warships not tanks, for good reason.
 
Sep 17, 2015
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Oh of course, no argument there - I am referring to this particular case rather than in General - the sneering at France for surrendering in '40 when we didn't.

Let's not forget that on Paper the 1940 French Army was in many ways 'better' than the german army. It didn't help much.
 
Re: Re:

PatrickLeeds said:
hrotha said:
the admittedly useless Italian army
Oh that's not fair... the Italian army were really good at....ummmmm, well they were great at...... nope, got nothing. Help me out anyone?

Some of their Tankettes were really cute....... that's all I have got.

No! wait! Got one! The semovente! That's a cracking self-propelled anti tank gun, yes, the semovente. Viva Italia!



Altho late to the war(1943), the Fiat G55 was considered on par if not superior to the FW-190 and ME-109..

[url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiat_G.55]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiat_G.55[/url]
 

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