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World war II was a widespread war that occurred amongst most of the countries in the world. It was a great war which forced most countries to place their complete scientific, industrial and economic efforts toward war, combining both military and civilian resources. It was the most deadly conflict in the history of humans, with fatalities reported to have exceeded 70 million people. The military personnel involved in this war exceeded 100 million, which further shows the enormity of the war. The war started after Germany invaded Poland and subsequently, British Dominions, France, and the United Kingdom declared war on Germany. After the war, the United States and the Soviet Union emerged as the superpowers, which subsequently led to the cold war. This war led to the emergence of the United Nations, which was tasked with the responsibility of preventing such a war in future.
According to Jacobsen and Smith, (96-97), Germany, Italy, and Japan subsequently formed a tripartite pact, which was meant to counter any move by the US to become involved in the war. The pact maintained that the three nations would cooperate and stand by each other over a decade, in order to establish a new order which would safeguard the welfare and prosperity of the citizens of these countries. According to Gudmens and the US Army Command and General Staff College Combat Studies Institute (63-64), the Japanese attacks on the American fleets in Pearl Harbor in 1941, led to the use of the atomic bombs on Japan, in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The damage caused by the two bombs that were dropped in the two cities was unprecedented, and this led to the surrender of Japan in 1945. This effectively ended the war. Alliance with Japan as Germany's downfall. The alliance of Germany with Japan can be said to be a major contributor to Germany's downfall. According to Dunn (120-121), the initial pact between Germany, Japan, and Italy was meant to safeguard the interests of the citizens of the three countries, but Japan's downfall led to the collapse of the axis. As has been explained above, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor causing significant damage to US ships as well as casualties to US troops. This act, combined with Japan's refusal to surrender unconditionally, in line with the agreement in Potsdam, led to the use of atomic bombs by the US on Japan. The bombs killed an estimated 80,000 people in Nagasaki and another 140,000 in Hiroshima. According to Oakes and Kia (30-31), thousands subsequently died after being exposed to the radiation, and this led to the surrender of Japan. Japan considered the atomic bombs to be a threat to humanity, and could not bear losses of such magnitude, especially considering that the US was planning to use other such bombs on it.
These bombs exposed the superiority of the US, especially considering that Germany did not have such bombs. The surrender of Japan crippled the axis and effectively led to the end of the war, which was a blow to Germany.
Germany's concern for cleansing as a contributor to their defeat in the war.
During the World War II, Adolf Hitler orchestrated the murder of 6 million Jews, in an effort to 'cleanse' the world. The number of Jews who were killed was a third of the total Jewish global population at the time. The Nazis, under control from Hitler, blamed the Jews for corrupting the German culture through 'mongrel' and 'foreign' influence. The Nazis also portrayed Germans as honest, courageous and hardworking, and the Jews as cowardly and evil. The Germans built many concentration camps where the Jews were incarcerated and spent vast resources persecuting the Jews. In 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union and assassinated over 30,000 Jews during the first two days, through several assassination squads.
It is clear that Germany spent vast resources equipping its assassination squads and other elite teams which murdered Jews. Other resources were also used for building and maintaining concentration camps. In a period of war, all resources should be used to fight the enemies, as opposed to diverting them for any other uses. Germany diverted some of its resources to 'cleanse' itself from Jews and this played a part in their defeat in the war.Germany's invention of the atomic bomb as a factor that would have made them win the war.
The effects of the atomic bombs that were used by the US, were the main contributors to the end of the World War II. This, as has been explained above, is due to the number of fatalities, damage to property and future effects that they caused to humanity. In fact, Japan surrendered after the realization that the entire human race could be wiped out by solely using these bombs. The effects of the bombs caused by the radiation affected future generations. The US was preparing to use other bombs on Japan, and the loss was too great to bear, hence the surrender. If Germany had developed the atomic bomb first, then this would have been an almost certainty of winning the war. Germany needed to enrich the uranium to eighty percent level or above, and it would have developed an atomic bomb. If they had it first, they would definitely have used it against its enemies, under the rule of Hitler. In fact, Hitler would have dropped the bombs in the most densely populated cities, which would have led to the highest number of civilian casualties, without flinching a muscle. This would have made even the most determined nations to surrender, including the US and Soviet Union.
Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941 through an operation which was referred to as Operation Barbarossa. The invasion was supported by the axis and involved over 4.5 million Axis powers' troops. The main purpose of this invasion was to conquer Soviet Union's link which connected Astrakhan and Arkhangelsk. However, Hitler did not achieve the success he had anticipated, and Germans were repulsed from Moscow. They were not able to mount a successful offensive afterward.
The major factors that led to the lack of success were harsh climate and terrain, as well as lack of adequate equipment. The Germans launched their attacks during the summer, under the assumption that the war would be over by the time the harsh winters arrived. However, the war dragged on for longer, and the German soldiers did not have adequate clothing to keep their bodies warm. They also had a series of mishaps which limited the troops' access to weaponry. For instance, the V2 rocket failed in its last stage of development thereby decreasing the effectiveness of the Germans' attacks. The harsh winter also froze some weapons, including vehicles. Better equipment and clothing would have made the chances of Hitler's success much higher than they were.
The D-day offensive began in 1944 and posed to end the German offensive. According to Gerrard (84-85), troops from the allied countries invaded France and fought the Germans, in a bid to liberate France. Before the D-day, the allies destroyed the bridges and railways in France and Belgium in a bid to limit the ability of Germans to access reserves. They also deceived the Germans that they would attack the country through Pas de Calais. On D-day, more than 4000 craft and 5000 ships were used in landing on the beaches. According to Zaloga and Johnson (64-65), the Germans initially put up resistance, but they were defeated by the heavily armed Allies. The Allies gained the necessary momentum after succeeding in Normandy, while the Germans were demotivated by the losses. The success in Normandy played a crucial role in the Allies' success in the war in general.
If Germany had won this battle, it would have been motivated to fight harder and conquer more territories in Europe. Hitler would have captured many prisoners, aircraft, ships, tanks, arms and other equipment that would have strengthened the German troops. However, in my view, the war would not have dragged on for very long, since Germany had other weaknesses in its strategy. Some of the weaknesses have been discussed in the paper, and others include errors in strategy. Germany was trying to capture too many territories simultaneously, and this was, in fact, crippling its troops, supply, and weaponry. Another factor is that the US would still have developed the atomic bomb, which would have forced Germany to surrender irrespective of the win at Normandy. In my view, the war would not have gone on for more than five years, irrespective of whichever side won the Normandy battle.
It can be concluded that in addition to lack of equipment, poor clothing and the impact of the US atomic bomb, Germany still faced other challenges that would have made it difficult to win World War II. The conquering of too many territories simultaneously, as has been discussed, weakened the Germans. Focus on other non-war issues such as 'cleansing' the Germans also shifted resources to other less important goals. However, the alliance with Japan can be said to be one of the greatest mistakes Hitler made, and which cost Germany victory during World War II.
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