Why Germany was defeated in the War

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Why Germany was defeated in the War
It's ambitions had been far to extensive:
o To establish a `Greater Germany' which went way beyond Germany's 1914 frontiers.
o To destroy Bolshevik Russia.
o To create a new order based on the concept of Aryan racial supremacy.
The means to these ends had involved the acceptance of violence and bloodshed on a massive
Military factors
On a superficial level Hitler's final failure in his ambitions could be explained on his strategic
Consequently, when Germany failed to secure either British neutrality or a British surrender in
1940-1 before attacking the USSR, the foundations for defeat were laid.
At the start of the war, Germany did not fully exploit its available resources and manpower.
The alliance with Mussolini's Italy was also of little gain.
Indeed, military weakness in the Balkans and North Africa proved costly, since it diverted German
forced away from the main European fronts.
The failure to defeat the Soviet Union before the onset of winter in 1941, combined with the
entry of the USA into the war, now tipped the balance.
Britain was still free to act as a launch-pad for a western front and also in the meantime, could
strike into the heart of Germany by means of aerial bombing.
The USSR could also maintain the eastern front by relying on its geographical size and sacrificing
its huge manpower.
Economic factors
Although the Four-Year Plan of 1936 was meant to make Germany `fit for war within four years',
the German economy was not really ready for a long war in 1939. Its capacity was only strong
enough to sustain a couple of short campaigns.
Anglo-American bombing ­ German industry peaked in the production of weapons in summer
1944, yet the German armed forces could not fully benefit from this because of the detrimental
effect of Allied air raids.
From the outset, Germany was short of labour. Millions of workers were required to keep up the
industrial and agricultural production, and the gaps were only partially filled by forced labourers
and an increase in female employment.
Germany was severely in debt and the reserves in gold and foreign currencies were almost
completely used up by 1939. Overall the Nazi state had run up a debt of roughly 42 billion
The US economy was just far too powerful and in 1944, Germany's fuel supply compared to the
supply of the Western Allies was 1:3. The USA sent astronomical support to the Allies, especially
to the USSR which received 13,000 tanks and 15,000 planes.

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The Soviet resources - the Soviet economy had undergone a ruthless industrialisation
programme in the 1930s by Stalin and despite its limitations, Russia had vast resources of raw
materials, for example of oil and manpower.
The key problems facing Germany in 1945
As a result of the number of Nazi leaders that had committed suicide, including Hitler and
Goebbels, and many others having fled or been captured of arrested, the central government
had broken down in the final week of April.…read more

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Economic dislocation
Surprisingly, the economy had not completely broken down, but it was very badly dislocated.
Industry capacity had obviously declined dramatically, but the extent of its destruction was
exaggerated at the time.
Moreover, the infrastructure of bridges and railways and the utilities, like gas and water, had
broken down during the end of the war.…read more

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What the Big Three Wanted
Stalin Churchill Roosevelt
Had already officially Churchill's mistrust of Stalin had Roosevelt, who was very ill and
established a Soviet-backed grown over the months and died two months later, was
provisional communist would grow further. driven by his idealism and keen
government in Lublin in Poland to introduce democracy into
the month before. eastern Europe.…read more

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Germany was tentatively divided up into four occupational zones.
They agreed that Germany would be divided into four zones: American, French, British and
Soviet. Whereas decisions concerning the whole of Germany would be taken by the four
High Commanders in the Allied Control Council (ACC) (Name given to the military occupation
governing body of the four Allied Occupation Zones) unanimously.
Similarly, the Capital, Berlin, would be divided into four zones to be ruled by the ACC.…read more

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What the Big Three Wanted
Stalin Churchill Truman
Stalin's interests at Potsdam Churchill was even less Roosevelt had died on 12 April
were above all the questions optimistic and increasingly leaving his inexperienced
of reparation and security. hostile to Stalin. successor, Truman, with an
unfinished war and an unclear
situation as to Europe's future.…read more

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By July, Stalin's troops effectively controlled the Baltic states, Finland, Poland, Czechoslovakia,
Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania, and refugees were fleeing out of these countries fearing a
Communist take-over.
Stalin had set up a Communist government in Poland, ignoring the wishes of the majority of
Although Britain and the USA protested, but Stalin defended his action. He insisted that his
control of Eastern Europe was a defensive measure against possible future attacks.
America had a new president
On 12th April 1945, Roosevelt had died.…read more

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Reparations ­ the USSR demanded reparations of $20 billion, a sum which in the eyes of the
Western Allies was so exorbitant that it would make it impossible for the German economy
to support its population. (Although interestingly the Americans had estimated that Soviet
damages amounted to $35.7 billion).
In the end an agreement was reached by which each power was to take reparations from its
own Occupying Zone.…read more

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Truman became very unhappy about Russian intentions and soon adopted a `get tough'
attitude towards Stalin.
Consequences of Yalta and Potsdam on the unity of Germany:
Eastern Germany will be much poorer than Western Germany as each Occupying Power would
take reparations from its own Occupying Zone.
Divisions made it less likely to be united.
Truman was sceptical of Stalin and therefore more unlikely to negotiate.…read more


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