tv International Conference on World War II CSPAN December 1, 2018 3:31pm-4:37pm EST
steel, battle of the bulge, 1944 o 1945, james holland, author of big week, the biggest air and e of world war ii, national world war ii museum historian robert citeno. american history on c-span 3. >> ladies and gentlemen, if you would please find your seats. find your cell phones, we're going to begin in one minute. thank you.
>> now we have what i'm sure be another fun and ast-paced session with three, sadly a shy and retiring lot, aree dynamic historians who also good friends. joining us is james holland, last year's conference to speak on the second book in west" trilogy. since then he's just published a week, the air g war over germany." at our ion to speaking conference james has also become involved in our travel programs historian.red actually all three of these
gentlemen are involved in our programs.ravel lastly, the doctor who just completed his upcoming d-day right ich is due out before the 75th anniversary, which will go a long way, along his other great volumes on european theater of operations. peter will moderate the conversation between rob and try and get in a word edgewise if these two allow it, that, dr. adams, it's all yours. > good afternoon, if i have a slightly dazed look, it's not because of jet lag but i spent 0 years at the uk defense academy trying to tunnel my way out. a bit more like a p.o.w. camp so i've now emerged from the nstitution where i've been institutionalized for the last 20 years. sitting next to me, has it elect tri fired us today.
this what we need afternoon. so we're going to have a look at lost and some of you, of course, have studied university topic or in a military college, probably in allies won.why the let's old hat. moved on and what we need is a fast, snappy look at stuff. picture we've been drilling down a little more so we're going to xpand right into the sort of strategic level and the political strategic sort of of world war ii, certainly the european campaigns and we'll look at why, why it is the germans lost. so on one hand we've got rob who going to inject his legendary enthusiasm and just move this we also have james next d, and james is my door neighbor, one of my best
friends. i have known him for a long time him as much as being a a cricket extraordinary. he's the life and soul of not only the village cricket author's cricket club that plays around the world. o he's a world famous cricketer, but more importantly he's a world famous author. here.rious books are he's revolutioned our thinking and e battle of britain, his second volume of war in the west has just come out. available in y, all the book shops. so what we're going to do is e're going to sit down here rather than go to the podium and i hope you will excuse us for that because what we thought work well is more of a conversation where james and rob of various sort aspects of the bigger picture, we will sit, each will
have about 15 or 20 minutes, and throw the floor open to you. as a newby o say, here, i'm absolutely staggered quality of the questions that you are asking the panelists. in the united kingdom, that the case.be we would be digging down into tank tracks.s of rivet , we call that counting, but instead we have absolutely fantastic questions without exception. thank you very much. keep them coming and i'm now going to hand it over to james. james, before you get started, i want to say to my two uk, they look he bewildered because i just took whicho a local restaurant is a fusion of cajun and vietnamese cuisine, representing but di of new orleans have to do a little explaining of the menu. >> it was delicious. 30 t of all, just give me seconds on cricket.
ecause -- [laughter] >> it could have been so very, very different he difference between baseball pitching, where you can kind of sling your arm back and throw in and bowling, not as bowling on the ground, actually an all, was invented by american, and the first leading bowler was from philadelphia, the first ever test match, which is the absolute pinnacle played between england and the united states over here. civil war.he yeah. and what happened was, because they were bowling over them, you do is you pitch the ball on the ground, and that asn't very good, when you were kind of just outside chancellorville or, you know, you can't ou know, just create a cricket pitch but you can create a baseball mound bat.just hold the so baseball then takes over from cricket because of the civil war. want to thank you for
clarifying that. >> we could have been having united states test matches to this day. prospect that is. mra[applause] >> however, let's not get cricket.ked by we're hear to talk about why germany lost. got andhow long have we where do we start? it's such a big subject but we've got to be electric and fast and all the rest of us. some years ago, when i was still enormous new to this subject, that is, world war ii, to the small arms unit, the giant services combined i ff college in the uk, and went to see, at peter's uggestion, a rather marvelous fellow, retired john starling, and there he has this amazing arms that go small all the way back to the 17th century right up until now. got a massive
collection of world war ii tuff, american, british, russian, the whole she bang. there is an mg-42, and i just book that the mg-42 was the best machine gun of world war ii. course, the best machine gun of world war ii. john turned around and went, says who? who? i'm sort of, okay. and then the next five minutes, why iantly de constructed the mg-42 wasn't necessarily the best machine gun of the war. he pointed out, yes, it had a great rate of fire. rounds per minute, that was great in an immediate engagement, however, every explosion et has an and when you're firing 15 rounds per second that creates a massive amount of heat. the barrel turns to red-hot, then to white hot. inaccurate.tely you have to carry six spare barrels, each spare has nine on it.ion stamps it requires vast amounts of ammunition. firing it properly,
more than 250 rounds could you properly with ng discipline then would you only fire 120 rounds a minute which thee pointed out is exactly same kind of practical rate of fire for a brand gun, 30 caliber, 50 caliber, whatever, and i just went wow. me down a whole new route of research and what i had we have to understand that war is fought on three levels. operationalc level, level, the tactical level. the strategic level is obviously the high level stuff. churchill, er, eisenhower, the big vision. what you're trying to achieve in war. the tactical level is, in kind of -- ms, the it is the cold face of war. german crew in the tank. foxhole.tles in his it is broken spit fire.
it is the actual fighting. bit. netic the operational bit is the bit that links the two. the strategic to the tactical. supply. it is making sure that americans every ough hershey bars day. it is medical supplies. crew.tank it is tank wreckers, mobile workshops. it is factories. liberty ships. it's crossing the atlantic. it's the nuts and bolts and economics of war. what i discovered, my big thesis, is basically, by and large, on the whole, over last 60 years in the narrative of world war ii what everyone whether d to focus on, it be a documentary, is the strategic level and the tactical level. we get is lots of stuff about what it's like being in eisenhower's hq or a foxhole, focus.at's the hat we don't get, we give lip
pay service to is the operational level. once you insert that into the world war ii everything starts to change and it's really super exciting. that just tell you, that economic level, the nuts and bolts, the factories, and all not boring.it, is you think logistics, what are you on? don't. amazing. full of human drama and twists and turns and stew 12e7s forward and one backwards. it's really much more interesting and it makes the more world war ii much interesting and it makes you think about things differently, germans.east, the because of this focus on the tactical and the strategic we dazzled e a little bit by the germans with their fancy mg-42s and their tiger tanks their big gun and armor and their cool, snappy jack boots nd leather gray coats and stuff. all well and good. but listen, i got a double gray coat from 1936.
it's not something i would put on every day, i'll admit. okay. because the moment you put it on, you look like a nazi. -- it's just incredible. here are no swastikas, just astonishing, but i reckon, conservatively, four cows for that at least. so that's great in the 1930s, trying to create this new military machine. when you're trying to say, did hear -- germans, let's be like the old days, frederick the reat where we were brilliant militarily. let's be really good. come on in. nd you can get on the front line, too, you're going to look cool german, nazi, and boots and double breasted jackets. it's great until you get six-year war and then you need to change tact and have really simple jackets like a parson's jacket which is eally simple to make, or a battle dress.
the much maligned british battle practical, super jeep. great in a long six-year war. okay. those -- german jacket, 1940, comes out, edition, 1943, when they are clearly long losing the war, economize, we need to m-43 jacket.uce the the knots to economy are straightening the pockets and rid of the pleats. it, anyone, a reason why they lost? i'm sounding a little flippant and i don't mean to be really. understand is o where german is, in europe. it's in the center of europe, surrounded by all sides. an inherent, i think, germansinsecurity about and german people, they are east,able from the south, north and west and very little
shoreline. they have a tiny bit of the north sea. baltic is an absolutely massive channel and islands and difficult to get out to. in the 1930s and 1940s, most freight goes around the world by oceans, which is why britain and america are in a really good position because they have got access to these oceans and britain has created the world's largest navy the world's largest merchant shipping fleet in 1939. have any of on't this, so their access to resources is really -- it's not great. built up their strength by, you know, in the past, by eing brilliant manufacturers, engineers and all the rest of it. the problem is, the moment you reate enemies a lot of those doors get shut, the access to world's oceans get shut. you know, it doesn't have access the way germany raditionally, and rob
brilliantly covers his books, and a really pioneering book for read and absorb, i have to ay, and i don't want to sale your sandwich, rob, but the german way of war is to enemy and ight your overwhelm them super quick. so what you do, you use that level, you use flexibility, to enable you to enemy very quickly. you have a massive point of the cattle ou do slick. annihilate your enemy and get biscuits on and sunday. it goes back to frederick. goes back to denmark in 1864. austria in 1866. they try to do. sort of works and then runs out of steam. 1914.hey try to do in almost works but doesn't and t's exactly what they do in 1939. everything is going swimingly
because they have overwhelmed france, nd then mighty this first world nation, they overwhelm france as well in two a fist.f in six weeks, france and the low countries have been overwhelmed. fantastic,at and it's big now, okay, and have a thing in berlin. but there is unfinished business. he unfinished business is britain. they isn't subdued. they haven't got a plan. hey are just expecting britain to throw in the towel, why you want, you have lost your army? and this is one of the problems they tend to ve, view their own experience, particularly hitler, through the of his own world view. there is a reason, for example, why in britain, the senior navy.e is the for us, the navy is everything, not the army. lost just because we've our incredibly small army in unkirk is not necessarily the be all to end all. what subsequently happens is the battle of britain. get wallopedlutely
in that and clearly by october it's not going to happen. not going to be an operation sea lion. for ad of turning east, that shortage of food and materials and raw materials, because they can't get to the oceans, they say what do you do? overland to the soviet union here it's got plenty of everything, instead of doing that in 1943 or 1944, they are 1941. to do it in it's a one roll of the dice gamble. if they don't pull it off they big trouble and they didn't pull it off. i think you can argue and argue forincingly the war is lost the germans by november 1941. stalin eople talk about grad, i think it's much earlier that. think about this. take an arbitrary date, june 15, 1941, so just before the invasion of the soviet union, on that date, the germans have one enemy. great britain, albeit, britain dominions, power, and all
the rest of it. fast forward six months. how many have they got now. they have got the soviet union, nited states, great britain plus empire. it's just not going to happen. it really, really isn't. across this amazing note research in ing and it was ch is -- written by general george thomas, who was ahead of the okw.mic department of the the german general staff but it was signed by hitler. his artistic scroll at the end of it. it said, one of the lines in this, okay, this is fourth of december, 1941. just think about that. that's three days before pearl harbor, it's a week before hitler declares war on the united states. literally the day before the red army counterattacks outside moscow, so a big world is about to happen and in we have tog it says,
stop making such complete and antiseptic weapons. wow! read this and i just thought, hallelujah. john starlin was right. an m-44 at home as you do. >> as one does. >> as one does. with only one barrel in my box. so what it comes with, and this amazing. has it hasn't got a wooden gets really n it hot you've got to have an of very much mitt but it doesn't really work. box itself is brilliant. box, which you click on and it slips into place beautifully, absolute k of wonderful woodwork. the engineering on it is absolutely magnificent. a little tool box. the tool box is wood lined with leather. got a n it up and it's little oiler it in and there is
a little screw top. top.ou don't lose the screw it's got a gossamer chain that someone has made on it. you actually get the machine gun itself with its spare barrel. nine inspection stamps on this. eight of gue that those are definitely not needed and very possibly nine of them needed. why is the nine inspection stamps on it? y. because ell you germany doesn't have enough manpower so what happens is, by by autumn of 1941 they are already running out of manpower. so the only way they can supply very inefficient war, with lots of boots on the ground, which is not an efficient way to it, it's like saying, yeah, they had 300 positions in the aren't they idiots. we only had 55 and we still won. t's not an efficient way to do things. the only way they can supply that is by taking men out of the factories. out of the men factories, what do you do?
how do you keep your factories going? labor.ing in slave but the problem is you're short of food in the first place, and rationings been under 1939, and summer of ou can't possibly give a pole rations -- morae ideological ole thing to this as we know. so what do you do? factory and in a give them nothing until what happens to the quality of that work. it's terrible. man-hours you lose just by having weak and feeble enormous.s, it's and on top of that you have people who are not motivated to o a good job, who are going to sabotage, so you end up having stamps, and on another reason, you have this pablovian reaction.
is, get a tiger tank and it and you're in tz your foxhole and suddenly lutic is happening and the second division coming towards you, and you see a tiger think, you don't give a damn about how much it cost to make or the problems of or the issues of trying to fit it on the european ontinental loading gauge on a railway which it doesn't do without changing the tracks. about that.re all you care about is it's a scary.g gun and it's veterans testimonies have lowned on the judgment on this stuff. let's look back at it and think tiger tanks. 492 king er tanks and tiger tanks. that's all that was made. unbelievablyks are
complicated. and because germany was not very in the first place, britain, eightin in france, two in the united tates, what that means is you're not a nazi war machine. you're a nazi war effort. thing.letely different you don't have that huge industrial base. you don't have enough people who it. how to drive you don't have enough gas all ons and factories and the rest of it and you can't click your fingers and change that. do is you have the engineering ability to build something magnificent like a is, it's t the problem unbelievably complicated. a six speed ion is designed -- it sounds like a formula one car. it is. an 18-year-old into that and -- and it breaks. and so your tiger, when it can't move, is a total waste of space. yes, everyone says, well,
it takes four germans to knock ut one tiger but when you've got 49,000 germans, it's not so much of a problem but also don't americans and british do is they provide tank anckers, we're talking about operation, one of the dog days of the british second army, 400 day.s lost in one it's appalling but actually what happens is most of those, them, are ike 65% of all retrieved in an operation within 24 hours and the total only about 130 out of the 140 and that's why that'sinning the war and lost.rmany mra [applause] > let's get back to that cricket thing. [laughter] >> that was brilliant, thanks.
this is why, did germany lose world war ii. i wanted to subtitle my remarks, let me count the ways. i don't think there is one single explanation that suffices to explain victory or defeat in sprawling global conflict. so the obvious answer to the why did germany lose world war ii? there are a lot of things. and you've just heard some of give you some more. having established that completely obvious point, that a bunch of reasons why germany lost the war, let me turn it on its head and dismiss reasons most commonly given and i've heard it here a few types, i've heard it from heard it from some of my colleagues, i've heard it out in the halls, bumbler who failed to listen to his generals, to his o listen generals, i don't just buy it that. simply isn't true. did listen to them. more often than not, i would say. econd of all, even if he had listened to them a hundred
percent of the time i'm not sure mattered to the eventual outcome of world war ii. look, i'm offering, y'all know me here, i'm a decent fellow. 'll offering no justification for anything hiltler ever said, lanned or did including launching world war ii. but i don't think simply saying behalf as a bumbler, a fine or an idiot advances the discourse very much or helps us understand what germany did or tried to do in world war ii. you know, i might even go so far to offer the sort of provocative thesis, like fritz does in his new book, hitler as an army commander. read it, steve fritz, remember the name. e argues that hitler had some strengths as a military commander, kind of arguing against the general consensus. to new idea like warfare, role ed
of aircraft on the battle feed of the future so the 1940 dramatic this big victory, in which the french army was crushed in a matter of weeks and the british were the continent for i think the second of about four or five types in the course of right?r, we'll talk about those, that 1940 campaign, if it owes to to hitler. owes hitler had a certain strength, to decide on something and rammed it through. about that, how important, we always say that is to a field commander. anyone had strength the way hitler did, and he had a consent of strategy that was often well that of his commanders. they would be fighting over a and say y. rain say it's our last ickel mine in continental europe. if you want to find a war without metals, go ahead. he does have a consent of and we'll talk about the flaws in it. i guess, we heard a lot of over the course of the
last two days, a lot of really good voices saying, we have to this and talk about this more seriously. -- ve heroes and villains, getting a very good picture of world war ii was all about. et me normalize hitler as a commander. like most military leaders since napoleon, he believed in the offensive whenever possible. does he say that over and over and over again. he believed in a tenacious defense when it was necessary. launched a war when he thought he had a strategic advantage. on grimly when things turned south. he often failed, he did fail, he was a fanatic but because he was indecisive and clean choices between clashing courses of action proposed by his field commanders. so, in all of that, we read not so the great and great commanders of the past, present, and future. to normalize ing
hitler in a moral sense. his cruelty an crimes will live of us here in ll this room have passed away, i'm confident. him do think we can view more objectively and dispassionately as a 1.i mentioned i want to go into more detail. blunders,of hitler's these moments in which the germans were on the verge of winning world war ii and yanks defeat from the jaws of victory by some crazy decision, every single one of them. turned towards iev. 1942,alingrad pocket in
1943, to concentrate the panzer divisions in 1944. every blunder was the subject of an intense debate within the german officer corps, which hitler's had no choice but to adjudicate. i can armchair general with the but for all our general ship, do any of those operational problems have a single clear answer? the answer is no. is there an ideal moment to thish a battle such as one? we will never get an answer to that question. decisionlk about the and summer of 1943. hitler's commander
said nobody wanted to do it. he forced us to do it. an offensive was first proposed by hitler's field marshal in the spring, but his subordinate commander commanded the ninth it was athought bad idea. sovietd see fortifications before his front line. wait, until new german tanks came online, these wonder weapons of war. mark five,x, the
eight hank destroyer called the tank destroyer called the elephant. spring turned into summer. july, he had the new tanks and said we can go. by now, his superior had changed his mind. thought the plan up in the first place and said we have lost the element of surprise. we can go ahead. they are both right. he had seen tough fortifications in the spring. he really didn't need that new technology coming on ryan. they really had lost the element of surprise by july, but there was no ideal solution. how about d-day and the normandy campaign, how about the
arrangement of the panzer divisions in normandy? rommel wanted them at the waters edge. his superior wanted them concentrated inland for a coordinated strike once it was clear where the allies were landing. neither one is ideal. if you line them up on the water's edge, your tank units in the german hono army will be bay out of position. the other option risks not having a panzer division get to the fight at all because it was impossible to move in daylight under allied air attack. the decision was to let them both have panzer divisions, some of the waters edge, some inland. it is not a great solution, but hardly the craziest idea out there. people side with rommel because he is rommel.
war, when in the germany was clearly on the losing end and hitler's general .hip had devolved even then come the situation is not all that clear. sure that is stupid. he was demanding permission to carry out a mobile defense. whenoviets strike them they least expect it. he claimed if we can do that, we could fight the allies to a stance standstill. we have to rate the wehrmacht 's ability. they were running low on supplies and their opponents had
a clear advantage in mobility. that is questionable. , hitler's decisions were questionable in the course of the war and became worse as the war went on to they were amateurish, then became defective. that is the price they all were fighting a global war against a coalition with insufficient resources. he had another idea. he wanted hitler's to step aside. let him handle the military side while hitler's did the political thing. think he would have come up against the same kind of problems they hitler's had. panzera small number of divisions on a 1000-mile front. demand hise would
men fight and hold their positions to the last man. perhaps the real problem was not hitler's as the military commander, but hitler's as the politician. around userational prowled th s could not make up for germany and hitler's insane political ,trategy, a continental empire living space for the german people, enslavement of races deemed subhuman, racial or for occasion, mass murder. incertainly would have ended 1945, 1946, or 1955. all those crackpot ideas hitler's had, hitler's the military come matter lost the war, a senseless war dreamt up by hitler's.
probably anybody would have. caesar,bring julius napoleon, or aries the god of and i am still not sure they would have been able to carry out hitler's political strategy, if that was the chosen political program. cliché, all the clever tactics, schemes, all of those in the world won't amount to much if your strategy is flawed, and that is what germany lost world war ii. [applause] >> that really sums up why history is so exciting. we move on all the time and there are new interpretations.
had two wonderful presentations. have been dazzled by the quality of questions. exactly. stop being polite and start getting real. >> the first question will be in the center come halfway towards the back. >> thank you. slave labord about in germany, while the united states and britain used women, someone posed the question, i .mmediately said women i know hitler's proposed, was a kinder,nt of the
was that part of the german mentality that they didn't use women to help in the factories? >> yes, they did start using women towards the end of the war. was telling me that he would not all flying back to berlin at night. and fly trim the wings off. suddenly there was a huge boom and he woke up with a massive , and hes you would do later discovered it was a female underneath, and they were allowed the far one shell at night for practice. that was there one shell. point,ads me to a bigger which i didn't mention, the germans don't prioritize.
when you look at britain and america in world war ii. you see them basically by and best making the absolute of their efforts at harnessing the potential in the best way. there are exceptions and things that don't work out, but by and large, whereas germany is constantly focusing on the wrong ,hing, the plan before the war the idea to build this huge surface fleet, which will never compete, but they still do. why are they focusing on u-boats? they are not big enough, great enough, and hitler's is excited he has a battleship in his name. there are more people killed in the production, civilians, not a single military person. it is just bonkers.
they have the capability, the know-how, in the late 1930's to develop a u-boat that does not become operational until april 1945. it is way too late. this is a game changer. they focus on jackets and everything. item that seems lost, it is germany their humble gas mask case. the british have one of these. indiana jones uses it, and so do i. [laughter] >> they are cheap. they are made of canvas. what the germans do is they have one made of steel that has a hinge with a lid and a bit of .ire
it is uncomfortable and clanks at night. they are making them, and it is expensive. they are still making these damn things in 1945. women, quickly, about you said church, cooking, and family, the traditions of the german household do you remember what brought him there to power in the first place in the 1920's , a sense that society had careened out of control and no one knew their place anymore. were dressing like men and men were dressing like women. waser's whole there he women were supposed to propagate , not in, stay-at-home an aircraft factory. warped,deology is bonkers, and makes no sense. of the nazi
ideology. it is all part of a bigger picture with they are not orl-equipped ideologically in terms of resources to do what they want to do, and the moment it starts to unravel -- if you think about the first world war. we just had the pre-conference symposium about it. why did germany signed an armistice in 1918? because it's not going to win and running out of money. it is a lack of prioritization, the wrong focus, lack of resources, ideology that works against their ultimate aims militarily. >> right in the center. thank you for your response.
you brought up something i was going to ask, the rabbit hole of research and development, too little am a too late, the heavy water for atomic weapons, you covered that, but something you brought up at the tail end of your presentation, the holocaust , all the resources that went into the genocide and so forth. are there valid arguments for istorians to make that had the nazis allocated less resources to the holocaust, they might've been more successful? >> there was a book written on ,his by an israeli scholar wrote the link between the holocaust and the german war effort. he tried to count how many trains were being used to haul jews to the gas chambers
when infantry divisions were waiting for rail transport. in the field, those folks who specialize in holocaust research , the book has been extraordinarily controversial. in fact, it doesn't take that much military technology, transport, to do the dirty deeds of the holocaust. it is a one-way trip. one can argue the back and forth both ways. itlmost hate to talk about in terms of it. almost getting in areas of trying to equate human lives with tonnage, in the way the nazis were. book,te, i offer you that the full accounting of the question you are asking me. >> we will stay in the center. >> first of all, if you told us
you had a tiger tank as well, we would be really impressed. [laughter] >> you have talked about from the operational level, slave labor and natural resources of production. you have talked about hitler's smash and grab .armaking, resources, labor how much of that is incidental versus by design? armored vehicles came in handy. how much of that do they plan on or stumbleupon or use later on is the war goes on? >> the point of war is to win quickly. they are not planning along six-your war. withare planning to win what they have a 1939 and what they are developing in 1940. it does not work out that way anduse britain is defeated
can't regroup and rebuild before they turn east. it does develop more organically. you are absolutely right. the problem, the moment the war progresses beyond the fall of 1941, they can't afford it anymore. they just don't have enough to do what they need to do, so they are constantly trying to take from peter to feed paul and fill their operational gaps, because they don't have enough food, .il, labor, troops the alternatives get worse and worse and worse and less effective. warow much developed in the and how much was by plan?
before operation barbarossa on germans have worked out a general plan which calls for starving 40 million to 50 main people to death, smash and grab economics, taking the , theret of the economy will have to be 10, 20, 30, 40 million deaths by starvation. it is part of the plan. how do you conquer this vast country as quickly as possible? by living off the land in a way that no army in human history has ever planned to live off the land, to purposefully starved the inhabitants to feed your war machine. getting czechoslovakia, new tanks, it is interesting how you pick up resources when you conquer, but there is this
willful designed towards smash and grab economics. >> that is actually develop by my good friend george thomas. he is the guy in charge of that. their plan. moc it is just tough. i might throw in the word "horses." the germans will exacerbate that by taking away everyone's horses. they bardi taken the decision in 1936. german army or not have enough vehicles. their sources of fuel, particular from mexico, will be
cut off. they will have to fall back on their own resources, so the last german military horse-drawn cart bicycles,el 1941, and so the moment you realize the pre-war plan for the expansion of the german army with the transport needs that it will have rests on horses and realize, you suddenly what they are dealing with. they have already so the seed of their own destruction. >> connie has a question to your far left at the front of the section. dad likeyou for your you guys to play what ever for two seconds. or three ofo of these would have made it different in the war, dunkirk, no more offense of operations,
you wait for the government to change. there is no need to engage in any kind of offense of operations against the british. 1941. two, december we have tried to avoid getting them in the war. stay away from america. don't declare war on the united states. delay operation .arbarossa started earlier and april and may of 1943 and take it from there. or three of those might have made a big difference in the war. >> yes, absolutely. germany would have been better off by not launching an invasion
of poland in 1938. . love playing what if's we call it arguing the counterfactual. what would've happened if different decisions had been made. arguing the counterfactual for a with his like hitler' restless need for action, to dominate, should have been more patient against britain, with the u.s., launching operation barbarossa. it is calling for a more reasonable kind of himmler. hitler.\ ,ll other things being equal everything you said makes a great deal of sense, particularly the invasion of the soviet union. providing union was
hitler with everything he needed for his war machine. >> gentlemen, middle section, towards the back. >> as a recovering chemical engineer, i remember doing a prizes for the first nobel chemistry that were awarded, the germans went 16. the americans win two. they are by far the finest group of scientists in the world. they figure out how to synthesize ammonia from nitrogen and hydrogen, which has two applications, fertilizer and explosive. you get heisenberg, etc..
the ironic thing is he ends up driving away the scientists, such as albert einstein and others, who could have been decisive in these technology, etc. do you think of better fit between these sciences and the manufacturing, coupled with a delay, would have made a significant change? >> no, i don't, but i think you are right about him driving away potential brilliance. he did. a lot of these guys are jews. it is interesting. in the first part of the 20th century, german engineers and scientists were rock stars. they were famous the country over. everyone knew that leading engineers and architects. these were household names.
than was no greater goal to be a scientist or engineer. they didn't talk about the conquest of nature, enormous in the 20thlt century, absolutely extraordinary. whole culture of excellent's, which is exactly why you have these nobel prize winners before the second world war. nazi ideology is really warped, and the focus is wrong and hitlerism himmler and all the rest of it. and all the rest of it. out of theke hitler equation, you don't have nazis.
what happens is that because of the lack of correct privatization, a lot of the scientists, again, the focus is not right. in the case of jet engines, the numbers,oduced in vast the actual science is quite complicated. they are simple to make in comparative terms. it so one of the reasons there were so many is they were easier to make than a piston engine, a -- 109. gine, or a measure sm t there isn't such a an imperative to get on with it in the u.k. at
the time. >> there is a great science fiction novella called "the man in the high castle." they turned it into a television program. there is anl ,ntermediate zone between them but the author goes into great detail. it is fascinating. i will leave you to it. one thing leads to another leads to another leads to another. saw what philip k deck was doing in that novel, showing the weiad way that everything
think is inevitable could have gone very differently with the minor tweet here or shove there. if you've never had the pleasure , i would recommend "the man in the high castle." >> i don't think they had a chance of winning the war. the worst mistake he made in his life was going into poland in 1939. so much would have to go right, and it never goes right. , i accept their work key moments that could have gone in their favor that did not and that might have extended the war, but the result would have been the same. i just can't bear thinking about an alternative world where japan and nazi germany win. i cap watch it. i can't watch "the man in the high castle" because it is so
awful, the prospect. it just makes me ill. >> you know how the world of the 1940's fell appearet. [laughter] yo >> i see you left the italians out of the equation. [laughter] >> in the center. a coming back to reality for moment, i understand early in the effort that the germans took their time to mobilize their industry for the war effort. what effect did that have on their ability to do a sustained operation as opposed to make it quick, get it over with, and use what we have. germany was never fully
mobilize for war. terrified of what happened in the first world war, germany trapped in a war of attrition, political discontent on the homefront until there was some overthrow of his regime. campaign, troops are slated for demobilization, a cut in the panzer divisions. you mobilize more fully early on in the war. factories.en in the you don't have a war run by himmler and his particular quirks and of sessions.
hitler with this particular quirks. >> the shops didn't have any goods in them. it was terrible. they were short of everything. not also tells you they are really geared up or equipped for , andar they need to fight this goes back to the original point, germany is geared up to fight short, sharp wars, six weeks, a couple of months. a is not geared up to fight war of five or six years. >> i'm going to try to get to two questions. the first one is to your left. >> we are going to talk about rivets real quick. the greatest machine gun ever made and the greatest assault all threer made,
represent german capability of stamping and producing mass-produced machine guns. iv wasnzer mark mass-produced before the end of the war. there is clear indication that germans realized the quality pertained, per item wasn't the best idea. is there a specific point on the calendar when you say that is when they realized it, when they stopped counting? that missive where we say we have to stop making such weapons , that is an incredible admission. that arens aesthetically pleasing to look at. that is no way to fight a long, drawnout war. don't getd that, they
over that dna response to creating weapons, which is to over engineer them. that would be my point. it is something they only come to towards the second half of the war. in 1943, it becomes policy. the inspector of the armored forces, that is the move towards turret-less gun, and to me it is late in the game. has someone inspecting gun barrels and factories. i worked in factories. they are supposed to be machining parts, boom, boom,
boom, not an aesthetic exercise. >> right to the very end of the war, they are in love with the look of things, over engineering. and therocket programs aircraft they never got around toputting into production other countries take over in the 1950's, they are reducin doing n the last days of the war. i'm not sure they lose the love affair with quality. >> gentlemen, inc. you very much. [applause] -- thank you very much. [applause] >> i told you they were a shy and retiring lot. would am sure most of you agree, this could have gone on for another hour or so.
please join them in the hospitality ballroom, but be back in your seats by 4:00 for our closing session. let's send these guys off with one more round of applause. [applause] announcer: you are watching american history tv live from new orleans. our coverage continues in 30 minutes with today's final , gerhard weinberg. he sits down with the national world war ii museum president for a discussion on lessons learned from the war. iiil then, more on world war , looking at the history of cities across america. our toi