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Valar Qringaomis

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Monday, August 08, 2016

Operation Barbarossa

Operation Barbarossa | Podcast | History Extra

"This is rather underestimated by historians... the occupation of Ukraine by Field Marshal von Eichhorn in late 1918... Ukraine would be the breadbasket for the Germany in the future and prevent any repetition of the British blockade and the starvation which that caused to Germany during that particular period. So it was strategic as well as sort of visceral in his hatred of Bolshevism... [Hitler] justified his declaration of war on the United States on the grounds that this was one way to force Britain out of the war. I mean it's very very very very bizarre in thinking, but we know Hitler had this curious confusion. Certainly also a confusion of cause and effect as well...

He, ever since the Spanish Civil War was completely obsessed that anybody living abroad had been corrupted by abroad and therefore was somehow instinctively anti-Soviet. And that's why he rejected the warnings from Berlin. Even the fact that they had managed to send back a minature dictionary for German troops which they got hold of showing terms like, you know, take me to the collective farm chairman and hands up and all the terms that you'd expect for German troops to need in the event of an invasion. So I mean he had a whole raft of it. But he was convinced that this was all *something in Russian* i.e. an English provocation to force a fight with Germany to save Britain and that was why he a) rejected all the British ones but also as I say the ones coming from his own sources...

'So his suspicion of his own sources and of the, I suppose, capitalistic West, sort of overrode his suspicion of the Nazis then, in a way'...

'He even accepted the assurance of Hitler that the reason why so many troops were being moved... to the East, deployed in East Prussia, occupied Poland and further south, was to get them. out of the range of the bombing of the British... you'd have thought that he'd have done a little bit of research on the range of British bombers and all the rest of it. And also to know that the British bombing arm, Bomber Command at that particular stage was so weak and pathetic, I mean just Wellingtons and so forth, that they'd have been almost incapable of making any form of dent, if you like, into German forces...

As far as Churchill was concerned, you know, the moment that Pearl Harbor happened and America was brought into the war, Churchill knew from then on that the Allies could not lose. Obviously he had some very nasty nasty shocks. Fall of Singapore etc etc... that period of 1942 when one horror after another happened, you know. The British pushed... back virtually almost to the gates of Cairo and you've only got to look at the diaries of the time.

The danger of looking at history retrospectively. You've got to see how things were at the time and what they looked like... the British actually at that particular stage were even wondering: do we start destroying the Abidjan oil wells because they thought they were going to lose the whole of the Middle East. And they thought that the Germans were going to come down through the Caucasus and Rommel was going to charge through and link up and all the rest of it. And there was really a feeling that we've lost it completely. But that was not the case because what they had underestimated was this question of the cumulative point"
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