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Thread: Were Hitler's Army Generals Reluctant?

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    Were Hitler's Army Generals Reluctant?

    I'm just reading David Irving's book about Hitler (1933-45) and it appears to me that the Luftwaffe and the Kriegsmarine were both "up" for the coming battles but the Army's generals were a far more reluctant bunch and delayed the invasion of France for a good 6 months due to their hesitancy and pessimism.

    I have the greatest respect for Irving as an authority on WW2 and the Third Reich but I'd previously had the impression that the Wehrmacht was ready to take on all-comers and was supremely confident of success so this is a bit of an eye-opener for me, I must say!

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    The generals were not reluctant regarding the invasion of Poland, contrary to what is sometimes believed.

    Quote Originally Posted by SaxonPagan
    The Army's generals were a far more reluctant bunch and delayed the invasion of France for a good 6 months due to their hesitancy and pessimism.
    With some exceptions, yes. And fortunately for the Germans they delayed the invasion because the army wasn't ready for an invasion of France in the winter of 1939, not by its own standards. All the recently called up reserve soldiers had to prepare for war, material losses from the conflict in Poland had to be compensated as well as lessons from the campaign digested, far more ammunition had to be produced, ... von Manstein's master plan had not even been adopted yet when the invasion of the Benelux/France was ordered by Hitler the first time around, no surprise was in store for the French in the Ardennes.

    Quote Originally Posted by SaxonPagan
    I'd previously had the impression that the Wehrmacht was ready to take on all-comers and was supremely confident of success
    It wasn't ready when the war commenced, but no other armed forces were truly ready either. And if war had been delayed with one, two or three years, Germany's future enemies would've gotten stronger as well, and these enemies had the resources to mechanize or at least motorize far more troops. They could eventually build and operate twice, three or four times the amount of tanks the Germans had.

    And supremely confident of success? No, only some younger generals and elite formations were. We know how fast France collapsed, and we accept that as inevitable now (and in hindsight it was), but at the time it was a massive surprise and a historical anomaly. Germany is not going to win another victory like that over France again in the next 1000 years.
    “As brothers and sisters we knew instinctively that if we were going to stand in darkness, best we stand in a darkness we had made ourselves.” - Douglas Coupland

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