OPERATION BARBAROSSA: June 22 Marks 73rd Anniversary of Germany's Attack on U.S.S.R. Could it Have Been Avoided? Two Opposing Views

By David M. Kinchen
June 22 marks the 73rd anniversary of Operation Barbarossa, the Nazi Germany invasion of its then ally, the Soviet Union. It was a major mistake, in my opinion, and I think Germany would have won the war in Europe. Especially if it had avoided declaring war on the U.S. after Pearl Harbor -- the second major mistake Germany made in 1941.  

 

The U.S., in my opinion, would have stayed out of the European war, which was unpopular with the nation. The U.S. would have concentrated on defeating the empire of Japan.  The America First movement, Charles A. Lindbergh and former Ambassador to the Court of St. James (the U.K.) Joseph Kennedy were among the many opponents of U.S. involvement in a European war. Kennedy, of course, was the father of Joseph, John, Robert and Teddy Kennedy.  

 

Noted WWII historian Ken Weiler, whose books I've reviewed and enjoyed, disagrees with my assessment. He's currently writing a book tentatively titled "A Winnable War," scheduled for 2015 publication, which presents essays on how Germany could have defeated the USSR. Weiler's views, communicated by email to me today, are printed below.  

 

My view is that with Russia as a partner -- an uneasy ally, but at least not an adversary -- Germany could have obtained all the oil it needed, supplementing oil from Romania, a German ally. With devastated Poland as a buffer, both the Russians and Germans might have been satisfied. Germany occupied the western half of Poland, while Russia occupied the eastern half. German also obtained necessary raw materials, including high grade iron ore,  from neutral Sweden.
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Ken Weiler:   "It's my opinion that Germany and the U.S.S.R. would have come to blows one way or another.  Consider his [Adolf Hitler's] writings in Mein Kampf and his obsession with Lebensraum and the destruction of the home of global communism and its Jewish management almost makes a conflict between the two almost a given. 

 

  "The only unknowns -- and there are two -- is when the conflict would commence and who would attack first.  Consider this:  If Stalin attacked Germany, Germany could plead her case to the world of being a victim and could morally call upon those nations to assist her in fighting off the Godless Communist invader.     "Stalin's purges or the Yezhovshchina did seriously cripple the military command structure and inflicted such a state of indecision amongst the officer corps that when Germany attacked, few were willing to incur the wrath of Stalin and the NKVD by issuing on-site orders, but instead waited from instructions from the center (Moscow), many which never came, and when they did were hopelessly out of date to address the fast moving situation on the battlefield.

 

  "Furthermore Germany needed to attack the U.S.S.R.  It needed its vast natural resources that would avoid a recurrence of the Great War's naval and economic blockade that starved Germany out of the war.  Having the vast larder of the Soviet Union would make Germany truly economically and militarily independent (autarky) and able to fight a one-front war against England and later the U.S.  Now that would have been an interesting historical outcome."  

 

  About Ken Weiler   Ken Weiler, a former Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army with the Department of Engineering and Military Science at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia was also the Legislative liaison NCOIC with the Army's SAFEGUARD anti-ballistic missile program at the Department of Defense at Arlington, Virginia. He has written several learned articles on historical preservation and identification, is a member of the Hanover Historical Society (PA) as well as Co-Chairman of its Museum Committee. He is also a Trustee of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Society in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania as well as a volunteer curator at the Eisenhower National Historic Site, also in Gettysburg. He holds degrees from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. He currently resides with his wife in Hanover, Pennsylvania.

 

For David M. Kinchen's Oct. 3, 2013 review of Weiler's "The European Theater Anthology of World War II   http://www.huntingtonnews.net/73677  
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