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PostCould WWII Have Been Averted? (Tor Guimaraes, USA, 02/04/13 2:59 pm)
I've enjoyed reading this Forum's exchanges about WWII. I agree with Cameron Sawyer's views (4 February) questioning the widespread belief that "WWII would never have happened, if only the West had had the backbone to stand up to Hitler early enough, and had not dithered over the Ruhrland and then Czechoslovakia." Cameron also astutely recognized that "reality was not as simple as in the story crafted by Winston Churchill, in his self-aggrandizing memoirs, the story that one must stand up to bullies and have guts and be fearless, lest one be bullied forever and still not avoid a fight."
There is one conjecture that I have never read anywhere but that I find quite interesting: Contrary to Churchill's laments about not confronting Hitler earlier and calling his bluff, I often wonder what have happened later if the UK and France had confronted him earlier, forcing him to back down while Germany was still "half-cocked." Perhaps then the world would have had to face a much better prepared Germany, with V3 weapons, and possibly even with nuclear capability. I am also left with another conclusion that for all his great fame for evil genius, Hitler was a lousy strategist, who made too many stupid assumptions about his potential and actual foes rather than listening to his experts and doing his homework more carefully.
JE comments: Was Hitler a bad strategist? Yes. However, Tor Guimaraes brings up a huge "what if": if Hitler had been forced to back down, say, in 1937, but had remained in power, how prepared militarily would the Reich have been by 1945? 1950?
I know we're not supposed to do them, but WWII hypotheticals are irresistible.