German military tactics and WWII

Bryan A. Alexander bnalexan at
Sat Jul 1 22:35:57 MDT 1995

One reason is the Yugoslav coup.  Hitler was set to launch the assault on
the USSR in April '41.  A cluster of officers in Belgrade overthrew the
Nazi-friendly monarch in an extremely desperate act.  Hitler flew into a
rage and diverted the wehrmacht away from the Soviet border and into the
now-hostile west Balkans.  Belgrade in particular suffered brutal air
attacks.  The Yugoslav army melted away, fading into guerrilla war mode
(mostly under Mikhailovic at this time).  By the time the Germans could
secure their new conquest and return to invading the East, it was June.
We all know how close the Nazis got to Moscow before the snows hit...

Bryan Alexander
Department of English
University of Michigan

On Sat, 1 Jul 1995 glevy at wrote:

> The German General Staff had a "coherent plan" as you suggest for the
> start of the War.  A question though:  when Hitler's forces were winning
> the war to the West why did he pick *that* time to open a war to the East
> against the USSR?  Surely the German military staff must have realized
> that it would be easier to first defeat their military enemies to the
> West such as the U.K. before taking on the USSR.  Didn't they know that
> their chances of success in that war would be helped if they won the
> first war first?  The only reasonable conclusion that I can come to is
> that Hitler and the Nazis decided for political and ideological reasons
> to attack the USSR when they did and that this action was against the
> best advice of the German High Command.  However, it is well known that
> many people, including Generals, were unwilling to express a contrary
> opinion to Hitler after he had made up his mind.  Does anyone have any
> more information in answer to the above questions?
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