WWII was fought across three continents over a span of 6 years ... the search for a single turning point is probably simplistic. Even after Kursk, Germany could still have fought the Soviets to an Armistice.
In fact, if the Germans won the Battle of the Atlantic, they could probably have done so, or even defeated the Soviets.
I would argue that if you look at a single factor that determined the outcome of WWII, it was the sheer industrial power of the USA. The sheer quantity of material produced made the major difference ... there was no theatre of the war where the United States did not make a decisive contribution ... maybe not the only decisive contribution, but a massive one nonetheless.
A U boat commander in the N Atlantic said pretty much the same thing. They sank a freighter and picked up a few survivors to learn, that, the cargo was turkeys for Thanksgiving for the American troops in Britain. That was the day it dawned on him that the war was lost.
hitlers failure to take moscow in 1941 was, imo, the turing point. a russian spy operating in japan - richard sorge - sent word to moscow that the japanese would not invade russia, freed up several million soviet troops, some of which were used for the defence of moscow. this is the single most important piece of espionage - maybe ever - and i think commenced the turning point of the war
I believe the view on that in Germany would be Stalingrad. Of course the decision for Barbarossa was mad to begin with (well of course the whole thing was mad to begin with but we're talking military history).
I remember from my grandparents telling me that Stalingrad was what swung the opinions and believes amongst the German people. After Stalingrad that sense of being invincible was gone and people felt this is going horribly wrong. That and the strategical blunder that was Barbarossa as a whole. They got the whole timeline wrong, things didn't progress as quickly as planned and ran into the winter and the support lines that couldnt make use of the Russian railway lines collapsed first in the Russian mud then in the freezing cold of the Russian winter. Troops were left in the Russian winter with summer gear and undersupplied as a whole. Also the German equipment was too overengineered to work reliably in the harsh conditions. My grandpa told me they had to pour petrol over the planes engines and set them on fire to start them because of the cold. I don't know how true that is cos it sounds mad but that's more or less the just of what I learned from my grandparents. What should have been over before winter 41 wasn't over and turned into a second year which saw Stalingrad as the ultimate turning point.
Last edited by Boskowski; 17th December 2011 at 04:30 AM.
Dunkirk? Dunkirk? Are you mad? They allied soldiers only escaped there because Hitler let them.
Battle of Britain? Not a chance. Even at that stage the germans were devoting 70% plus of all of thier economic and military resources to the build up for Barbarossa. Hitler ultimatly wasnt interested in the conquest of britain- even though it came back to bite him in the ass.
The fact of the matter is that the war was fought and decided in IN the USSR. Just look at the facts - 3 in every 4 germans casulties were caused on the Eastern front. The Red army destroyed more German armies than all the aliies combined, and did it at a a mssive cost - something around 26 million dead. If there was any real turning point, it was at Kursk in july 1943. The Germans were led into the greatest trap in history and it smashed there offensive ability. Hitler got his battle of annihilation-just not the way he wanted it.
Im not critiscing the aliied effort, but neither will i overstate it. A lot of Western historians argue that the USSR could hav one the war alone - it would have just taken longer and been at even greater cost. The Bulgarian ambassador to the USSR perhaps got it right when he told Stalin that "even if you have to retreat to the Urals, you will win in the end"
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