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Principles of Applied Epistemology (APPLIED EPISTEMOLOGY)
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Grant



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Surely Hitler’s biggest mistake was making it clear that in the brave new world he was creating the Slavs were going to be slaves. At least he admired the Jews in a funny old way! He managed to unite the whole of Russia against him
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Mick Harper
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This was Goebbels' view. He pleaded with Hitler to be nice (or at any rate not tremendously nasty) to all the Russian minorities who, the evidence suggests, would have taken the Nazis over the Commies any day of the week. But he lost out to Frank due (on my reading anyway) to the froideur between Adolf and Joseph over Magda (Goebbels). On the other hand Herr Hitler (to you, squire) didn't need a lot of convincing.

Would it have been enough? I don't think so. The (Great) Russians -- I speak technically not approvingly -- did win in a canter in the end. If only Hitler had been like Napoleon and created a true Grande Armée. But we are just coming to that...
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Mick Harper
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[Out of sequence]

The Russians deliberately attacked Germany’s allies, namely Romanians, Hungarians, and Italians, because they predicted that they would not have the strength of the Germans. The attack took place on November 23, 1942, encircling the Sixth Army.

This is a bit misleading. The Germans used their allies in quiet sectors and the Russians attacked the quiet sectors. As in any encirclement battle.

About 250,000 Romanian soldiers, poorly equipped and fed, grouped in two armies (3rd and 4th), flanked the German 6th Army to the north and south.

Like I said.

At the end of the battle that turned the tide of the war, 158,854 casualties were recorded by Romania (dead, wounded, missing), representing two-thirds of the troops. It was the greatest disaster in the history of the Romanians, and the Germans blamed the Romanian Army for the failure at Stalingrad.

More than misleading (of the Germans, not the author). If the Germans had used their own troops to man the quiet sectors who would they have left to fight the war? The Romanians, by the way, vied with Germany's other main ally, the Italians, as the worst soldiers of the war. The Hungarians were terrific soldiers when fighting for Austria-Hungary in 14-18 but not when fighting for Hungary in 41-44. Perhaps being the only land-locked country in history to have an admiral (Horthy) leading them had something to do with it.

The fourth of Germany's allies, the Finns, were the best soldiers of the war but were not involved in Stalingrad. Being a democracy, (oh yes, there were dictators and democracies on both sides) they chose their own wars. And they chose not to be of any help to Germany once they had got their land back in 1941 (lost to Russia in the Winter War 1939-40). Stalin uncharacteristically forgave them though they did have to give their land back, if you see what I mean.
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Mick Harper
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History is often a matter of identifying goodies and baddies and Hitler is a baddy.

Hitler, who believed himself to be a military genius...

So did Churchill and Stalin. The only leader who left everything to the military was Roosevelt and that meant decisions that were even worse.

...ordered the Sixth Army not to withdraw, even if it was to be completely surrounded. This boldness of Hitler (from the comfort of his own office, far from the front and reality) made the generals unable to take action depending on the context on the front.

The other leaders lived in tents in the middle of the fighting. But the Battle of Stalingrad is all about this one decision. And it was a completely normal decision. The Germans had just done it with complete success earlier that year, the British did it at Imphal, the Americans did at at Bastogne. It was the wrong decision, that is true, but ordering a withdrawal would have meant conceding defeat in that year's main offensive. That could only mean one thing for the eventual outcome of the war. Staying put meant it would be seen as a success with everything still to play for. What would you have done?
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