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Old December 16th, 2012, 11:18 AM   #131

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He declared war on the USA because they were already supplying his enemies with goods and weapons via Lend-Lease, and to make matters worse the USN was escorting the convoys over two thirds of the Atlantic as well.
Maybe, but much of this support was only to keep the UK alive. It was not the massive support that would be needed to attack Germany's "fortress Europe." Germany's high command had to know that, and also knew that they lacked the naval strength to cross the Atlantic and attack the US in any way that would hurt the US.

"Lending" some arms and equipment and escorting convoys is preferrable to doing that, and committing millions of men to attack the German army in North Africa and in Western Europe and to bomb the daylights out of Germany. Especially when Germany lacked the navy to conduct major amphibious operations...

It's partially why Germany ended up settling for the U-boat war in the Atlantic after the Battle of France. The German surface fleet had been badly mauled in the Battle of Norway and they lacked the real capacity to even try crossing ten to twenty miles of the English Channel without winning complete air support. When that failed, Germany couldn't land any forces in England.

So to assume that declaring war on the US, which was across a much larger body of water then the English Channel, when you have no weapon, navy, or experience with amphibious operations, because the US is supporting an enemy is a completely illogical assumption. Because in doing so, Hitler added to his enemies and had no way to strike at them in any way.
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Old December 16th, 2012, 12:37 PM   #132
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I am still skeptical that Hitler's speech to the Reichstag on December 11, 1941 was truly a declaration of war and was, as a result, a 'completely illogical assumption.' As the United States has proven over the last two decades, if you house the individuals who attack our country we'll invade you. If you fund them, we'll bomb you. If you don't turn them over to us, we'll kill you. We were doing the same thing for Britain during the Second World War. All Hitler was doing was acknowledging a condition of reality, not creating one.
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Old December 16th, 2012, 05:59 PM   #133

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If you house the individuals who attack our country we'll invade you. If you fund them, we'll bomb you. If you don't turn them over to us, we'll kill you...
But the one attack on US soil by "aircraft" after Pearl Habor was done by using a series of balloons carrying individual bombs, which did little to affect the US conduct of the war. Germany never bombed the US and never had the capacity to do. Not even the V2 could reach the continental US.

No Axis nation ever landed troops on the continental US. Japanese troops landed on Attu and Kiska, but they were of no real threat to the rest of the US, particularly after the Battle of Midway went America's way. Germany never even managed that.

And while Germans would kill Americans, with the exception of those participating in the Battle of the Atlantic, those that were killed were killed after FDR's declaration of war on Japan and then after Hitler's declaration of war on America... And they died on foreign soil attacking German positions.

It is the fact that Germany could not bomb or attack the US that made Hitler's actions illogical to me.
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Old December 17th, 2012, 03:30 AM   #134

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Did the Japanese really think that if they made a surprise attack on an American fleet, the Americans would do no more than make a diplomatic protest?

They thought we were like Imperial Russia. Smash the local fleet and we wouldn't have the will to fight. Strangely, it turned out to be a bad idea.
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Old December 17th, 2012, 03:32 AM   #135

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It is the fact that Germany could not bomb or attack the US that made Hitler's actions illogical to me.
Of course if the war had dragged on, Germany was looking to rectify that with jet bombers and nukes.
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Old December 17th, 2012, 10:13 AM   #136

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Of course if the war had dragged on, Germany was looking to rectify that with jet bombers and nukes.
The German atomic bomb project was years behind the Manhattan Project in the US. I've seen an article in a World War II Magazine that would indicate that Heisenberg, the German project's leader, had his math wrong and that had helped slow the German project down. It's an assertation also made by the book, "The Making of the Atomic Bomb." Had the war in Europe gone on longer, the first city to be hit by a nuclear weapon wouldn't be Japanese but German.

And, given that jets commonly consume more fuel in less time then piston engined aircraft, it's doubtful that generating a jet bomber would work. Not unless it was built to absolutely massive size to give the the ability to have obscenely massive fuel tanks... and in doing so would actually reduce the amount of weight in bombs such a bomber could carry. German bombers in WW2 were all tactical bombers that didn't carry large bombloads. This made them accurate and devastating in supporting the German army, but it made them completely ineffective in leveling cities or attacking the will of the people. It's partially why the blitz failed in 1940. Germany's two engined tactical bombers simply couldn't do enough damage to England's cities to have any effect... and studies after the war found that even with the right bombers in the right numbers, its effect on the people being bombed was limited...

The American Flying Fortress and Liberator and the British Lancaster all carried massive bomb loads, but for all the bombs they dropped, German industry suffered little real disruption and did little to break the will of the German people. Japan was the only Axis power to surrender based on air attacks, and that was only because of the new and terrifying aspects of the atomic bomb which Hiroheto feared. His generals and admirals wanted to fight on, even AFTER the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Germany didn't even have a large "heavy" bomber. The Fw 200 was a large four engined bomber with excellent range, but it only carried up to 4,360 lb of bombs. Compare that with the B-29 (which dropped the atomic bomb) which had a bombload of 20,000 lb, almost five times as much. And even the Fw 200 lacked the range to fly across the Atlantic and back on one fueling.

From some programs I've seen on the History channel that have speculated at a lot of Germany's "superplanes" at the end of the war, I'd imagine that much of their capabilities were overestimated by the engineers behind the project to win over support from Hitler.
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Old December 17th, 2012, 10:34 AM   #137
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Originally Posted by Sam-Nary View Post
The German atomic bomb project was years behind the Manhattan Project in the US. I've seen an article in a World War II Magazine that would indicate that Heisenberg, the German project's leader, had his math wrong and that had helped slow the German project down. It's an assertation also made by the book, "The Making of the Atomic Bomb." Had the war in Europe gone on longer, the first city to be hit by a nuclear weapon wouldn't be Japanese but German.

And, given that jets commonly consume more fuel in less time then piston engined aircraft, it's doubtful that generating a jet bomber would work. Not unless it was built to absolutely massive size to give the the ability to have obscenely massive fuel tanks... and in doing so would actually reduce the amount of weight in bombs such a bomber could carry. German bombers in WW2 were all tactical bombers that didn't carry large bombloads. This made them accurate and devastating in supporting the German army, but it made them completely ineffective in leveling cities or attacking the will of the people. It's partially why the blitz failed in 1940. Germany's two engined tactical bombers simply couldn't do enough damage to England's cities to have any effect... and studies after the war found that even with the right bombers in the right numbers, its effect on the people being bombed was limited...

The American Flying Fortress and Liberator and the British Lancaster all carried massive bomb loads, but for all the bombs they dropped, German industry suffered little real disruption and did little to break the will of the German people. Japan was the only Axis power to surrender based on air attacks, and that was only because of the new and terrifying aspects of the atomic bomb which Hiroheto feared. His generals and admirals wanted to fight on, even AFTER the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Germany didn't even have a large "heavy" bomber. The Fw 200 was a large four engined bomber with excellent range, but it only carried up to 4,360 lb of bombs. Compare that with the B-29 (which dropped the atomic bomb) which had a bombload of 20,000 lb, almost five times as much. And even the Fw 200 lacked the range to fly across the Atlantic and back on one fueling.

From some programs I've seen on the History channel that have speculated at a lot of Germany's "superplanes" at the end of the war, I'd imagine that much of their capabilities were overestimated by the engineers behind the project to win over support from Hitler.
Dumb Germany! It was so busy targeting military positions to consider committing war crimes against the Brits! Thank goodness 'we' didn't let pesky things like morality get our way.
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Old December 17th, 2012, 10:37 AM   #138
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It is the fact that Germany could not bomb or attack the US that made Hitler's actions illogical to me.
I'm still skeptical. From Hitler's point of view, the declaration was barely a declaration. It was more like acknowledging that the sky is blue, rocks are hard and Germany is (and had been for the last two years) at war with the U.S. it would been illogical not to acknowledge the situation regardless of Germany's force projection capabilities.
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Old December 17th, 2012, 10:42 AM   #139

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Wait why would a jet bomber not work again (looks over at the B-52).
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Old December 17th, 2012, 11:08 AM   #140

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I'm still skeptical. From Hitler's point of view, the declaration was barely a declaration. It was more like acknowledging that the sky is blue, rocks are hard and Germany is (and had been for the last two years) at war with the U.S. it would been illogical not to acknowledge the situation regardless of Germany's force projection capabilities.
But at the time America's real involvement was rather limited. We weren't sending entire squadrons to fly and attack German cities, we weren't commiting large numbers of men to attack the German army.

What America had been doing prior to Hitler's declaration was keeping Britain from being defeated utterly. And had Hitler not declared war, the Isolationists in America would have done everything possible to make sure FDR didn't do any more then what he'd already been doing.

And while I'm not sure that Hitler knew all the exact details, but I do believe he knew of FDR's struggles against the Isolationists. I believe this was some time before WW2... but FDR had sent a message to Germany demanding that Germany respect the borders of its neighbors. Hitler then openly mocked the message before the Reichstag by reading off the individual countries named in the message to laughter from the Reichstag members. In that, I think Hitler knew that FDR had to contend with a powerful lobby that wouldn't let him take any real action. Which to him made America a paper tiger.
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