2022-11-20 翻译熊 5865

How come Nazi Germany didn’t learn from Napoleon’s blunder of trying to invade Russia?


Alexander Lovatt
Hitler had the same strategic problem as Napoleon. If he was going to dominate Europe he needed to neutralise Russia. The problem is that neither man appreciated the immensity of Russia and the severity of its climate. Neither had sufficient resources to achieve their aim.


Ronald Isaacs
Primarily it's Hitler's fault. He was suffering from the “victory disease” of overconfidence. He knew of Stalins murderous purges of the Red Army officer corps and he saw the difficulty they had with little Finland. From that he figured it would be easy.
Later he came about as close to an apology as a megalomaniac dictator can. He said if he would have known the Soviet unx had 20,000 plus operational tanks he would not have invaded. Another fact he didn't mention was he underestimated the sheer size of the Red Army. I've read something like 300+ Red Army divisions were identified by 1943, that's a full 100 divisions more than what the OKW estimated. Like being off by an entire moderately strong countries Army!!!


John Dewar Gleissner
Hitler was blinded by ideological and racial hatred of Jews and Bolsheviks, thought the Soviet unx would collapse due to its inherent weaknesses, and believed he was a man of destiny whose will was paramount.
Hitler’s blitzkrieg European conquests before June 22, 1941 went rapidly, much faster than most of his generals thought possible, and never degenerated into a war of attrition. Because Hitler successfully overcame his top generals’ pre-invasion obxtions, he received or took much of the credit for those early successes, swelling his confidence beyond reason.
Hitler did not fully realize his summer blitzkrieg warfare would be limited by the immense terrain, poor roads, dust, wet and winter weather, the huge population of the Soviet unx and his attempt to invade, without substantial reserves, with the longest warfront in history, which got longer the farther the Germans drove into Russia.


Hitler thought his invasion was different from Napoleon’s because Hitler (a) had air power and internal combustion engines in his modern planes, vehicles and tanks, (b) thought the war on the Eastern Front would be over by winter, (c) minimized the importance and weariness of the bulk of his army that marched and had horses carry equipment, (d) did not account for the tanks getting so far ahead of the marchers, (e) underestimated how hard the Red Army would fight, and (f) did not think that Stalin would have time to draft, train and equip soldiers from the Soviet manpower reserves of 14,000,000 available warriors.
Hitler never agreed with his top generals as to the primary obxtive. His generals wanted to drive on Moscow; Hitler made the German Army spread out along the entire front.

1. 拥有空中力量和现代飞机、车辆和坦克;2. 认为东线战争将在冬天结;3. 大军行军由马匹来运输装备,最大限度地减少了他的大军的负担。4. 没有考虑到坦克跑在大部队前面这么远;5. 低估了红军的战斗强度;6. 认为斯大林没有时间从苏联1400万可用的战士储备中征召、训练和装备士兵。

Michael Beraka
This is an underrated question, and shows you exactly the difference between intelligence and cleverness.
The ‘moralistic’ theology of the West would have the world believe that a man like Hitler—a nihilist who truly believed—was impossible, a contradiction in terms. Nobody that wanton could be bright—mafioso are generally treated abusively in fiction (The Godfather and the Sopranos are the exceptions that prove the rule). And indeed, the idea that only an idiot would be a ‘nihilist’ was shared by both the pre and post Christian Greek inheritance of Europe. Hitler was not a happy man, and yet many of us would chose absolute power over happiness. In fact, it wouldn’t even be a question; most people would sell out whatever beliefs they convince themselves they hold in all of two seconds if they ever came anywhere near the corridors of real power—exactly this point is why the protagonist of House of Cards breaks the normally taboo rule of crossing the “4th wall”: talking to the audience. They are pulling for him, even though he’s proud to be the bad guy, because they get to be insiders, as long as he continues his rise.

希特勒不是一个幸福的人,然而我们中的许多人会选择绝对的权力而不是幸福。事实上,这甚至都不是一个问题。大多数人一旦接近真正权力的走廊,就会在两秒钟内出卖自己的信念。这就是为什么《纸牌屋》的主角打破了通常禁忌的规则,越过“第四堵墙”: 与观众交谈。他们推举他,尽管他以做坏人为荣,因为只要他继续攀升,他们就能成为圈内人士。

But I digress. Hitler was obsessed with Napoleon’s failure in Russia. He ultimately came to believe that he made an idol of the capital ; and that the “Oriental” Russians did not have this pride and dignity attachment to the land; but rather a Mongol-esque austerity and pragmatism. Hitler was the completion of the Protestantism in European political and spiritual life that outlasted Christian Faith—above all, he was a puritanical opponent of idolatry. And like Kevin Spacey’s character, mocking the politicians and journalists clamoring for a presidential “pen” from a famous bill signing, he has contempt for people who think power exists in trinkets. All there is is power, and power can’t be hoarded.


This is all well and good middlebrow Nietzscheanism—but the whole point of studying philosophy, of knowing enough about theology to actually understand the problem with idolatry, is to avoid making theorems out of incidents. Hitler wanted the oil fields in the Caucasus; but the situation and the world were immeasurably different from Napoleon’s time. Aside from squandering the strongest weapon the Nazis had, the aura of invincibility, inevitability, the futility of resistance (exactly the same one shared by Napoleon), by routing his own advance; Hitler did not factor in the importance of communications in the 20th century, of which Moscow was of course the center.


Ultimately, he did the exact same thing as Napoleon. The difference in his campaign was cosmetic, incidental; he didn’t *really* have clear obxtives; he bet the ranch on the lightning swiftness of the campaign, and then obstructed exactly this for a hazy goal. He never *really appraised things soberly; his delusions were too intertwined with the source of his (very veritable) political and strategic strength. People that are obsessed with being clever usually end up looking foolish.


Tomaž Vargazon
Napoleon’s blunder of trying to invade Russia was quite irrelevant.
They were basing their plans on a more recent result of an invasion of Russia.
Germany, with their Austrian allies, utterly defeated Russia in the previous war. Russia was forced to make huge territorial concessions, including most of Ukraine, Poland and the Baltics. Russia was defeated and eviscerated, it could not recover from the loss in a generation or more.
It was only the defeat of Germany at the hands of the Entente that allowed Russia to recover the most critical of the lost territories. Germany simply assumed they would be able to do again what they were already able to do when their generals and field marshalls were still lieutenants and captains.

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It wasn’t an unreasonable assumption at all. The lines of advance in WW2 went above and beyond the limits of Brest-Litovsk, the only difference was that Communist Russia under Stalin fought like they had nothing to lose, in no small part because they didn’t. In WW1 they fought for an empire that didn’t care about them, the alternative was to live in a different empire that also didn’t care about them. In WW2 the option was an empire that didn’t care about them and death. That was the key motor of incessant Soviet resistance that enabled the state to survive the war.
Napoleon didn’t even factor into it. Not only that but the way Napoleon was defeated - through starvation, exposure and exhaustion - was entirely avoided. When winter came the Wehrmacht thrived, the Red Army was most successful during the rainy season, when long distance resupply and air operations were difficult if not outright impossible.
They didn’t learn from Napoleon, because Napoleon had little to teach them.


Joe Goldberg
The Germans correctly attributed Napoleon’s failure in Russia to be due to impossible logistics in the world of 1800.
The German INCORRECTLY thought that the superior logistical support allowed by railroads, trucks, and aircraft would solve Napoleon’s problem in Russia. They were right as to modern logistical support in Western Europe but the German’s were wrong as to modern logistical support in the USSR which STILL looked a lot like when Napoleon invaded.


Kaspar Pena
It’s odd because the Germans didn’t actually do that well logistically. Their army relied far too much on horsepower and the Russian railroad gauges were different than the German ones, so the Nazis had basically construct new rail lines rather than seamlessly switching over.

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Sergey Bobyk
Actually ww1 Russian Imperial army hold the ground a lot better then Red Army in WW2. Germans and Austrians never get in too deep well into 1917. Russians holded. So called victory came as a direct result of Revolution when Army simply went home in millions taking with them weapons. Lenin as well in his first edicts demobilised everyone.
Genius. Country at war and he sending last loyal men home. Germans woken up and found empty trenches.
In 1918 Germans took more than in all 4 previous years althogether. Not because of own process but because there simply was no any opposition. They could move in as deep as their hearts wished and only logistics and necessary manpower was a constraints.


Andreas König
That’s pretty much entirely wrong.
The Russian Imperial Army dissolved thanks to the first Russian Revolution in 1917, the one in February which forced the Tsar to abdicate and which established a Provisional Republic… not because of the Red Revolution in October or because they “send them home”. The Kerensky Offensive in July 1917 was the final nail in the coffin for the Russian Army, whatever was left retreated 240km behind the front → “The only limit to the German advance was the lack of the logistical means to occupy more territory”.
Also, “genius” move by the Tsar to “just” let his people starve and feed them with bullets when they cry for bread… perhaps domestic policies become far more important in times of war, unless you love a good Revolution or two.
Furthermore your comparison is really skewed.

沙俄军队的解散要感谢1917年的第一次俄国革命,这场革命发生在2月,迫使沙皇退位,并建立了临时共和国,不是因为10月的红色革命,也不是因为他们(布尔什维克人)“送他们回家”。 1917年7月的克伦斯基攻势是俄军的最后一颗钉在棺材上的钉子,不管剩下什么,都撤退到前线后方240公里,导致德军前进并占领领地的唯一限制是缺乏后勤。
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Furthermore your comparison is really skewed.
The Russian Empire was far larger than the Soviet unx and the Russians had the element of surprise, they mobilized first and invaded German territory in East Prussia for instance… The German Army had to travel a far larger distance, first defending their own territory, then invading Russian-Poland.
Meanwhile WW2 Soviet Russia was more or less taken by surprise, their army in the middle of reconstruction and Poland was already divided… Of course Germany has the initiative and takes more land in WW2….
You also fail to take into account that during WW1, the Central Powers were fighting everywhere at the same time… Nazi Germany had the luxury to focus on one enemy at a time, atleast until they invaded Soviet Russia.


Sergey Bobyk
Revolution in Feb 1917 destroyed Army. Chain of command was broken , any subordination or discipline gone overnight, soldiers habitually shot their officers with impunity and desert home. Soldiers demanded “full democracy” or vote about who should command, should they gone to attack or not or should they obey whatsoever any orders. Any punishmens or even verbal orders was banned. Human rights idiocy in fighting Army !!! Kerensky was actually the root of it. He simply did not trusted old army and especially officers corp. Correctly, as mutiny of August shown. Lenin with his gang of agitators helped spreading rumours of land grabs of latifundias for free at home. For own goals of course. To organise armed coup Army had to be destroyed first at any cost or Bolsheviks would be hang by nightfall in October.


That's why Germany had some success. Opposing Army melted home. And in November 1917 Lenin dissolved last remains. Front was literally open.
Personally I can take performance of Russian Army as from August1914-Feb1917 separately. After, there was no Russia as unified state and no Army. But not because of German strength.
But in 4 years Germany failed to move much past Poland and Western Ukraine (colonies) and war never reached Metropolia. Russians hold.


Vladimir Smirnov
“Of course you make the most gains when the enemy was beaten to the point of Revolution, mass desertion and dissolvement of the Army…”
Russian Army started decaying since the First Russian Revolution of 1905. Tsar Nicolas saw entering the war in 1914 as an option out of the coming internal revolt, but he was gravely mistaken. Due to the powerful strife for change in Russia, the Russian Empire would have transformed into something new even without the war of 1914–1918. Germany just happened to rip the benefit of Russia’s internal disarray. And yes, Lenin issued the “Decree of Peace” in November 1917 in response to the masses’ request to abandon the useless war, so naturally Germans took full advantage of the absence of their opponent in the trenches.

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Then in March 2018 the Bolsheviks found themselves in dire necessity to sign a truce in Brest with Germans who advanced deep into the Russian territory.
The example of WW1 played a dirty joke with Germans at the time of WW2. They thought WW2 would be as easy for them as WW1: Russia would be in disarray again, etc. Though this time Russia was not, and the result is well known: WW2 ended when Russian tanks rolled into Berlin.
Germans needed to be better students of history, for Napoleon was their primary teacher. And remains ad infinitum.