Skip to comments.World War II + 70 Years Forum Continuing Discussion Thread
Posted on 10/31/2010 8:21:03 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
Discussions that extend beyond the day at hand.
Other cool stuff that hasnt occurred to Homer yet
Not intended to:
Replace the discussion on the daily threads.
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He saved Switzerland. He saved Gibraltar. He saved the Pope.
How many of the U.S. WWII war leaders have some connection to central Texas?
Lol. I’m pretty sure. But then again, when I think of Henry Fonda I see the junior navy man in Yours, Mine, and Ours.
I will try to get my Worst list up by Thursday at the latest. As usual, I’m long winded.
Very good question!
And what does that have to do with being a “best flag officer” of Germany?
Yes...that was he. There are some interesting backstories on that one...including learning Russian while a POW in WWI....
Wainwright makes my list based more on character and commitment to his men. These are traits that often are ignored when measuring a leader. It is a shame that he did not get to perform in a better set of circumstances that may have showcased his command ability, but at the same time he also had the character to not attack the man (MacArthur) who put him in that situation and even tried to tear him down when he came up for his Medal of Honor citation. He even went so far to forgive MacArthur and remained friends with him after the fact.
His leadership did not stop once he was captured though and though I didn’t write much on this it was on my mind when putting him on this list. Throughout his imprisonment by the Japanese he was regarded very highly by the men who naturally fell under his command in the Prisoner of War camps. In these camps he fell under the same treatment as the other men, but still put himself at risk to confer with his Japanese captors (as the senior officer) to try and get improved conditions for his men.
I see your point on Guderian, and I agree that he did get good press. But I am impressed with how he understood the logistical needs of running these highly mobile forces and how he improvised to work around some of these short comings despite the fact. Even with all his efforts he still had nightmarish issues keeping his forces in supply, especially fuel.
TR along with the likes of Allen were a different sort of general. They really were in the dirt types that made them unpopular with Bradley (possibly to their detriment). He would not been a successful Army commander and his fatal heart attack after Normandy ultimately cut him short before he got the chance, but on the division level he was excellent in my opinion. It really boils down to rolls again I guess. Some of these leaders just were in the right position for their skill set that moves them up on my list. I suppose if Fredendall had been left to training troops, which he was excellent at, and not put in command of sending them to fight he would not have made my worst list for that matter too.
There are others that I really would have liked to add, but you can see how long this gets anyways. Neither of us list Devers or Patch. I almost put Simpson in instead of Wainwright in all honesty. Then there are those like Fletcher, Spruance, and Turner who would rank, and Halsey who would probably make both lists. And as for the Germans, I think Moltke’s perfection of establishing general staff laid the ground work for some very effective generals for generations to come. It is almost easier to list the ones who were not top commanders than to pick a few as the best of the best.
Just wait until I get my worst list up. I have a couple on there that I’m sure are going to ruffle some feathers, one of them I’m betting you can guess.
He accomplished many of his objectives while overcoming great adversity.
I have added an index by authors, with their locations and publication dates, to the bottom of my profile. It is taking quite a while so I decided to post it before it is complete. The missing part goes from February 1939 through June 1940. I know - that is most of the war period. Even with that gap, though, it is interesting to see how the thrust of the reporting evolves over time. Last summer, for example, you couldn't swing a cat in London without hitting a Times reporter. At this point there are only two correspondents reporting regularly from Asia - Hugh Byas and Hallett Abend. Do you suppose that will change over the next year or so? Look at the output of Hanson Baldwin. The guy is a machine.
You get the idea. Scroll through it and see what you think. But keep in mind the index only includes articles posted by yours truly, so it is probably misleading in some respects.
For the time being I will continue to work on the index on a Word document and update the one on my profile when I complete another month - either a new one or one in the missing period. I hope it is useful and provides additional enjoyment for the class.
With the Leningrad front stablilized he as called back to Moscow to lead the defense and winter counter offense that almost destroyed the German army.
Right-o. Ike and Bradley dissed him because he wouldn’t follow orders, or at least bitched about them, worked around them, undermined them, etc, and didn’t give a hoot in hell about allies.
Interesting that Stalin and Hitler had such respect. They would probably have had him shot. Still, Patton’s success was largely do to his “blitzkrieg” tactics, so he might have been more congenial with the Prussians in the Wehrmacht.
But what about that photo of Robert Mitchum -- Pug Henry claiming to be some officer named "Wainwright"?
More like Errol Flynn, don’t you think, old chap?
Ugh! Don't remind me of the worst casting job in television history. Mitchum and Polly Bergen were at least twenty years too old to work as Pug and Rhoda.
It might be interestign to review the list of US generalofficers who were relieved of their commands in the early days of WW II, starting with Kasserine Pass.
You might find some earlier than that. The early days around Guadalcanal was not the U.S. Navy's finest hour. For individual ship C.O.'s. I don't know about admirals.
He was replaced in mid-October, 1942 by Vice Admiral William "Bull" Halsey, and spent the rest of the war in minor commands.
LLoyd Fredenhall. Probably as despised by his subordinates as by thye enemy. Was having combat engineers blast out an HQ some 65 miles behind the lines when Kasserine broke. Had NO concept of armored warfare. Wasn’t sacked. Just reassigned to a stateside command.
Kasserine was one of the reasons Ike didn’t make my list. A critical sector in his command [Ike was ALWAYS concerned with being the on the ground commander], he never visited the area before the attack, and never appreciated the danger it [and Fredenhall] posed. He did the same thing with the Ardennes in ‘44.
Interesting factoid re Ike: Marshall wanted to be SACEUR, but FDR wanted him right by his side, wouldn’t let him go, that’s why Ike got the job..
On 16 July 1945, in the barren desert of Southern New Mexico called the Jornada del Muerto the world was changed forever. At 5:29 in the morning the work of physicists, chemists, and engineers paid a dividend of unparalleled proportion when the full force of the atom was released in the first ever detonation of an atomic bomb. The Making of the Atomic Bomb is an examination of the events leading up to this breakthrough as well as a look at the new world after the creation of this weapon and its use in combat over Japan.
Richard Rhodes does an excellent job in capturing the effort that went into the creation of the first atomic weapons. He begins his examination with a look at the previous generation of weapons that were the main terror in the beginning of the 20th century. The use of gas as well as the first attempts at strategic bombing during the First World War are described in detail by Rhodes in order to establish the increasing destructiveness of warfare over the last 100 years. From there he enters the developments in physics that led to the belief that an even more devastating weapon was possible. He examines some of the scientists thoughts on pursuing such a weapon and the varying opinions on why it should or should not be done. Niels Bohr felt that a weapon of such destruction would make war too terrible to be a consideration much in the same mold that Alfred Nobel thought when he invented TNT. Leo Szilard believed that if the western democracies did not pursue the new weapon that the Germans would become the only nation possessing it, giving Hitler an irresistible upper hand in Europe and the world. Edward Teller believed not only in beating the Germans to the bomb, but that research must continue to stand against what he believed was the next greatest threat, the Soviets. Whatever their motivations, men from all over the world found their way to the United States and began a project of mass proportion to develop this new weapon. Rhodes account of this project covers in great detail many of the difficulties that these men were faced with in making the bomb. These problems included the political issues, such as the efforts in getting the U.S. government to realize the urgency of this project, to the difficulties of separating the materials needed to actually making the working weapon. He also captures the misgivings of some of those involved in the development of such a destructive device.
This book is very well researched. Rhodes cites sources from all over the world and along with the use of official histories and declassified documentation; he also uses direct interviews with some of the surviving members of the project to help add the degree of detail needed for such a comprehensive work. Though sources are not directly annotated in the text, the notes at the end of the book make it very clear to the reader where the details related in the text have come from. He presents a very detailed account of the events leading to the atomic bomb, but presents it in such a fashion that it is very easy to read and understand. It does not require a degree in physics in understand the technical details that are presented as they are given in simple language with ample explanation. The one failing of this book lies in a somewhat one sided emphasis on the moral issues surrounding the bomb. While it goes without saying that the physical and psychological effects of the use of atomic weapons are a major issue when examining its history, this book does not take much of a look at some of the other consequences had this development not occurred. For example, Rhodes dedicates sixteen pages on just the reactions of individuals to the horrors they saw on the ground after the dropping of Little Boy on Hiroshima. At the same time spends only one paragraph on the estimated casualties that could have occurred had Operation OLYMPIC, the planned invasion of Japans southernmost main island of Kyushu, taken place. In fact this brief mention fails to cover the fact that OLYMPIC was only part of an entire plan for the invasion of Japan proper, named operation DOWNFALL, and that the estimated number of Japanese civilians that would be killed would likely have been in the millions. A more extensive look at the other side of the issue would give the reader a better understanding as to why the decision to use the weapon was made and give them the information to better form their own opinion on the moral right and wrong of the event.
Overall this book is probably the most comprehensive single work on the development of the atomic bomb and anyone how is interested in learning of this piece of history would be remiss if they did not read this book.