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We know that the allies won the war but was this always on the cards This book explores the underlying themes of the war in terms of production, leadership, morale, morals and the like It argues that whilst the outcome was often in question during the dark days of 1940 and 1941, ultimately the sheer weight of the allies economies would prevail That is not to say that the war was not a challenge, it was difficult to meld the efforts of the three principal allies sorry France , each with its own objectives and political culture, across disparate theatres of war.The sheer might of US industry and Russian manpower meant that the war was efectively lost when the Wehrmacht failed to take Moscow in 41 This was not helped by the patent idiocy of Hitler declaring war on the US to show solidarity with a feeble Japanese ally, nor by his micromanagement of the war effort An interesting read about the logistics of war rather than a direct narrative of the battlefield War for accountants perhaps Enjoyable. It is amazing that Overy can write one medium sized book that makes one rethink WWII This is a high level strategic look at the war, but still concrete and specific sometimes tactical details had strategic consequences Here is a sampling of Overy s arguments.Everyone knows that the Allies had the advantage in industrial capability, but Overy points out that that was only one factor among many Germany actually had the industrial advantage throughout 1941 but did not capitalize on it Paradoxically, the Germans were handicapped because industry was subordinated to the Army Officers kept demanding new designs with the latest updates, resulting in small production runs and constant logistics and maintenance problems No new German aircraft design during the war was a strategic success In contrast, the Russian and American industrial organizers made decent designs in the huge quantities required to win the war.The greatest miracle of the war was the Russian evacuation of their heavy industry ahead of the German invasion Without that, they could not have carried on the war It was Bolshevism that gave them the ability the Communist government had a couple decades of experience controlling heavy industry from Moscow, so they knew what had to be done And Stalin s personality cult gave Russia the necessary unity of purpose.The German and Japanese warrior ethos actually worked against them They sent all their efficient staff officers to the front instead of using them as staffers The Allies valued and used good staff officers The Americans could make top commanders out of soldiers who had never seen combat Marshall and Eisenhower.The Anglo American bombing campaign was one of the key factors in winning the war It drew the Luftwaffe into a war of attrition they could not win, thus ensuring that the lodgement in Normandy could be defended.The war was mostly against Germany 85% of the American effort was expended in Europe, and only 15% in the Pacific The industrial bases of Italy and Japan were very limited compared to Germany or the Allies, of course And Hitler was particularly hated, even before the war, even though it was Japan and Italy who had actually embarked on wars of conquest, and even though the full murderousness of Naziism was not yet known The peculiar barbarity and odiousness of his doctrines made a difference. Excellent book Not only does it shatter quite a few myths, it also answer the key question that is often regarded as obvious why the allies won, really Each chapter is very informative and interesting and the book as a whole, I think, is a must as a gateway to the second world war. Just as the title indicates, this is a thorough examination of how WWII, the outcome of which was decidedly uncertain before late 1943 or so, ended the way it did Overy is a masterful and convincing historian, who over the course of 330 pages lays out a cogent argument based on everything from economy and materiel production to the warped philosophy of the Axis powers It s impossible to distill the mass of fascinating information into a paragraph, but there are a few main points that especially ring true.The first is, of course, the industrial production of the USA and USSR, unmatched by any of the Axis powers Overy argues that America s capitalist society and the Soviet centralized dictatorship where ideally suited to maximize their vast resources, while Hitler s less focused, competitive dictatorship failed to make the most of Germany s limited resources A telling example is when Hitler s armies took Soviet oil fields, but then had no engineers to make the oil available to Germany, so it made no change in their production Overy further argues that the Allied powers made simple, reliable, mass produced weapons, and kept a healthy ratio of mechanics on hand The opposite was true of the Germany industrial complex, which was fixated on ever newer technologies, so obsolescence and difficulty of repair became issues as the war progressed Overy concludes that even Germany s much vaunted missile program, which was inarguably years ahead of anything the Allies had, was a lost cause for these reasons impressive, yes, but not a war winner.The second main theme is the rapid learning curve of the allied powers, who learned from their many early defeats and focused intently on producing only what was needed to win The Germans and Japanese, by contrast, had a very slow learning curve, and coasted on early victories, believing that their militaristic will to power philosophy made victory a foregone conclusion This learning curve extended to every facet of the war improvements in bombing, defense, codes, and so on ensured the Allies early losses were not often repeated.The final main theme that run through the whole book, though it s not made as explicit as the others, is the mindset of the various leaders Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin had many philosophical and strategical differences, but were able to work in lock step for the single goal of destroying Nazism utterly Hitler had no such restraint, unable to maintain even the farce of an alliance with Stalin until the war in the west had been concluded Stalin, for all his faults, promoted reliable men, wanted to hear the unvarnished truth about how the war was progressing, and allowed himself to be overruled when it came to important strategic decisions Hitler, famously, removed officers who told him bad news and insisted on micro managing the war Perhaps the best example of how much this hurt Germany was Hitler s insistence on treating the Normandy landings lightly, thinking they were only a ruse, until it was far too late In all, this is an inexhaustibly fascinating book, one sure to promote argument among WWII buffs for its calm, reasoned analysis and sometimes unexpected conclusions. An excellent book, and one that makes you think Virtually every paragraph Overy writes could be expanded into an essay of its own, or indeed a whole other book Overy s synthesis of the voluminous archive material is simply masterful, and he cuts through the fog of war, and the conflicting analysis of the war, with lucid prose and convincing arguments While I m no expert, I ve read a lot about WWII, and I find much of his argument persuasive If you re looking for a book explaining why the Allies won not how, but why you can t go wrong here.I reviewed this book on my blog back in December, 2007 Read here Conferma e Negazione di una teoria Basta avere un PIL pi forte del nemico per vincere la Guerra Aiuta, vero, ma non sufficiente, vedi Vietnam o Afganistan, se non supportato da una volont morale di combattere e, in secondo luogo, da una catena di comando eccellente Paradossalmente, per la vulgata comune questo fu ottenuto dalle democreazie occidentali e dai Russi ma non dai tedeschi il cui caporale boemo come lo definiva Hindemburg aveva il vizio di entrare troppo nei dettagli tecnici che non conoscevaMi ha colpito un patragrafo i tedeschi si stavano gi preparando alla guerra degli anni 50 missili, Jet etc peccato che nel frattempo non costruivano le armi per il conflitto che stavano combattendo.Un appunto qualche tabella in pi avrebbe fatto comodo. A decent succinct view of why the Allies defeated Nazi Germany and Japan Covers everything from the economics of mass production of weapons to the morality of the Allies reasons for fighting Hitler. &EPUB ↹ Why the Allies Won ⇻ Having Won An Unprecedented Series Of Victories And Acquired Huge New Territories In , Germany And Japan Seemed Poised To Dominate Most Of The World A Year Later Both Empires Were Reeling Back In The Face Of Allied Assaults The Rapid Turnaround, King S College History Professor Richard Overy Writes, Came About Largely As A Result Of Technological Innovation And Structural Responsiveness The Allies Were Able To Convert Their Economies To A War Footing With Few Institutional Fetters, This is a really good book that I enjoyed a great deal You can tell the author is an academic, because this is one big and superbly written compare and contrast essay on WWII, where the Axis is measured to the Allies and found totally wanting Overy goes over most of the important factors in the war and shows you that in all areas save Tactics and in a few cases Equipment, the Allies were superior to the Axis and usually by a wide margin And yet the war was a damn close run thing , that required all the efforts of all the Allies, flat out , for 6 years.While this is is not, and does not claim to be, a full history of the war itself, it s a good single volume for anyone who wants to understand the basics and why the results were what they were Overy goes for the most important choke points of the war events like The Battle of the Atlantic, Stalingrad, the Bomber campaigns, and D Day, among others, and relates how and why they impacted the war He goes into the Chasm between the sides politically, economically and industrially and how that played out He also goes into the moral differences in the combatant, and the total racial war waged on the OstFront As a real expert on Soviet History, he s one of the better sources to read about the moral ambiguity of Soviet Authoritarianism in a death grip with Fascist Authoritarianism Its riveting stuff.The junior reader will be well served by tackling this tome as it is really good at bringing order to one s view of the War that made the modern world The writing is not adult for most For the Gamer Modeller Military enthusiast, this is a GREAT book for background, but not a contributor to Scenarios Dioramas On the other hand, it will really help the reader to understand why moves were made and how the military events impacted the political and cultural legacy we live now A strong recommendation for any reader. In 1942, the Axis Powers of World War II seemed on the verge of winning the war in 1945, they lost, and the Allied Powers won What happened The most important reason was the capacity of the Soviet people to sacrifice everything, evacuate and recreate industrial infrastructure in unoccupied Ural, Siberia, Volga valley and Central Asia, continue producing tanks, airplanes and other weapons, and keep fighting To what extent this sacrifice was voluntary, and to what done at gunpoint is really beside the point The second most important reason was the enormous industrial capacity of the United States switching to war production In 1943, Japanese shipyards produced 3 aircraft carriers, and in 1944, 4 American shipyards produced 90 in these years Mass production, used so successfully for making cars before the war, was adapted to making bomber aircraft and cargo Liberty ships The Allies also made better use of technology A modern Russian handbook for high school history teachers became famous for calling Stalin an effective manager The real effective manager of the war was Albert Speer, the Reich Minister of Armaments by 1944, he reduced 42 aircraft models to 5, 151 trucks to 23, a dozen anti tank weapons to 1, and so on for all weapons However, this was too late, when Germany was already losing the war lack of spare parts and trained mechanics plagued the Wehrmacht In contrast, the Soviets had 2 main models of tanks and 5 main models of aircraft When they realized that they were losing the war with ordinary weapons, the Germans tried to win it with futuristic weapons jet fighters, ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, while lacking banal trucks The Americans only had one futuristic weapon, the atomic bomb, and the Soviets had none after the war, the Americans whisked away German weaponeers such as Wernher von Braun and Hans von Ohain to make Cold War weapons for them.One chapter I found very interesting was about the Allied bomber offensive It failed to terrorize the German people into surrendering, and it failed to stop the increase in German war production What it succeeded in doing was drawing the resources away first from the Eastern Front, and later also from the Western Front In 1943 1944, German aircraft production switched to fighters from bombers, and 2 3 of German fighters were fighting Anglo American bombers, allowing the gigantic battles on the Eastern Front to proceed without German bombing The 88mm gun was very effective at destroying Soviet tanks instead, 3 4 of them were aimed at Anglo American bombers All in all, in 1944 direct destruction of industry and diversion of manpower and resources to anti aircraft defense together cost the Germans approximately half of their battlefront weapons and equipment If this wasn t another front in the war, what was it There are also chapters on the Battle of Stalingrad, the Battle of Kursk, the invasion of France, wartime diplomacy, Allied and Axis leadership, but there are already hundreds of books on these topics I think the most interesting chapters are about the war of economies and the war of technologies.