I'm quite interested in WW2, and was thinking about the beaches of Normandy and what wondering about the following

Could Hitler have won WW2 after losing the beaches of Normandy and what were the key points in Hitler's actual defeat at Normandy, if so, how what would he have to had done differently and if not, how come?

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    I imagine it would be easy to argue that Hitler had already lost before the D-day landings. They were simply part of the end-game. – Steve Bird Jun 16 '16 at 7:41
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    The best chance at "winning" was sacking Moscow in late 1941. The last chance at "winning" was some time during 1942 (before Operation Uranus). You're talking mid-1944, two years after the last strategic offensive of the Germans on any front... – DevSolar Jun 16 '16 at 9:38
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    'Could [x] have happened' questions are logical fallacies. The way things did happen are what actually occurred, so no other outcome could have been possible. 'Could [x] happen in the future' a bit more useful. – Canadian Coder Jun 16 '16 at 16:54
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    @CanadianCoder That's the whole free will vs determinism debate, isn't it? :-) But I agree that such questions are supposed to be off-topic on this site. – taninamdar Jun 16 '16 at 17:37
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    Looks like a counterfactual to me. – MCW Jun 16 '16 at 18:27

Hitler probably couldn't have won WW2 after the end of 1942, if ever. The writing was on the wall in one sense during Barbarossa, when the Germans thought they had the Soviets on the ropes. The Soviets started with 5.5 million men in theater, lost 6 million in the first 9 months, and despite those staggering losses, at the end of those 9 months, the force ratios had improved in the Soviets favour.

By the end of 1942 the German army had just lost too many men particularly in operation Uranus which trapped and destroyed the 6th army around Stalingrad. At the same time they'd been losing men at an unsustainable rate in the Rzhev salient. Even though operation Mars (to destroy the salient) was a failure for the Soviets, the Germans lost too many men and withdrew from the salient anyway, recognising they simply didn't have the manpower to defend the whole front any more.

By 1943, the Germans were attacking at Kursk on the Northern side with units so short of men that by pre-war German doctrine they would be considered unfit for combat operations - and that was at the spearhead of that effort where they concentrated their forces.

Basically, if Britain and America did nothing, Germany would still lose to the Soviets.

And even without Normandy, the allied forces had driven the axis out of north Africa and invaded Italy and taken it out of the war, so Germany was already fighting on a second southern front anyway as well as having lost its strongest European ally (for what that was worth). The Normandy landings may have sped up the end of the war, and taken some pressure of the Soviets, but ultimately it was very far from being decisive.

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    Honestly, I think Germany would have been better off if Italy had stayed neutral. – T.E.D. Jun 16 '16 at 13:57
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    @T.E.D.: So much this. The involvement in North Africa and the Balkans alone.... – DevSolar Jun 17 '16 at 9:35
  • Basically, if Britain and America did nothing, Germany would still lose to the Soviets -- you are ignoring the Soviet losses that were much more staggering than the German. By 1945 Soviet manpower reserves were completely exhausted. – sds Oct 18 '17 at 16:15


Another poster has made a good case that Hitler had lost the war before Normandy. And even the threat of an invasion was enough to tie down over a million German troops in France, decisively weakening the German defense of Soviet territory. But Normandy was arguably the "last straw," or Hitler's last (slim) chance.

The best case scenario for Hitler would have been the failure of the Normandy landing (which was actually hostage to the weather), or driving the landing force into the sea. Under those circumstances, Hitler might have been able to "strip" the garrisons of France to bolster the Russian front, because the threat mentioned in the previous paragraph would have been diminished. Worse, a failure might have negatively impacted America's willingness to re-elect FDR to an unprecedented fourth term and continue the war. (This scenario actually happened in 1945 with Churchill in England, even with Allied successes.)

Once the Allies landed and stayed in Normandy, it was "game over." The landings were followed by more landings in southern France in August, 1944, that connected with the Normandy invasion force, but could have been used to outflank Italy, instead. Basically, Hitler couldn't contend with Anglo-American forces in Normandy, southern France, and Italy, simultaneously, as well as deal with the Russians. Eisenhower's "cross ruffing" strategy had succeeded.

  • "Dieppe" was never an invasion, but rather an attempted snitch of Nazi code books, and so never had either the air or naval support that all Allied invasions received. Comparing Dieppe to Overlord is absurd. – Pieter Geerkens Jun 17 '16 at 0:01
  • @PieterGeerkens: That the whole Dieppe raid was just a diversion for that "snitch" is a theory. Don't posit it as fact, please. – DevSolar Jun 17 '16 at 9:36
  • If you want to make a really telling point, note that the mere threat of a viable invasion" tied down > 1 million veteran German troops in France while the destruction of Army Group Centre took place. All Eisenhower had to do was not lose the 1944 election for Roosevelt and Berlin was going to fall sometime in 1945. – Pieter Geerkens Jun 19 '16 at 4:11
  • @PieterGeerkens: Adopted your excellent suggestion. – Tom Au Jun 19 '16 at 4:17

No. He had lost the war in the East by the time of the Normandy invasions. Note where the Russian armies were in June 1944. Modern histories of WWII are beginning to be less 'west centric' and to see that there was continuous, severe fighting in the East and that Hitler concentrated his attention there, having secured his western 'rear'. In a sense he could never defeat the USSR, because Stalin had more men and could turn war production on with a vastly larger workforce than Hitler could ever summon, even with enslaved workers from subjugated areas of Europe.


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