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If Hitler had decided to not attack Britain, and focused solely on Russia, and only left a big enough portion of his resources there to prevent a Second front opening up, what magnitude of resources could he have freed up to possibly make a difference in the Eastern Front?

closed as primarily opinion-based by justCal, DevSolar, knut, Steve Bird, Bregalad Sep 18 '17 at 14:04

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Sorry, but this type of question focusing on 'alternate' events is off topic here Check out the help area to see more on how to participate on the History stack. – justCal Sep 18 '17 at 12:15
  • Welcome to the History SE. Historical fiction is unfortunately off topic. I've thrown in a separate question that addresses some of your points FYI. – Denis de Bernardy Sep 18 '17 at 12:16
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    @DenisdeBernardy: I believe this question is that converse of other one; that is, if Hitler had minimized fighting against Britain (no North Africa, no submarine campaign), would he have done better against the Soviet Union? – Tom Au Sep 18 '17 at 12:40
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    Possible duplicate of Was it ever possible for Germany to win WWII? – DevSolar Sep 18 '17 at 12:45
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's about alternate history (asks "what if XXX") – Bregalad Sep 18 '17 at 14:04
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Let's consider one aspect of the fight against Britain; airpower. The Germans lost something like 1887 planes in the Battle of Britain. At the very least, most of those aircraft could have been saved by the Germans' not fighting in the Battle of Britain.

Japan's Admiral Yamamoto once valued the materials used to create the battleship Yamato as equivalent to that of 2000 bombers. By this measure, building the two (smaller) superbattleships Bismarck and Tirpitz cost the Germans something like 2500 bombers. And, of course, they were directed only against Britain.

The above numbers compare to the 2800 aircraft (the crucial arm) with which the Germans undertook Operation Barbarossa. The Germans could have undertaken Barbarossa with more than twice as many planes as they actually did. Some of these extra planes (and the accompanying fuel savings) could have been used in "strategic bombing" of Soviet factories and oilfields.

So yes, minimizing the war with Britain could have made a large (favorable) difference for Germany in the East. You can decide for yourself what the impact of that extra airpower could have been.

  • There is also the timing to consider. Stalin had an extra year to rebuild the shit show that was the Red Army. Not only would it have been much smaller, but it would have been more disorganized and poorly equipped. – user2259716 Sep 18 '17 at 14:52
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    @user2259716: But don't forget that the German army had yet to build up as well. The force that was victorious in Poland was in no way capable of taking on Russia, either. – DevSolar Sep 18 '17 at 15:15
  • Yamamoto was nuts to make that claim, given that Yamato was sunk rather easily by a fraction of that number of planes – Pieter Geerkens Sep 19 '17 at 2:13
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    @PieterGeerkens It is a known fact that Yamamoto opposed the building of superbattleships as an unwise resource allocation, thus, although I can't find an actual source for this quote, it probably meant that he would rather have 2000 bombers than one Yamato at Midway. – Danila Smirnov Sep 19 '17 at 3:28
  • @PieterGeerkens: I clarified the statement as follows: "Japan's Admiral Yamamoto once valued the materials used to create the battleship Yamato as equivalent to that of 2000 bombers." – Tom Au Sep 19 '17 at 6:20

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