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132

I'm not sure there is any direct evidence that it was strategically a bad idea. Strategically it made sense to attack the Soviet Union while they were weak and unprepared for war. Hitler knew that as he made progress on the Western front that Stalin grew more and more nervous every day about the growing power of Nazi Germany. What must be remembered is that ...


122

I have not lived in Berlin or Moscow, but I have lived in Toronto and (very close to) Val d'Or. The winter temperatures for these two locations closely match Berlin and Moscow: December January February (Avg daily high/avg Daily low) (Celsius) Toronto 2/ -3 -1/ -7 0/ -6 Val d'Or -8/-19 -11/-23 -8/-22 I can absolutely assure ...


99

Which Germany do you mean? Something that can reasonably called a German nation-state was founded only in 1871, when Prussia first defeated France and then unified most German states under their leadership in the Kaiserreich. Before there had been a messy rivalry between Prussia and Austria for the leadership in what used to be the Holy Roman Empire -- not ...


89

I think your question is best answered by addressing an underlying presumption. Namely: your 21st century eyes and your living in a society that considers hate speech to be antisocial are misleading you into assuming that societal norms were similar a century ago. They were not. On the contrary, hating jews (and gypsies) in the early 20th century was ...


84

The Wikipedia article on this is quite detailed. In short, Germany was never conquered by the Roman Empire, so several tribes maintained their identity as well as the Germanic language. On top of that, you have Germany's central location, out of all those factors the different names emerged based on mostly 5 different origins. Deutsch - from the Germanic ...


82

Many churches in Europe (not just Germany) were built centuries ago, when the church was by far the most important and prestigious building in any city. Building them took decades, sometimes even centuries. For quite some time, no other building project in any city could possibly contend with its church. And even if you could, why would you? One, you would ...


81

But why didn't they ask some snipers to resign from the armed forces and then hire them in the police force and deploy them? In a Hollywood movie the police would call up the local army base who would have a crack team of snipers just sitting around. Some weaselly lawyer would point out it's illegal until some clever grunt suggests "why don't we just resign?...


76

Defense of German heritage against Romans The biggest reason for how the lands east of the Rhine retained their German identity (unlike the Gauls of modern day France who lost their Celtic identity) is the Battle of Teutoburg Forest where the Germans won a decisive victory against Roman invaders. After this battle, the Romans never seriously attempted to ...


69

The unified German state was only ~40 years old at the time, while the Austrian Empire controlled its lands for much longer than that, so why was it that the former was able to stick together so much better than the latter? The German Empire was a far more homogeneous state than Austria-Hungary. While the vast majority of Germans were... Germans, Austria-...


68

Average temperatures are irrelevant, unless you plan to repeat the battle every year. What matters is the temperature at the time. To quote Wikipedia: The European Winter of 1941-1942 was the coldest of the twentieth century. On 30 November, von Bock reported to Berlin that the temperature was – 45 °C (–49 °F). General Erhard Raus, commander of the 6th ...


67

By this time, Germany controlled the entire European peninsula, and it was very hard to see the Allied forces coming back from that. Hitler told one of his generals in June 1940 that the victories in western Europe "finally freed his hands for his important real task: the showdown with Bolshevism" [from here]. Reasons to attack the Soviet Union include: ...


61

To sum it up: The costs simply outweighed the benefits. You have to consider that Germania at this time was essentially one huge forest, which was very, well empty. No cities to conquer, the first German cities were actually founded by the Romans, like e.g. Aachen, Cologne or Trier. The Germans were primitive tribesmen and had little to offer to the Roman ...


57

It's probably nonsense, but it's nonsense with an interesting history. The actual ancient Germanics were herders and farmers, with cattle, barley, and wheat as their staples. Given the natural woodlands of the areas they inhabited, this generally involved slash-and-burn agriculture, which is pretty much the most environmentally-destructive practice within ...


51

Italy's main issue was its enmity with Austria-Hungary, Germany's main ally. That made Italy the "odd man out" in the so-called Triple Alliance with the other two. Italy had joined (reluctantly) with Germany out of a fear of France. This occurred when France and Britain concluded an alliance that made Britain responsible for the mutual defense of the ...


46

According to Arthur D. Jacobs, author of the autobiographic book "The Prison Called Hohenasperg: An American boy betrayed by his Government during World War II", by the end of the war, 11000 persons of German ancestry were interned, both immigrants and visitors. Also, under the pressure of US Government, Latin American countries arrested more than 4000 ...


46

British policy on the continent has traditionally been to maintain the balance of power (this is also really a general European thing). This amounted to shifting alliances all over the continent. Though France and Britain are "traditional" enemies (as neighbours were wont to be in Europe), they certainly hadn't been at war for anywhere near "close to 1000 ...


44

Germany always wanted to attack and defeat Soviet Russia. There is an ideological battle between fascism and communism. Germany really thought that Russia was the enemy of the world. Some Germans believed, such was the evil of communism, that when they started the eastern front, the English would come over to their side to fight communism rather than ...


44

The reason was very simple. There were two Germanies. Soviet Union would veto the Federal Republic joining. (From the Soviet point of view it was illegitimate). For exactly the same reasons US, England and France would veto the German Democratic republic. They could only join when they (and all others) recognized each other as independent states. (Moscow ...


37

Three steps to observe: Hitler was given the chancellory Election in 1933 Reichstag fire & Enabling decree First the really unwanted elements were beaten up, imprisoned or just killed. Then a lot of the right-wingers saw their wishes and chances and did not switch sides, to the contrary, they just switched the membership card. Then, after eliminating ...


36

This is a pretty big question; entire books have been written on the subject of postwar Germany. You might want to narrow it down. I'll take a shot at the discrimination portion: While there was a lot of resentment towards the Axis peoples, the growing rivalry between Russia and the western Allies changed the dynamics a lot. American leaders took a more ...


36

The fate of the German ambassador to Japan, Heinrich Georg Stahmer indicates what probably happened to most of the Germans in Japan. On May 5, 1945, as the German surrender was approaching, Stahmer was handed an official protest by Japanese Foreign Minister Shigenori Togo, accusing the German government of betraying its Japanese ally. Following the ...


35

For the vast majority of Germans, religious and non-religious alike, religion matters little in daily life. In some families, the babies are baptised, marriages have both civil and religious ceremonies, and one goes to the service on Christmas and perhaps on Easter. Yet in a survey or opinion poll, these people might report themselves as Christian. This kind ...


33

The moral justification isn't hard to find. Russia was the only Allied power to enter the war "on its own". If you look at the stated reasons of other countries: Germany declared war on France because it expected France to ally with Russia. Great Britain joined the war because Germany violated Belgian neutrality. And USA joined the war because of German ...


33

Yes they did. The Treaty of Good Neighbourship and Friendly Cooperation qualifies as a "peace treaty"; see preamble and article 1 of the Polish text of the treaty. The treaty was signed in 1991 and went into force on 16 January 1992. It did not say specifically "we have had a war until today, but since tomorrow we are at peace", but it would hardly make ...


33

There is a text written by Luther called "an den christlichen Adel deutscher Nation" (exact spelling!). So the word "deutsch" is very old. However, even from the 1848 revolution on (short-living foundation of a German Democracy that was supposed to overcome the small monarchies ("Kleinstaaten")) or from 1871 on (Foundation of the 2nd Reich), Germans didn't ...


33

Other answers have dealt with the main things but I think you are missing one important point. Even assuming that Berlin and Moscow are equally cold there is a huge difference between holding your own territory (defensive operations within Germany) and maintaining long supply lines through hostile territory in bad weather. If the German army had a constant ...


33

Germany arrived late to the party, and did so unenthusiastically Germany basically was a mess of small states at the onset of the colonial era. It took a very long time for Brandenburg-Prussia to emerge as a power to be reckoned with. And it was not until Napoleon dismantled the Holy Roman Empire that the way was paved for Germany's unification. When that ...


31

Good question with several answers. First a nod to Lennart for pointing out that Germany grew just like France and Britain and the USA, so a certain amount of "a rising tide floats all boats." However there were some factors that advantaged Germany more than the others: Highly educated, savings-minded workforce whose population losses were instantly ...


31

Arthur Zimmerman appears to have been trying to avoid being blamed by the German press and politicians for bringing the USA into the war. Placing your personal interests ahead of those of your country when you're a government minister is rarely a good idea. He said: ... despite the submarine offensive, he had hoped that the USA would remain neutral. His ...


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