Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Divide and Rule: the Battles for Germany

Among the books I was reading at Christmas ( and thinking about while I prepared and cooked some very jolly meals -  Mr Quango, I wasn't making mince pies and reading at the same time) was Antony Beevor's  Berlin: the Downfall 1945, which was a great deal less funny than the skits.  It was difficult for someone wholly unprepared for reading battle plans, maps, responses and outcomes to keep going through the horrors, but one outstanding question, at the end of it all, was:  why did the Americans stop at the Elbe? And why did they prevent any of the rest of  the Allies from going forward and taking Berlin?  Germany was Berlin.

Just as the Russians sat on the Vistula and allowed the destruction of Warsaw and the despair of the putting down of the Uprising, so the United States facilitated the destruction of Berlin and the division of Germany.

Or perhaps my map-reading skills are iffier than I know.


Elby the Beserk said...

Was it a deal? I read Beevor's Stalingrad book. Impossible and ridiculous feats of bravery and madness; from both sides, on a daily basis. Haven't we got soft?

This guy, however, is most definitely not soft.

Odin's Raven said...

Hadn't Roosevelt Churchill and Stalin agreed that Berlin was to go to the Russians, and outlined the carve-up of Germany?

Raedwald said...

Only the French really understood the reality of conquest - that the semen of the conqueror must impregnate the conquered, that a legacy of DNA must be left, if the conquered nation is to remain quiescent. The mass rape of Germany's women was the price they paid for Hitler's war. The Brits and septics were simply not up to it.

The deliberation behind this as an explicit Russian strategy is evidenced by their replacement of the fighting armies by the raping armies as they entered Germany. And we as equally deliberately allowed them to do it.

It's no accident that many Ossis today carry a slight Slavic appearance.

Submariner said...

Building on the point made by Odin's Raven, the main point to add, if you have not figured this out already, is that had the Western allied carried on past the Elbe they would have found themselves fighting with the Germans against the Soviets. This was actually widely anticipated and expected by the remains of the German armed forces, and was the reality so well understood and parodied by George Orwell in 1984. There was no possibility whatsoever of the Soviets NOT taking East Germany: the only way to stop them would have een by deploying overwheming force which would have probably had to involve the use of nuclear weapons within Germany. Wisely and unsurprisingly, the UK and US leaderships took the view that it would be better to do a deal than let WW2 segue directly into WW3.