During World War II, was the Eastern Front more important than the Western Front?
Which was more significant in ending the war in Europe in 1945, The Normandy Invasion or Operation Bagration?
I think the most significant turning point in WW2 was the defeat of the German army in the battle for Stalingrad.
Nazi Germany would never recover from this defeat.
I'd hate to dodge the question, but I'd say they were both equally significant. Germany already had its hands full with the Russians. The Normandy invasion dumped a whole new pile of chaos in their laps. Germany obviously did not have the capability to manage two fronts, and their resources and manpower eventually succumbed to the vise.
If I have to give an answer I guess I'd say the western front. The invasion in the west essentially made the war unwinnable for Germany.
When you look at the number of combatants involved, the casualties inflicted, the territory won or lost, even the amount of armaments utilized sans the naval, then the western front comes in a distant second. This is not easy to accept by N. American and British students of the war, but are facts nonetheless. The overall strategic level achieved is perhaps closer, but without the unbelievable sacrifices of Russia and the incredible losses they gave the German armed forces in Op Bagration alone, or had Germany faced the allies without fighting the eastern front too, in all probability there would have been no liberated Paris and advance to the Rhine.
It's tough to answer this accurately and fully without putting the whole thing in perspective. For one thing, halfway through the war, the allies still had not opened up a western front against Germany per Stalin's requests. It was only after Stalin no longer needed a western front that the allies finally invaded Normandy--the German war ended 10 months later. The war in Europe was primarily a war between Nazi Germany and Communist Soviet Union, even though Germany and Britain were at war before Germany attacked the Soviets. In the build-up to war, Hitler annexed all of the countries that had formerly been part of Germany in order to make Germany whole again. The Soviet Union did the same thing with Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. When Germany invaded Poland to make a buffer state from which to eventually invade Russia, the UK and France declared war and interfered with his plans for a war against the Soviets. The Soviet Union then took eastern Poland and tried to take over Finland. Hitler and Stalin made peace, but both knew war would eventually come. Once France was defeated and Britain was in a defensive posture, Hitler felt safe enough to finally invade the Soviet Union. The rest of the battles in the west had to do with Germany "bailing out" its ally, Italy, in Italy's own separate plans for expansion. The Italians tried to conquer Egypt from Italian-owned Libya, but failed and needed Germany's help. After occupying Albania, Italy failed again in its attempt to conquer Greece and Crete and needed Germany's help again. After the US joined the allies in the west and after Italy surrendered, western Europe became an irritating distraction for Germany. On the Eastern front, Germany placed the bulk of its forces with a huge allied contingent of Romanians, Hungarians, Austrians, Italians, Bulgarians, and even Spaniards. Right up to the end, the German leadership deluded itself into thinking that it could make peace with the UK and US since the Nazis formed a buffer state against the hated Communists. This idea was shared and somewhat popular among many US military leaders, who preferred the Soviets as an enemy instead of the Nazis.
The "Eastern Front" consumed the major portion -- by far -- of Axis/German military might.
This is detailed in "Taierzhuang 1938 – Stalingrad 1942" (ISBN 9780983843597), see excerpts -- http://numistamp.com/Taierzhuang-1938-- … cerpts.php
It's not rocket science to figure out that the Eastern Front more important than the Western Front. The problem in reaching this conclusion is nationalistic pride/bias.
Lance Olsen (the Historian, not the Novelist with the same name)
They both won it, but Russia was more responsible. If there had been no Allied invasion, Russia would have eventually taken France, Stalin did not value the lives of his soldiers while the Western Allies placed a higher value on their soldiers. That is why Eisenhower left Berlin to the Russians - to save American lives. Not to discount the Western Allies losses, but Russia lost the most in terms of soldiers and civilians and destruction.
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