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70 years on Barbarossa

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    Posted: 23 Jun 2011 at 05:31
Hello to you all
 
Today marks 70 years on Barbarossa, the largest military operation in history. 4 million men from three German army groups, 3.5 of them German and the rest from allied countries, crossed the border with the Soviet union from the Baltic to the black sea. Today marks the beginning of the end for Hitler's third reich. The USSR was just a bite too big for him to chew.
 
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Not a single response to the event that turned the tide in the European theater. Is this a hangover from the cold war. How long will historians take to acknowledge that it was The Soviet Union that payed much more in blood for victory in Europe than any other nation. They fought like tigers. What Hitler failed to take into account was the Russian love of the mother country. American logistics and to a much more extent, the Soviet GI was by far the major factor in the European war.
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Absolutely agree with Mr. Buckskins!  ClapThumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Feb 2012 at 06:54
Hello Buckskins
 
I think a lot of people (especially those who are into real history not psuedo-Hollywood version of it) even back during the cold war recognised the fact that the USSR took the brunt of the war. Films like the "great escape" show that Germans troops feared the "Russian front" far more than fighting the Americans and British. All professional historians recognised this fact too and I can't think of anyone of them who said otherwise.
 
If anyone is responsible its the media glorified psuedo-historians like Ambrose and Ryan who rely on nationalism rather than facts in writing or promoting their books.
 
I was one of these guys. If you return to the archive and read my posts of 2007-08 you will see how much I was duped. Only when I read a book about the Leibstandarte in 08 and their experience in the East vs. West and then reading Glantz's works on Manchuria, Barabrossa and Kharkov did I realise the true scope of the war in the east.
 
As for the reasons why Hitler lost, it wasn't the love of country that motivated Russians to fight, all of them were conscripts and had to fight and the rates of draft dodging were just as much as they were elsewhere if not higher. Millions of soldiers were prisoners promised freedom and millions others used this opportunity to advance themselves. Privates ended as Captains and Captains ended the war as field marshals (Chernyakhovsky was a marshal before he was 40).
 
And finally there were the attrocities. For the Ukrainians Stalin was an angel compared to Hitler. Initially everyone supported Hitler's war against communism. What did Hitler give them back? The comissar order, the Holocaust and of course the untermanchen theory. Not to mention mass rapes and mass murder of POWs who happen to be from the same villages he has just conquered and was received with salt and bread. When Ukrain was liberated the Russians had enough partisans to form two entire army groups (fronts in Russian terms) from thin air. Same happened in the Baltic and Belarus. Such enthusiasm (which existed) wasn't seen in other liberated regions like the western Russian provinces of Smolensk or Pskov.
 
P.S.
 
Welcome to the forum! Looking for more exciting discussions.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Feb 2012 at 07:40
Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

As for the reasons why Hitler lost, it wasn't the love of country that motivated Russians to fight, all of them were conscripts and had to fight and the rates of draft dodging were just as much as they were elsewhere if not higher. Millions of soldiers were prisoners promised freedom and millions others used this opportunity to advance themselves. Privates ended as Captains and Captains ended the war as field marshals (Chernyakhovsky was a marshal before he was 40).
 
That is not true at all. Most of the population REALLY wanted to fight and it was very motivated. The numbers of volunteers were enormous, hundeds of thousands of teenagers faked their ids to get into the army. Of course, there were some who were forcibly conscripted, but the majority was very willing to go to the front. Call it patriotism or Soviet propaganda brainwash but that is the fact.
 
 
Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

And finally there were the attrocities. For the Ukrainians Stalin was an angel compared to Hitler. Initially everyone supported Hitler's war against communism. What did Hitler give them back? The comissar order, the Holocaust and of course the untermanchen theory. Not to mention mass rapes and mass murder of POWs who happen to be from the same villages he has just conquered and was received with salt and bread. When Ukrain was liberated the Russians had enough partisans to form two entire army groups (fronts in Russian terms) from thin air. Same happened in the Baltic and Belarus. Such enthusiasm (which existed) wasn't seen in other liberated regions like the western Russian provinces of Smolensk or Pskov.
 
That is also not really accurate. It depends on what kind of "Ukraine" you're talking about. The Western Ukraine i.e. former part of the Polish Republic was very anti-soviet (that part of the Ukraine never was under the Russian rule and there were some considerable cultural differences like religion-Western Ukrainians are Greko-Catholics unlike the rest of the Ukrainians and Russians); in addition they were alienated by the very harsh treatment and crimes that NKVD committed in those newly acquired territories. The same applies to the Baltics, it was majority anti-Soviet. Many citizens of former Baltic states fought in the SS ethnic divisions. There also was a special division consisted of the Western Ukrainians called "SS Galizien". In Western Ukraine however, local nationalists were soon very upset by the Nazi policies and realized that they in fact didn't want to creat any kind of even a parody to the indepenent Western Ukrainian state. As a result, the Western Ukrainian partisans fought both with the Nazists and the coming Soviets later. They were complitely crushed only in the early 1960th.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Feb 2012 at 08:23
Originally posted by Sarmat Sarmat wrote:

Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

As for the reasons why Hitler lost, it wasn't the love of country that motivated Russians to fight, all of them were conscripts and had to fight and the rates of draft dodging were just as much as they were elsewhere if not higher. Millions of soldiers were prisoners promised freedom and millions others used this opportunity to advance themselves. Privates ended as Captains and Captains ended the war as field marshals (Chernyakhovsky was a marshal before he was 40).
 
That is not true at all. Most of the population REALLY wanted to fight and it was very motivated. The numbers of volunteers were enormous, hundeds of thousands of teenagers faked their ids to get into the army. Of course, there were some who were forcibly conscripted, but the majority was very willing to go to the front. Call it patriotism or Soviet propaganda brainwash but that is the fact.
 
Of course there were probably millions among the 40 million who served who served from their patriotic duty. None the less, the peoples of the USSR didn't come from Mars. Studies across the world show that even in successful popular wars only a really tiny minority really are zealous about it. Most have passive support and a minority are opposed to it. Most of the population did want to fight the Nazis but they also wanted someone other than them to fight it which is my point above.
 
 
 
 
Originally posted by Sarmat Sarmat wrote:

 
Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

And finally there were the attrocities. For the Ukrainians Stalin was an angel compared to Hitler. Initially everyone supported Hitler's war against communism. What did Hitler give them back? The comissar order, the Holocaust and of course the untermanchen theory. Not to mention mass rapes and mass murder of POWs who happen to be from the same villages he has just conquered and was received with salt and bread. When Ukrain was liberated the Russians had enough partisans to form two entire army groups (fronts in Russian terms) from thin air. Same happened in the Baltic and Belarus. Such enthusiasm (which existed) wasn't seen in other liberated regions like the western Russian provinces of Smolensk or Pskov.
 
That is also not really accurate. It depends on what kind of "Ukraine" you're talking about. The Western Ukraine i.e. former part of the Polish Republic was very anti-soviet (that part of the Ukraine never was under the Russian rule and there were some considerable cultural differences like religion-Western Ukrainians are Greko-Catholics unlike the rest of the Ukrainians and Russians); in addition they were alienated by the very harsh treatment and crimes that NKVD committed in those newly acquired territories. The same applies to the Baltics, it was majority anti-Soviet. Many citizens of former Baltic states fought in the SS ethnic divisions. There also was a special division consisted of the Western Ukrainians called "SS Galizien". In Western Ukraine however, local nationalists were soon very upset by the Nazi policies and realized that they in fact didn't want to creat any kind of even a parody to the indepenent Western Ukrainian state. As a result, the Western Ukrainian partisans fought both with the Nazists and the coming Soviets later. They were complitely crushed only in the early 1960th.
 
 
The number of Baltics or Ukrainians who fought in the ranks of the SS, Free Russian army or anti-Soviet partisans is quite miniscule compared with those of the Balkans. Germany barely successded in turning a couple of hundred Tatars and a couple of thousand Cossacks out of millions into their side and even these were rebellious and often times revolted despite facing certain death.
 
Help to the Germans was indeed great early on in the campaign but quickly evaporated with the first partisan operations happened in Aug. because of the savagry of the Einsatzgruppen who were killing everywhere by then and the utter disregard of civilian casualties or livelihoods by the nazis.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Feb 2012 at 09:56
How important were the various partisan groups to eventual Russian success in the Eastern front? I confess I know little and less of the war in Russia (I still shed a tear at Churchills oratory and despite my intrinsic anti Englishness I cannot help but be in awe of 'one island, alone, defiant'...)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paradigm of Humanity Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Feb 2012 at 12:25
AFAIK hardly effected if any. That was a war of sheer brute force. Entire front (2-3 thousands miles) was occupied by belligerent forces. Whose won had more manpower and more industrial power even their counterpart supposed to had technological edge (I doubt that).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Feb 2012 at 19:52
Actually, it had an effect and distracted substantial German forces from the front. At certain times, the entire logistical network of the Germans particularly railroads was severly damaged especially in its central part - around Belorussia by the partisans. The center of the partisan movement was Belorussia. The German occupation of the land was extremely brutal around 1/4 of the population was killed and that ignited the resistance. Also, a substantial part of Belorussia was covered by thick woods that provided a good cover for partisan units.
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Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

Of course there were probably millions among the 40 million who served who served from their patriotic duty. None the less, the peoples of the USSR didn't come from Mars. Studies across the world show that even in successful popular wars only a really tiny minority really are zealous about it. Most have passive support and a minority are opposed to it. Most of the population did want to fight the Nazis but they also wanted someone other than them to fight it which is my point above.
Nonetheless, the Soviet army was quite motivated which is one of the reason behind its success
Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

The number of Baltics or Ukrainians who fought in the ranks of the SS, Free Russian army or anti-Soviet partisans is quite miniscule compared with those of the Balkans. Germany barely successded in turning a couple of hundred Tatars and a couple of thousand Cossacks out of millions into their side and even these were rebellious and often times revolted despite facing certain death.
The Baltics mostly fought against the Soviet army in the East and were quite tough. The Ukrainian division fought against the Polish partisans and then was practially destroyed by the regular Soviet army in 1944 then its remnants briefly fought with the Slovak partisans, because by that time the Ukraine was lost for the Germans. The Cossacks and "Russian Libaration Army" - a formation that the Germans created from the collaborating PoWs under former Stalin's general Vlasov was assigned to fight partisans in the Balkans, Poland and Italy, France, Belgium, etc., because the Germans didn't trust them and considered them unreliable for figthing in Russia.
In the last days of the war the core of Vlasov's army swiched sides again and joined the Czech rebellion in Prague against the Germans.
As for the other German ethnic formations that they created from the people of USSR their role was very marginal and they didn't represent an important force.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Feb 2012 at 23:19
Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:

How important were the various partisan groups to eventual Russian success in the Eastern front? I confess I know little and less of the war in Russia (I still shed a tear at Churchills oratory and despite my intrinsic anti Englishness I cannot help but be in awe of 'one island, alone, defiant'...)
 
On the entire front and war effort, minimal. On specific operations and units, quite substantial.
 
Sarmat gave you Belorussia where the partisans succeeded in tieing entire divisions during critical operations like Mars, Uranus (the last is the offensive at Stalngrad) and Kursk. I will give you another. The Warsaw uprising. The uprising diverted an entire well equipped army destined to check the Soviet advance during Bagration and the Germans suffered nearly 40k men irreversible losses. No partisan operation was as successful in such a short time.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Feb 2012 at 02:03
But Warsaw uprising was not really a part of "the Eastern Front."
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Feb 2012 at 03:10
Originally posted by Sarmat Sarmat wrote:

Actually, it had an effect and distracted substantial German forces from the front. At certain times, the entire logistical network of the Germans particularly railroads was severly damaged especially in its central part - around Belorussia by the partisans. The center of the partisan movement was Belorussia. The German occupation of the land was extremely brutal around 1/4 of the population was killed and that ignited the resistance. Also, a substantial part of Belorussia was covered by thick woods that provided a good cover for partisan units.


You seem to be well schooled in this area, could you recommend a book about the partisan units in the east during WWII? I'm currently brushing up on my Russian history (Making my way through Service's trilogy of biographies on Trotsky, Lenin and Stalin)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Feb 2012 at 03:45
Ahh with or without Barbarossa Germany would have lost the war first off stailn was planning an invasion and though with have almost certainly backfired the Germans were being out produced by the British alone, it might take until the late 40's but someone is going to rip the nazi flag off of Berlin  and I wouldnt be too surprised if it was a soviet
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Buckskins Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Feb 2012 at 09:36
Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:

How important were the various partisan groups to eventual Russian success in the Eastern front? I confess I know little and less of the war in Russia (I still shed a tear at Churchills oratory and despite my intrinsic anti Englishness I cannot help but be in awe of 'one island, alone, defiant'...)

Hi, they were not alone sir. There was Australia, New Zealand, Canada and a host of other commonwealth countries, not to mention the soldiers from occupied Europe that made it to England. It could be said that in that time frame, Germany was alone.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Feb 2012 at 12:18
Not at all, Germany wasn't allowed either. It had allies and even volunteers from unlike places, like France and Sweden...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Feb 2012 at 15:36
Originally posted by Buckskins Buckskins wrote:

Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:

How important were the various partisan groups to eventual Russian success in the Eastern front? I confess I know little and less of the war in Russia (I still shed a tear at Churchills oratory and despite my intrinsic anti Englishness I cannot help but be in awe of 'one island, alone, defiant'...)

Hi, they were not alone sir. There was Australia, New Zealand, Canada and a host of other commonwealth countries, not to mention the soldiers from occupied Europe that made it to England. It could be said that in that time frame, Germany was alone.
 
At the time of the tear sheding speeches, Britain pretty much was alone. The commonwealth countries were very small and undeveloped at the time (although Canada expanded quite quickly during the next few years). India had manpower, but little industry or resources. The US was hoping to stay out of it for as long as possible.
 
Germany was backed by the Soviet Union, Japan, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Italy, Finland, and, as it turned out, a segment of the French military and goverment. Spain was still deciding, but leaning towards Germany.
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The Germans had a host of central and east European allies who contributed millions of soldiers during the war. They had Italy too, but that country in the event was something of a liability.

Britain had her colonial possessions, but with those came the liability of a potential attack from Japan and the need to defend a vast area against this likely threat. This was a drain on resources. Singapore, SEA, India and the Pacific could not simply be denuded of material and troops to fight the Germans.

Thankfully by the time the Japanese attack did come, two larger allies were added to the mix.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Buckskins Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2012 at 04:06
Capt, a non aggression pack is not a commitment to aid each other in the event of hostile action. Can we say that England was as alone as Germany?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Buckskins Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2012 at 04:09
Originally posted by Sarmat Sarmat wrote:

Not at all, Germany wasn't allowed either. It had allies and even volunteers from unlike places, like France and Sweden...

Well that's true, but given the big picture, bordering on minutia perhaps. An Example would be Americans and Canadians in the British army.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2012 at 04:43
Originally posted by Buckskins Buckskins wrote:

Capt, a non aggression pack is not a commitment to aid each other in the event of hostile action. Can we say that England was as alone as Germany?
 
Yes we can. Britain was fighting the Germans and Italians in NA. Italians, Germans and Ustase in the Balkans and Greece and French forces in the middle east.
 
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Good points Jas, it's all relevant.
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Originally posted by Buckskins Buckskins wrote:

Capt, a non aggression pack is not a commitment to aid each other in the event of hostile action. Can we say that England was as alone as Germany?
 
The British have a saying: the proof is in the pudding. Meaning, it's what you end up with when all is said and done that counts, not so much what is said beforehand.
 
Given the violence and cynicism of the countries in question, the wording of such treaties made little difference. If their aims coincided, or if the power equation forced them, then they would cooperate. If not, then bets were off. At the time, it seemed like a lot of interests did coincide. Germany and the Soviets carved up NE Europe, which suited them just fine, for the time being anyway. Germany, Italy, and Japan had similar sentiments regarding the world, and had agreed to further each other's aims. Italy had joined into the fray by 1940, hoping to ride on Germany's coat tails, and Japan had done it's small (soon to be very large) bit by muscling in on French Indochina. Austria and Hungary were Germany's WW1 allies, and it seemd it suited them to again be so. Spain was another fascist regime, in debt to Germany for their support in the civil war, and they looked like they may declare in that direction at any moment. And after the unsavory incident with the French fleet in Algeria, a good portion of the French establishment turned against Britain and the Commonwealth.
 
Weigh this against the fading British Empire, with small numbers of citizens in the dominions, and an India that was ambivalent at best. Many Indians were demanding independence, and the support for Britain in the war was rather tenuous, and dependent on promises of freedom down the road. A strong Japanese showing may have diluted these feelings of support even further. The US was busy at this time playing the role of salesman, and hoping the fire wouldn't reach their house, or at least not until some money was made, and further time to prepare was had.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2012 at 09:46
Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

Italians, Germans and Ustase in the Balkans and Greece
 
When did Britain fight Ustases? And how on Earth was it "alone" in Greece, when the Greek army there was 6 times bigger than the whole British expeditionary force?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2012 at 23:15
Originally posted by Sarmat Sarmat wrote:

Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

Italians, Germans and Ustase in the Balkans and Greece
 
When did Britain fight Ustases? And how on Earth was it "alone" in Greece, when the Greek army there was 6 times bigger than the whole British expeditionary force?
 
I will give you Greece (although the British fought well after the Greek army collapsed).
 
But the rest remain.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Feb 2012 at 01:16
Rest remains... Britain never fought "Germans and Ustashas" in the Balkans, to say the least "alone."
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Feb 2012 at 01:29
Again, I was listing all enemies the British fought. ustase were active in the Greek campaign whether they fought the British it is some thing I need to take a look at.
 
But one fact remains. No one helped the British in North Africa until Nov. 42, no one helped them in Somaliland and Ethiopia until final victory and no one helped them against axis allies in the Levant either. Commonwealth units were no where near the size and strength of those axis units in the eastern front and the Italian forces alone outnumbered the British in the entire theatre while German units were not that far from the same size as the British.
 
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Ustashas never fought in the Greek campaign. They didn't even exist as an organized military force until before that campaig was over. 
 
British also were not "alone" if Africa in the time period you described their army consisted primarily of the Commonwealth Units (different African colonial and Indian troops, New Zealand and South Africa) and were supported by Ethiopians and Free French.
 
In the Middle East they were not alone either supported by Free French and even then the pure British units were in minority while the most of the "British" forces their consisted of Australians and Indians.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Feb 2012 at 04:43
You confuse the issue with your 21st century view of what it means to be British. 'British' didn't only apply to people from the United Kingdom. The belligerent in question was the British Empire and Commonwealth - the territories owing allegiance to the Queen - with the exception of the Irish Free State.
 
That's the entity that 'stood alone' from June '40 to June '41'.
 
More to the point perhaps It was the UK alone that faced German attacks during the period (barring the invasion of Greece in April '41). Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the rest of the dominions and colonies weren't under attack.
 
Similarly the Ukrainians, Belorusians, Uzbeks, etc that fought in the Soviet Army were Soviet troops. It would be just as misleading to say that the Soviet Union was not alone in eastern Europe because many of its troops were not from Russia.  
 
Would you really say that the Russia did not fight France at Borodino, because many of the troops were from the Russian Empire, not from Russia itself?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Feb 2012 at 05:21
I believe the point was that Al Jassas was claiming that those troops were mostly from the metropoly but not from the members of the Commonwealth or colonies and dominions, which is factually incorrect.
 
Of course, if you call of those peoples "British" than you're correct. But even then places like Australia and South Africa which by the time of WWII were effectively independent sovereign countries hardly could be compared to the ethnic republics within the USSR that didn't have any sovereignity at all.
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