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Thread: Turning Point for WWII-European Theater?

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    Senior Member Devil505's Avatar
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    Turning Point for WWII-European Theater?

    It's pretty widely accepted that the Battle of Midway was the turning point of the war in the Pacific but what was the turning point in the European theater? (an article I just read claims the 6/6/1944 Normandy invasion was.... but I don't buy it)

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    I don't think there was a "turning point" in the sense of a single event. IMO, the tide turned irreversibly against Germany by the late Summer of 1943. The resources wasted at Kursk could have been used to much greater effect on the strategic defense after Stalingrad. Granted, that's in hindsight and does not take into account any psychological or economic factors.

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    Senior Member Micro Machines Champion, Race Against Time Champion Tedminator's Avatar
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    Battle of Stalingrad and it's follow up, the Battle of Kursk.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tedminator View Post
    Battle of Stalingrad and it's follow up, the Battle of Kursk.
    I agree that it is by the end of that period (i.e. between the defeats at Stalingrad/El Alamein and Kursk) that ultimate Allied victory became inevitable.

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    Senior Member Devil505's Avatar
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    I would ad the Battle of Britain.... for allowing those islands to remain & thus provide the airbases for the bombing of Germany a the staging area for the eventual invasion of Europe by western allied forces.

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    True. The survival of Great Britain left open the potential of a two front war Germany could not win.

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    Senior Member Dr.Gently's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devil505 View Post
    It's pretty widely accepted that the Battle of Midway was the turning point of the war in the Pacific but what was the turning point in the European theater? (an article I just read claims the 6/6/1944 Normandy invasion was.... but I don't buy it)
    Yeah - that article was trying to be respectful for the anniversary, I'm sure. But no way.

    Stalingrad. No question. Though the Battle of Britain argument here is a solid one.
    Last edited by Dr.Gently; 6th June 2012 at 01:08 PM.

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    Senior Member Dr.Gently's Avatar
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    I'm really surprised to see The Battle of Midway as the turning point of The Pacific.

    There were hugely significant successes and failures on both sides well into 1944, and even 45.

    Perhaps that means the Pacific Ocean, and not the entire Asian theatre. But the two are completely intertwined. They're not seperate theatres.


    The Allies experienced mixed fortunes in mainland Asia. In March 1944, the Japanese launched the first of two invasions, an operation against British positions in Assam, India, and soon besieged Commonwealth positions at Imphal and Kohima. In May 1944, British forces mounted a counter-offensive that drove Japanese troops back to Burma, and Chinese forces that had invaded northern Burma in late 1943 besieged Japanese troops in Myitkyina. The second Japanese invasion attempted to destroy China's main fighting forces, secure railways between Japanese-held territory and capture Allied airfields. By June, the Japanese had conquered the province of Henan and begun a renewed attack against Changsha in the Hunan province
    By the start of July 1944, Commonwealth forces in Southeast Asia had repelled the Japanese sieges in Assam, pushing the Japanese back to the Chindwin River while the Chinese captured Myitkyina. In China, the Japanese were having greater successes, having finally captured Changsha in mid-June and the city of Hengyang by early August.Soon after, they further invaded the province of Guangxi, winning major engagements against Chinese forces at Guilin and Liuzhou by the end of November and successfully linking up their forces in China and Indochina by the middle of December.

    In the Pacific, American forces continued to press back the Japanese perimeter. In mid-June 1944 they began their offensive against the Mariana and Palau islands, and decisively defeated Japanese forces in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. These defeats led to the resignation of Japanese Prime Minister Tōjō and provided the United States with air bases to launch intensive heavy bomber attacks on the Japanese home islands. In late October, American forces invaded the Filipino island of Leyte; soon after, Allied naval forces scored another large victory during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, one of the largest naval battles in history
    April to June 1945 (Borneo, Burma, Battle of West Hunan, landing in the Philipines, Iwo Jima) was really the only point where one would get the sense that the Allies were "winning" instead of "holding their own".

    But there's no real "turning point". I think it's just a gradual diminishment of the Japanese ability to fight on so many fronts with unreliable resources, and the gradual increase in Allied people, machines, ships, positioning and the diversion of energy towards the Pacific after the landings in Normandy feed up Atlantic / European assets.

    A war of attrition - of material and resources and men.

    Maybe the most important turning point of the Pacific was Pearl Harbour. Once the US actively joined the war Japan's fate was sealed. The pre-US Allies had no way of waging a prolonged war in the Pacific ocean. Before PH it was the Japanese who would win a prolonged war and the allies who had limited resources and more people than guns and uniforms to give them. The roles reversed once the US joined. Suddenly the allies had two fronts capable of harassment and attack, and the Japanese were pressed for resources for the long haul.

    I'd say Pearl Harbour. They gambled on 'foreigners' not having the strength of will for a long, bloody war, and shot themselves in the foot.
    Last edited by Dr.Gently; 6th June 2012 at 01:44 PM.

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    Senior Member Dr.Gently's Avatar
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    Man - check out this chart on WW2 deaths.

    The allies lost more than double the number of civilians as soldiers.

    More than double!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wo...asualties2.svg

    The safest place to be in an allied country was in uniform.

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    Senior Member Devil505's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.Gently View Post
    I'm really surprised to see The Battle of Midway as the turning point of The Pacific.

    There were hugely significant successes and failures on both sides well into 1944, and even 45.

    Perhaps that means the Pacific Ocean, and not the entire Asian theatre. But the two are completely intertwined. They're not seperate theatres.






    April to June 1945 (Borneo, Burma, Battle of West Hunan, landing in the Philipines, Iwo Jima) was really the only point where one would get the sense that the Allies were "winning" instead of "holding their own".

    But there's no real "turning point". I think it's just a gradual diminishment of the Japanese ability to fight on so many fronts with unreliable resources, and the gradual increase in Allied people, machines, ships, positioning and the diversion of energy towards the Pacific after the landings in Normandy feed up Atlantic / European assets.

    A war of attrition - of material and resources and men.

    Maybe the most important turning point of the Pacific was Pearl Harbour. Once the US actively joined the war Japan's fate was sealed. The pre-US Allies had no way of waging a prolonged war in the Pacific ocean. Before PH it was the Japanese who would win a prolonged war and the allies who had limited resources and more people than guns and uniforms to give them. The roles reversed once the US joined. Suddenly the allies had two fronts capable of harassment and attack, and the Japanese were pressed for resources for the long haul.

    I'd say Pearl Harbour. They gambled on 'foreigners' not having the strength of will for a long, bloody war, and shot themselves in the foot.
    Most historians see Midway as the clear turning point of the Pacific war.
    Here's a good article on it Battle of Midway - World War II Battle of Midway - Battle of Midway US Navy

    From that link:

    World War II: Battle of Midway - Turning Point in the Pacific

    By Kennedy Hickman, About.com Guide
    Battle of Midway - Aftermath:
    On the night of June 4th, both sides retired to plan their next move. By 02:55, Yamamoto ordered his fleet to return to base. In the following days, American aircraft sunk the cruiser Mikuma, while the Japanese submarine I-168 torpedoed and sank the disabled Yorktown. The defeat at Midway broke the back of the Japanese carrier fleet and resulted in the loss of invaluable air crews. It also marked the end of major Japanese offensive operations as the initiative passed to the Americans. That August, US Marines landed on Guadalcanal and began the long march to Tokyo.

    Battle of Midway - Casualties:


    US Pacific Fleet Losses
    •340 killed
    •Aircraft Carrier USS Yorktown
    •Destroyer USS Hammann
    •145 aircraft


    Imperial Japanese Navy Losses
    •3,057 killed
    •Aircraft Carrier Akagi
    •Aircraft Carrier Kaga
    •Aircraft Carrier Soryu
    •Aircraft Carrier Hiryu
    •Heavy Cruiser Mikuma
    •228 aircraft


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