In the latest poll in our Underground Knowledge discussion group on Goodreads.com, we ask members Who was most responsible for defeating the Nazis? — and interim poll results show nearly two thirds of respondents (63%) nominate the Soviet Union ahead of the United States (20%) and Britain (17%).
Poll respondents’ comments make for interesting reading. Here’s a random sample:
When you consider just what the Soviet Union sacrificed to defy the Nazis, (out of the 60 million people who died in the war, 27 million were Soviets!), it’s hard to even consider the Nazis could have ever been defeated had the Soviets been neutral or sided against the Allies. Yes, America was crucial to winning the war also (and the US along with Britain made tremendous sacrifices too), but I think we’ve all been fed propaganda by Western historians to believe the US almost single-handedly won the war. In fact, I think it’s fair to say that the Allies wouldn’t have had a hope of even putting up much of a fight against the Nazis without the might of the Soviet Empire supporting them.
I totally agree. For all their faults, the Red Army won the war in Europe and was, according to some historians, also responsible for the Japanese surrender.
I think Great Britain, because they demoralised Germany and were fighting them on so many fronts. The number of human lives lost was not the deciding factor, so much as keeping Germany busy and too occupied to focus completely on one enemy at a time.
The history as we (in the USSR) were taught unequivocally claims that USSR borne most of the fighting burden, while allies help was appreciated but was far from decisive, as they were not involved in the ground battles in Europe until less than a last year of WW2. Soviet historians claim that Western Front was opened as late as 1944, when it became clear that USSR had been coming out with the upper hand and would clearly defeat the Nazis and Russian army would sweep through Europe. By then the prospective victory of the Soviet Army was evident.
I’m not sure of the exact estimates but I recall that the Soviets destroyed (killed or captured) 90 per cent of the Nazi forces. It may be less but it certainly was well over 50 per cent. I think they destroyed much of their air force as well.
Certainly the Soviets took heavy casualties, and I won’t doubt they might have been able to win without our help, but our eventual entry helped by splitting Germany’s forces. Hitler could not shift the bulk of his forces toward the East because of us just as he couldn’t throw them at us in the West because of the Soviet threat. As far as Britain, I’m not sure they could have defeated Hitler without the other two Allies, but they sure put up a hell of a fight before the US got involved.
Some insightful comments here; History is spun by the victors and it is different history in each nation…NOBODY wins by themselves, so that is the main lesson of history here. I would have liked to see Allies as a choice.
To view all the comments, or better still to have YOUR say, go to: https://www.goodreads.com/poll/list/142309-underground-knowledge—a-discussion-group?type=group
Poll ends March 31.