While I've read plenty of books and watched plenty of specials on WW2, I still can learn new details of that era. Having recently completed Speer's "Inside the Third Reich", I am completely of the mind that the thing that spared us was Hitler and the Nazi leadership's stupidity. Speer wrote the memoirs years after the fact, but other sources back him up. The Nazi leaders would say the war was a life or death struggle yet they wouldn't use 2nd and 3rd shifts at their factories or employ women to free up more men. Hitler had trench experience but was trapped in his WW1 mindset, and no one pushed him about this. The fools were constantly playing court politics and maximizing their empires in the Reich durign wartime. They had no focus or sense of urgency with the war. It was as if the war was a steady thing that would always be fought while they amassed fortunes and mini-empires. Speers memoirs offer some interesting details of life in the higher echelons of power in Nazi Germany. While they liked their classical music and works of art, they were at their core petty politicians and gangsters. This is an interesting read even if some parts come across as self serving. Speer had a unique relationship with Hitler so with Speer's survival it is an interesting window into that madman's mind.
I've blogged about how Hitler could've been stopped before WW2 began and how Hitler could've won. Previously, I was of the mindset that once Hitler messed with Russia, he was done. Had he approached Russia differently, he might have won and maybe, just maybe, had he not declared war on the USA, he might've won. Those are extended what ifs. Having read Speer's book, let's be thankful that the Party leadership were politically adroit and skilled but not well suited for modern warfare. Hitler himself was too mypoic and stuck in the past, but other leaders had no sense of full commitment tot he war. The Germans did not exceed their production of 1918!!! Statistics prove that Speer boosted production despite Allied bomings. When people say Allied bombings had no effect on German production that's a half truth. Yes, production increased, but it is like comparing two different economies (pre-Speer/post-Speer). Had he been in charge of armaments in '39 rather than '42 (after the war was lost), I do think the Germans would have either knocked out the UK and settled or knocked out the UK and then knocked out Russia. Knowing how hell bent Hitler was on dominating all of Europe to the Urals, a fight with the USSR was going to happen. Without Allied bombings and UK/US production arming the Soviets, the USSR would've lost. We'd be discussing the ongoing Cold War with Nazi Germany right now. Thankfully, we are currently discussing the financial shenanigans of the big bankers with regards to the latest German power grab in Europe.