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Most Incompetent Nation in WW2?

Debate Information

Although most would probably say Italy, France would have to be the most incompetent given their massive failures during the war.



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    Arguments


  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 4800 Pts   -  
    Soviet Union.

    To start, Stalin executed, by various estimates, over 30,000 high-ranked generals several years prior to the war with Germany, understanding very well that such a war was likely to soon occur - his paranoia caused him to execute everyone, left and right, based on the smallest suspicions that they might not fully approve of him.

    Then, during the war, the mismanagement was unbelievable, with "barrier troop" groups ordered to shoot at friendlies fleeing the battlefield, and with soldiers taken right from the front into Gulag for no reason all the time - did not exactly help the moral. As a result, the combat strategy was typically very simple: "Everyone run forward and fight to the death!" Despite winning the war, the ratio of Soviet casualties to the German ones was high, despite the extreme advantage in numbers and territory.

    It is no surprise that so many Soviet soldiers who happened to be outside Soviet Union by the end of war chose to never come back, staying instead in Western countries by requesting an asylum (which was typically promptly given, in recognition of their accomplishments during the war).
    Debater123
  • Debater123Debater123 601 Pts   -  
    @MayCaesar You have a point which I agree with, the Soviet Union won because despite Stalin rather than because of him. However, the Soviet Union did beat their opponents, something Italy and France never achieved. I personally believe France should be thought of as the most incompetent nation, because, despite having a far more powerful and larger navy, air force, and army, they managed to lose in a matter of two weeks. To give an example of their incompetence:

    Maurice Gamelin, in fact, he refused to use telephones because of the danger of it being intercepted and being used by the enemy, instead, all messages to him and from him were through standard messengers, which generally took hours, as shown from the delayed reaction when the Germans began breaking through in the Ardennes, it would take hours for any information to be given to high command, and then orders to be given back to the front line. In effect, this meant the Germans could've easily broken through french forces due to the lack of organization. This was a large factor to the defeat in the battle of France, a lack of proper communication.
    piloteer
  • I do not think this is something that can be quantified. Way too many variables.
    Dee



  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 4800 Pts   -  
    @Debater123

    I do not think that incompetence should be measured in the binary result alone, but also in the costs of that result. There is a famous quote usually attributed to Plutarch: "If we are victorious in one more battle with the Romans, we shall be utterly ruined." It is possible to win a war in an extremely inefficient way, and that is what Soviet Union does.

    Yes, France collapsed very quickly - but that was due to terrible mismanagement, while trying to, at least, do something. Soviet Union was unique in that it took active action against its own people, doing the job of Germans, Italians and Japanese for them. It is not often that a strong military power willingly decimates its own forces, and that is precisely what Stalin was doing.

    Given the Soviet resources, manpower, influence, etc., it should have stomped over Germany. Instead the war dragged on for 4 years, and still the Germans managed to lose far fewer soldiers than the Soviets.

    The only comparable level of incompetence in human history I am aware of is the display of the Cambodian forces during the war with Vietnam in 70-s. Those guys had no plan at all, other than, "Let us just start shooting at them and see what happens". Having only untrained simpletons with outdated rifles on their side, they somehow could not figure out that fighting a strong military full of grizzled veterans, tanks and bomber jets was a losing proposition!
  • Debater123Debater123 601 Pts   -   edited February 2021
    @MayCaesar

    France was considered to have the strongest army in Europe in 1939, and yet, despite them having a larger and more powerful army and airforce, they managed to lose in just two weeks. Whilst the soviet union fought for 4 and won. Not only that, the Soviet Union only really failed during the first year of the war, while France and Italy failed throughout their entire lifespan within the war.

    I would also like to address your point of inefficiency.
    The whole Russian doctrine at this point was very similar to China's:
    It was to throw men at the enemy until they broke. The Russians never had any regard for casualties, so 'incompetence' in this respect should be expected.

    To quote Georgy Zhukov in this respect(Who was considered to be among the best generals during the Second World https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgy_Zhukov):
    "If we come to a minefield, our infantry attacks exactly as it were not there."

    Also, if we are to talk about inefficiency, I would say that China would contend with the soviet union in this respect, their Casualties were monstrous, and their military blunders were far worse than the USSR.
  • piloteerpiloteer 1547 Pts   -  
    @MayCaesar

    @Debater123 made a good point. Your argument does nothing but add credence to the argument that the Soviet Union was actually very competent. In spite of an absolutely incompetent leader, the people who made up the Soviet Union were still capable of battling a fierce invasion coupled with an extreme winter, and a total lack of resources, ammunition, food, and gasoline, and beat back the Germans and eventually take Berlin. There are definitely no apps for that!! The Soviet Union fought valiantly, and did so with the added burden of knowing that their suffering would not end even after the war was over.         
    Debater123
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