Hitler Slept Late: And Other Blunders That Cost Him the War
For those who subscribe to the theory that Hitler quite literally lost World War II through his own actions, or even inactions, will discover from the beginning some substantial flaws in the very composition of Hitler’s plan of the domination of other nations.
While many sources- including the introduction of this research- glibly state that Hitler was seeking to take over the world, the practical reality of such a goal is that it could not happen at the hands of any army that has ever picked up a weapon.
With this simple, indisputable fact in mind, the point comes to the forefront that Hitler lacked a strategic focus in his plans of domination. Hitler himself surely envisioned a scenario whereby he controlled the entire planet and placed everyone under Nazi rule, but realistically, beyond the nations of Europe which Hitler occupied, he simply could not have maintained any sense of control over, for example, Asia, the British Empire, and the like, not to mention North America.
Any type of hold that he would have on these additional territories would likely be short-lived, for Germany itself was a nation that was recovering from the brink of economic, military and political disaster when Hitler came to power and began his quest to overtake the rest of “the world”.
Another key factor that supports the sheer impossibility of Hitler’s occupation and domination of the world, at the time of World War II, lay in the form of the Empire of Japan.
It cannot be forgotten that one of the key reasons that Japan attacked the United States military installations at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, which was not part of the US at that time, was in retaliation for increased American involvement in the Philippines and other lands which Japan considered as their own.
Judging from the challenge that Japan threw at what was then the most powerful military machine in the world- the American military machine- it is highly probable, if not definite, that Japan eventually would have gone to war with Germany if Hitler had enjoyed any substantial level of success in World War II, for Hitler most certainly would have turned against Japan in a quest for total control of every nation of the world.
Perhaps, World War III would have come out of such a conflict, or perhaps the two powers would have literally destroyed each other, creating yet another power vacuum in the world stage. While all of this is theoretical, an important point is to be derived from the theory- Hitler’s grand plan, because of its lack of focus and resources, in hindsight appears to have been doomed from the start.
Hitler as His Own Worst Enemy
In April of 1945, as Hitler cowered in his underground bunker, occasionally enveloped in darkness as the bombs of his enemies knocked out the artificial power generators which gave Hitler a lifeline to the outside world, the thought surely must have occurred to him that he was to blame for much of what had come to pass.
The theory that Hitler may have been his own worst enemy is actually a fact, based upon research into writings that look into the psyche and personality of Hitler, as well as his leadership skills.
A fact that cannot be ignored is that by the mid 1930s, Hitler had already begun to lose some grip on the power that he held over the German people; this is proven by his defeats in the mid 1930s at the hands of the Poles and Czechs when he attempted to occupy the Rhineland (Duffy). It would not be until 1939 that Hitler would occupy Poland, and even in that, the seeds of his eventual demise were planted.
The reason for this can be found in a treaty which Hitler signed with Stalin of Russia, agreeing to share control of Poland with the Russians. Once Hitler took over Poland in 1939, he essentially pushed the Russians out of the picture, claimed all of Poland for Germany, and basically lit the fuse that began the process leading to a total European war some 2 years later (Duffy).
The negligence of the treaty with Russia on the part of Hitler not only makes the point that he was in fact his own worst enemy, but also presents another fascinating “what if”, which have become so popular among historians of late.
The “what if” concerns a possible outcome if Hitler had chosen to listen to others who counseled him to honor the treaty with Russia and share occupation of Poland. For the cost of a relatively small nation like Poland, Hitler would have gained, or retained to be more precise, the favor of Stalin and the Russian army, also a major military force to be reckoned with in the 1940s.
Therefore, if Russia were on the side of Germany once World War II came into full swing, it is a strong possibility that Hitler would have had the powerful ally that he so desperately needed in order to swing the outcome of the war to his favor. At the very least, it can be theorized; Hitler would not have found himself hiding underground from the explosions of Russian bombs and the bullets fired by Russian soldiers.
Earlier, it was eluded that Hitler, as part of being his own worst enemy, neglected in many cases to heed the advice of his staff, such as in the case of the occupation of Poland and the subsequent entanglements with Russia.
Hitler in fact had a second chance to avert war after his occupation of Poland, when he was given a deadline by Britain and the United States to vacate Poland or face possible military intervention. Hitler was counseled on the advantages of less involvement in Poland, yet even in the face of many consequences and few tangible benefits to be gained, he still stood on the insistence that he was right and that his approach to the issue of Poland was in fact the best course of action.
What can be said of a man who has a great deal of responsibility, the potential to change the course of world history, and will not seek the advice, or heed the advice, of others?
This is indicative, many would argue, of serious personality flaws, and this is something that is hard to argue. Perhaps one of the most shocking, almost to the point of being funny reasons that Hitler likely defeated himself is the fact that during the most pivotal moments of World War II, he slept- literally.
The title of the book which formed the thesis for this research actually has its basis in fact-Hitler did sleep late. While this in itself does not sound like much to discuss, it is when the fact that Hitler slept late is placed in the context of some of the most important, pivotal moments in the German war effort.
The most glaring of these exists in the June 6, 1944 Allied invasion of the beaches of Normandy- D-Day, as it has come to be known. On that day, as the German war machine sustained major damage, Hitler was nowhere to be found, as he had given explicit orders that he needed sleep and not to disturb him.
Additionally, once Hitler awoke and was told of the situation, accounts say that he was more concerned with entertaining visiting dignitaries than he was in responding to the attack; all of this occurred in the midst of additional information which indicates that Hitler knew the attacks were coming, and did very little to prepare for them or to respond once they came (Duffy).
The analysis of Hitler’s actions, inactions, attitude and skills make a compelling case for the defeat of Hitler by no other than Hitler himself. The old adage of those who do not learn from history being condemned to repeat it is highly fitting when one looks at Adolf Hitler; for he had at his disposal experienced leaders and resources, but he chose to, ultimately, defeat him.
While it is impossible to know what would have happened if Hitler triumphed, we now know, in conclusion, what happened because he did not.
- Duffy, James P. Hitler Slept Late: And Other Blunders That Cost Him the War. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1991.