Review of the volumes of literature on the defeat of Hitler’s Third Reich by Allied forces during WWII fundamentally come to the same conclusions. Hitler was delusional as a military leader for one (Sunday Mercury, 2009). A major fault in Hitler’s military leadership was his belief that victory on the battlefield could be attained merely through the power of his own will… Hitler was convinced that if his will could be felt by the youngest soldier on the battlefield, they too would understand the significance of his decisions and success would certainly be achieved (Braunbeck, 1997, p. 14).” This foundation of Hitler’s military decision making connected to his will super ceded any consideration of the essential aspect of making decisions according to the situation—something both victorious and defeated military leaders throughout history ascribed (Stephenson, 2004; Steinacher, 2013; Overy, 2011; Nipe, 1998; O’Connell, 2014; Ray, 1997). Hitler’s view of himself as all powerful as a god allows a better understanding of his attitude (Waite, 1993). Hitler’s military decision making literally eliminated this leadership characteristic. “And with that Hitler turned his back on reality (Braunbeck, 1997, p. 14).” The following research, assessment, and discussion considers the extent of the poor strategies and tactics that led to the defeat of Hitler. It begins with Hitler’s poor decision-making practices resulting in poor strategic planning, the effect of the Allied strategic planning on Hitler
Hitler’s Poor Decision Making
All the while in power, Hitler’s effort to prove a leader of decisiveness with meticulous planning of each step in his military movements as a part of a grand strategy was the farthest from the truth of his behaviour. Procrastination was Hitler’s typical response to difficult decision making. This would go on for days and even weeks before resolving a situation by announcing his decision. He sought solitude during these periods—even from his immediate staff. The records show his field marshals’ frustration with this stalled behaviour. Particularly so, when the urgency of situations demanding a timely manner in committing German forces to battle intended at forestalling an enemy operational success as well as prevention of any exploitation according to Braunbeck (1997). Further, “The General Staff had to struggle with Hitler for days on end before it could get forces released from less-threatened sectors of the front to be sent to a crisis spot (Braunbeck, 1997, p. 16).”

You're lucky! Use promo "samples20"
and get a custom paper on
"The Extent Of The Poor Tactics And Strategies That Led To The Defeat Of Hitler"
with 20% discount!
Order Now

Decision making on the part of Hitler lacked logic or any type of well-thought-out manner. Hitler’s decision-making process was the opposite of the logical method. He failed in gathering facts for determining possible alternatives to issue which meant he could not consider advantages or disadvantages of any alternative since they did not exist. Intuition or some other means for reaching decisions found Hitler then and only then gathering any pertinent facts supporting his decision. “Once his decision was made, it was almost impossible to change his mind. If anyone dared challenge Hitler’s decision or judgment, he would become very angry and at times break into a rage, thus preventing any further discussion on the matter (Braunbeck, 1997, p. 16).”

Poor Strategic Planning
Fazil (2010) explains how Hitler’s poor decision making process pragmatically led to poor strategic planning. This was fundamental to losing the war because of the lack of both alliance and military levels of strategic planning. While the early years of the war were tactically and operationally successful for Hitler, the situations were vastly different. His continued behaviour in poor decision-making ergo poor strategic planning after the Allied Forces became involved in the last part of the war years watched Hitler’s armies fall. Without securing decisive and swift strategic victories Germany’s military fell like lined up dominos. The attack on the Soviet Union proved the prime example of Hitler’s shortcomings leading to the defeat of Germany.

The Soviets and the Eastern Front
Duffy (1991, p. 74) explains:
At first blush the German invasion of the Soviet Union appeared to be a stunning success, with one victory after another as Hitler’s forces pushed relentlessly east. But the invasion carried with it the seeds of its own defeat: Hitler’s personal interference in the planning and course of the campaign. By the time the Soviet invasion was launched, Hitler had taken such complete control of the German army that German generals mockingly joked, ‘You can’t move the sentry from the window to the door without Hitler’s permission.’

The debate continues among historians about Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union as his worst tactical mistake. The common agreement sees the move as an important opportunity for Germany but in the end proved ruinous because of Hitler’s meddling and poor strategic decisions. Otherwise, even 60 years later there are analysist who believe Germany would have taken the Soviet Union in the end under Operation Barbarossa. “Hitler committed two of his costliest blunders before the invasion ever started…The first was launching a military operation of massive proportions while the German army was insufficiently prepared for such an ambitious undertaking, and then compounding the error by failing to understand the importance of Moscow as a primary target for the invasion forces (Duffy 1994, p. 74).”

Hitler’s constant failure to provide his army with money and time to prepare for any of the campaigns the Nazis undertook in their effort to rule the world despite warnings from his generals that the troops were unprepared for combat. An important aspect that remains true about Hitler’s victories, and constantly “he overlooked was that much of his success was a direct result of the inactions or errors of his opponents rather than his ability as a master strategist or tactician (Duffy, 1991, p. 74).”

The invasion of the Soviet Union paralleled Hitler’s earlier invasions with regard to the lack of overall preparedness. But this failing would have a dramatically different effect on both the war against the Soviet Union and the survival of the Third Reich. (Duffy, 1991, p. 76)

In the end, Hitler’s failure to have a strategic planning in understanding the need for intelligence reports for supervising the invasion of Russia proved disastrous. The German army was nearly completely lacking in any knowledge of the terrain they would cross to get to Moscow. The success Hitler had in the invasion of France was the result of dressing spies like tourists and obtaining national maps. This was not the case with the invasion of the USSR. It was not uncommon for the Germany army to lose their way. The size of the Soviet Army proved a drastic lesson since Hitler refused to listen to anyone advising and warning him. The money, the millions of soldiers and Soviet civilians that died during the German invasion of the USSR was a major factor in the final defeat of the Nazis. The other significant factor of the defeat of Hitler was the effect of Allied strategies.

The Effect of Allied Strategies
The allies defeated Hitler simply because they developed and used coherent strategies.
Germany proved self-serving as well as unwilling to attend to its national interests in order to develop basic strategic goals. Allied systems on the other hand operated from a centralized position where staff operated with broad powers for delegating responsibility. The imperfect but effective system bound the allies in a common strategic goal to defeat Hitler’s forces (Fazil, 2010).

Hitler’s lack of a grand strategy as part of the Axis Powers extensively contributed to Germany’s defeat in the end. Fixated on the military element, Germany (and her allies) lack of any consideration of other war instruments as a national power was another aspect of the fall of the Third Reich. Conversely, the successful strategies of the Allies despite some national interest conflicts was because France, England, the U.S., and Soviets were willing to overlook the differences with the common goal of defeating Germany. The synergistic aspects of the Allied forces proved the formula for victory (Fazil, 2010).

Germany faced defeat by late 1944 with the Soviets owning the Eastern front, and German cities were falling under the strategic bombing by Allied forces. The Italian peninsula was liberated with the capture of the German occupation by Allied forces and more Allied troops were rapidly advancing to liberate France coming in from west, to east. Hitler’s only recourse at this point was to attempt to slow the onslaught of the advancing Allied forces (The History Place, 2010; U.S., 2016).

Battle of the Bulge
Hitler’s Last Ditch Effort at Ardennes
The success of the American landing on German held Normandy in August of 1944, the allies sped across France to reach the Rhine River (Cockburn, 1994) and invade Germany. This meant facing a last-stand against a determined German front. This resulted in one of the most controversial and famous WWII show downs—the Battle of the Bulge (The History Place, 2010; U.S., 2016).

Called the Battle of the Bulge due to the map image of the battleground’s westward bulging shape, the fighting went on for six arduous weeks from mid-December 1944 to the end of January 1945. America’s direct participation proved the nation’s military forces in the largest land battle of World War II 500,000 soldiers making up nearly half of the total of allied and German forces totalling one million soldiers. The British presence was 55,000 soldiers (The History Place, 2010; U.S., 2016).

Hitler’s tactics or lack of showed him targeting the British-American alliance as an opportunity to split the alliance with an intentional surprise attack. Hitler believed by splitting up the British-American alliance the German army would be able to easily swing north where it would seize the important port of Antwerp cutting off Allied armies in the Western Front main supply base (The History Place, 2010; U.S., 2016).

With the onset of the German attack starting the Battle of the Bulge the great snowstorms proved problematic. The cold meant keeping trucks running every half hour keeping the oil from freezing, but little except for Allied soldiers urinating on their weapons helped keep them from freezing. Into January the weather proved the coldest on record with mounting casualties from exposure proved as large as those resulting in fighting. Germans wore white uniforms to blend with the snow. The December counterattack by American forces for the next 20 days took its toll on Germany with 23,000 losses. By January 7, 1945 the last of Germany’s reserves were spent and the western front of the German army was being pushed back by the Allies. In light of the majority of Germany’s casualties and the loss of its air force (Williamson, 2016; Hopkins, 2015; Ellis, 2012) Hitler had to face there was little in forces remaining to defend the Third Reich. A few months later, Hitler commits suicide, and Germany acknowledges defeat (The History Place, 2010; U.S., 2016).

The above research, analysis, and discussion successfully showed indeed the extent of the poor strategies and tactics that led to the defeat of Hitler was of his own doing. An egotistical, paranoid, and mentally ill human being, Hitler believed it was the essence of himself that was the only strategy needed to be victorious in the goal to rule the world. The most interesting aspect of his victories as revealed above was due to the errors of the enemy and not because of his ability as a military strategist.

  • Braunbeck. P. A. 1997. A Military Leadership Analysis of Adolf Hitler. [On line] Available: [Accessed September 4, 2016].
  • Cockburn, A. 1994, June 20. D-Day: Who Really Won the War? The Nation, 258:24: p. 860.
  • Duffy, J. P. 1991. Hitler Slept Late: And Other Blunders That Cost Him the War. New York: Praeger.
  • Ellis, S. D. 2012. Mission to Berlin: The American Airmen Who Struck the Heartland of Hitler’s Reich. Air Power History, 59:2: p. 45.
  • Fazil, M. D. 2010. Success and Defeat in the Second World War. Pointer, Journal of the Singapore Armed Forces. 40:3. [On line] Available: [Accessed September 4, 2016]
  • Hopkins, S. (2015). Forgotten Fifteenth: The Daring Airmen Who Crippled Hitler’s War Machine. Military Review, 95:2: p. 143.
  • House, J. M. 2014. The Drive on Moscow, 1941: Operation Taifun and Germany’s First Great Crisis in World War II. Military Review, 94:2: p. 84.
  • Nipe, G.M. 1998. Battle of Kursk: Germany’s Lost Victory in World War II. [On line] Available: [Accessed September 4, 2016].
  • O’Connell, J. F. 2014. Disarming Hitler’s Weapons. Air Power History, 61:2: p. 51
  • Overy, R. 2011. World War Two: How the Allies Won. [On line] Available: [Accessed September 4, 2016].
  • Ray, C. 1997. 1940-1941: Britain’s Finest Hour or Hitler’s Greatest Hoax? History Review, 27: p. 33.
  • Steinacher, G. (2013). The End: The Defiance and Destruction of Hitler’s Germany, 1944-1945. The Historian, 75:4: p.900.
  • Stephenson, S. (2004). HITLER’S VOLKSSTURM: The Nazi Militia and the Fall of Germany, 1944-1945. Military Review, 84:3.
  • The History Place. 2010. The Defeat of Hitler—Battle of the Bulge. [On line] Available: [Accessed September 4, 2016].
  • U.S. History. Com. 2016. Battle of the Bulge. © copyright 2016 [On line] Available: [Accessed September 4, 2016].
  • Waite, R. G. 1993. The Psychopathic God: Adolf Hitler. New York: Da Capo Press.
  • Sunday Mercury. 2009. What Cost Hitler the War? Book of the Week. 2009, September 6. Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England).
  • Williamson, M. 2016. Chapter v – Attrition on the periphery: November 1942-august 1943. [On line] Available: [Accessed September 4, 2016].