While the Allied forces during World War 2 eventually won the war, they made many considerable mistakes along the way. Rarely do we remember or care about the mistakes of the victors, but valuable lessons can be gleaned from them nevertheless. From the policy of appeasement to dropping the ball at Dunkirk to the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Allies were clearly not perfect and made plenty of mistakes along the road to victory. So, what were they? Well, get ready to go back in time, here are 25 Mistakes The Allies Made In World War 2.
The Failure of Appeasement
In the pre-war period of World War 2, Britain and France took on a policy of appeasement to stave off war. Knowing the European democracies didn’t want war, Hitler pushed their limits to see how much he could get away with. This policy became notorious when English Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain met with Hitler at Berchtesgaden and, without consulting the Czech government, essentially gave Hitler all of the Sudetenland. He came back to England declaring “Peace in our time,” but only made things worse. Hitler eventually dismembered all of Czechoslovakia.
Underestimating the Japanese
American racists’ beliefs about the Japanese were a big reason they weren’t ready for them before Pearl Harbor. American magazines and newspapers considered them inept, technologically backward, and “funny” people. They also thought they were physiologically incapable of being good aviators and that their inner ear was askew because their big sisters would bounce them around on their back.
Failure to Anticipate the German Blitz
Despite clear signs that Hitler was about to invade France through the Ardennes, France, and other Allied leaders totally ignored them, not believing Hitler would do it. Failure to anticipate Hitler’s actions led to one of the most devastating military defeats in the 20th century with Hitler unleashing a panzer offensive known as the blitzkrieg. Seven weeks later, Hitler toured Paris for the first time, taking a picture in front of the Eiffel Tower. To spite them, he forced France to surrender in the same carriage that Germany surrendered 22 years before.
The Failure to Attack Germany after They Invaded Poland
England and France assured Poland they would be protected if invaded, yet on September 1st, 1939, Germany invaded Poland and decimated their military with more than 2,000 tanks and 1,000 planes. Within 27 days, Warsaw surrendered. While England and France declared war on Germany in retaliation, they effectively did nothing afterward. The declaration was meaningless, and Poland ultimately remained occupied by Nazi forces until 1945.
Seizing the Initiative at Anzio
On January 22, 1944, British and American troops carried out an amphibious landing on the shores of Italy near Anzio and Nettuno. The German resistance was so light they were able to complete many of their objectives early, moving four miles inland that night. Clearly, the Germans were not ready for the invasion. However, rather than taking the initiative and moving further in toward Rome, the Allies waited and prepared. This proved costly and allowed the German commanders to prepare and lead a much more effective assault, resulting in four months of some of the bloodiest fighting in the war.