Analysis shows how Putin's flawed decisions are similar to the ones that led to Hitler's demise

Analysis shows how Putin's flawed decisions are similar to the ones that led to Hitler's demise
Putin/Shutterstock

While Russian President Vladamir Putin believes he's made the right call by invading Ukraine, one analysis is explaining why that may not be the case. CNN analyst John Blake recently penned a detailed assessment of Hitler's downfall.

Pointing to historical timelines, history professors are highlighting how Putin's decisions are relatively similar to the same ones German dictator Adolph Hitler made during Operation Barbarossa, the mission he led when the German army invaded the Soviet Union.

Peter T. DeSimone, a Utica University, New York associate professor with a focus on Russian and Eastern European history, noted that he'd been attempting to assess the situation since the onset of the Ukrainian invasion. "I have been trying to make sense of this for a month because as terrible as Putin is, you could never say he was illogical," said DeSimone.

According to DeSimone, not only is it "illogical, but it's also scary. "All of this is illogical, and that's the scary thing," he said. "This is not normal for what he's done in the past. This is something that makes no sense on many levels, and not just in regard to World War II."

Ian Ona Johnson, a University of Notre Dame professor who studies military history, offered his assessment of Putin's strategy and thought process and what it suggests about his outlook on the invasion.

"The evidence suggests that Putin thought he could win a quick victory with the deployment of special forces and airborne units," said Johnson. "So when they were forced to go to a much more traditional war involving essentially most of the Russian army along the Ukrainian border, they weren't prepared for some of the logistics."

According to Johnson, Hitler made a number of mistakes and ultimately his flawed logistical planning contributed to his army's defeat. In the CNN analysis, Blake highlighted the Hitler's flawed leadership.

"Poor logistical planning also played a critical role in Nazi Germany's defeat on the Eastern front, where Hitler expected a quick victory," Blake explained. "The German army failed to set up sufficient supply lines for the vast distances and harsh terrain of the Soviet Union. German tanks ran out of fuel. The consequences of this poor logistical planning would prove fatal when the Russian winter hit."

He added, "Hitler didn't equip many of his soldiers with winter clothing because he thought the Soviet army was so inferior. German soldiers were forced to fight in freezing temperatures while still clad in their summer uniforms, with some using newspaper and straw to shield themselves against the cold."

Johnson also explained how the winter ultimately devastated the German army. "This proved devastating when a particularly brutal Russian winter set in," Johnson said. "Something like 250,000 German soldiers eventually suffered frostbite injuries or died from the cold that winter because of logistical issues."

Blake also highlighted a number of mistakes Putin also appears to be making. He noted that the Russian authoritarian's decisions suggest he has "forgotten a basic rule of warfare." He also criticized Putin's use of "Hitler-like language to justify war" while alienating political allies.

However, he believes the irony of it all centers on an essay Putin penned last summer titled, "On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians." According to Blake, it "sought to explain that there was an artificial division between the two countries and that 'true sovereignty of Ukraine is possible only in partnership with Russia.'"

So, what lies ahead? Historians aren't sure. "We don't know how the war in Ukraine will end," Blake wrote. "Putin could still prevail. He could split the nation and seize the energy-rich resources of Eastern Ukraine and consolidate his hold on the country's coastline, some say."

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