During World War 2, the Axis Powers consisted of: Nazi Germany, Italy, Japan, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. The Axis powers were defeated in the second World War because of 6 main reasons.
1. The first reason was that there was a shortage of raw materials among the Axis powers. Both Italy and Japan had to import their supplies and the Germans were running short on rubber, cotton and nickel (and also oil, after mid-1944).
2. The second reason was the the Allied forces had learnt from their early failures. For instance, by 1942 the Allied forces knew how to check for Blitzkrieg attacks and had also learnt the importance of air support and aircraft carriers. Hence they built up an air and naval war machine which won numerous battles in the Atlantic and the Pacific, slowly starving their enemies of their supplies.
3. The third reason was that the Axis powers took on too much opposition. Adolf Hitler did not understand that by war against Britain would involve the entire British empire. In addition, Hitler’s forces were spread too thinly-this is because he had troops on the Russian front, both sided of the Mediterranean and on the French western coastline. The Japanese also made the same mistake, in the words of the military historian Liddell-Hart: “they became stretched out far beyond their basic capacity for holding their gains. For Japan was a small island state with limited industrial power” Furthermore, Mussolini was also one to blame as his incompetence was a constant drain on Hitler’s resources.
4. The fourth reason was that the combined resources of the United State e resources of the allied forces was so vast that the longer the war raged on the lesser the chance the Axis forces had of victory. The Soviets swiftly moved their industry to east of the Ural Mountains and by doing so they were able to continue production despite the Germans occupying vast areas in the west. By 1945, the Soviets had four times as many tanks than compared to the Germans, furthermore being able to deploy twice as many troops as the Germans. Meanwhile when the American war machine had reached its peak production rate, they were able to deploy 70000 tanks and 120000 aircraft per year, this rate was at such a speed that the Germans and Japanese could not compete with.
5. The fifth reason was that the Axis forces had made some serious tactical errors, which were;
- The Japanese did not know about the importance of aircraft carriers and instead concentrated too much on producing battleships
- Hitler should have defeated Britain before focusing on the Soviet Union. The result of Hitler’s error was that his forces were fighting a war on two fronts. In addition, the invasion plans for Britain were very vague and improvised, underestimating the strength of the British forces
- Hitler had failed to provide the correct resources for a treacherous winter campaign in Russia and had also completely underestimated the the Soviet resourcefulness and determination. For instance, the deeper the German forces marched into the Soviet territory, the more exposed they became to counter attacks. Another mistake by Hitler was that he had become obsessed with the idea that the German army must not retreat, leading to many disasters, especially in the battle of Stalingrad, also having effects in Normandy.
- Hitler had declared war on the United States after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour
- Hitler had concentrated on the production of V-rockets rather than jet aircraft, which could have benefited the German air force, by restoring its air-superiority
6. The sixth and final reason was that the Nazi racial policy in the German occupied territories in the USSR, had alienated many of the conquered people, who (with adequate treatment and respect) could have been recruited to fight against the Soviets.
Therefore, the defeat of the Axis powers can be summaries by the: shortage of raw materials, the allies learning from their mistakes, the Axis powers having too much opposition, the vast combined resources of the Allied powers and the critical tactical errors.