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Neither the British or American armies did this, meaning that strengths were not utilised as well as in the Wehrmacht, and contributed to the overwhelming successes that the Axis forces enjoyed early in the war. As such, they would have been somewhat used to warfare, but an antiquated, out-dated version of warfare compared to the German ‘blitzkrieg’ style. Italy had entered World War One on the side of Great Britain and France in 1915, and despite the fact that they picked the ‘winning side’, they suffered immense losses in the war, and came out with next to no reward in the Treaty of Versailles.Under the moniker of the Royal Italian Army, the Italian armed forces served in World War Two until September 1943, when the Italian Government signed an armistice with the Allies. This led to a feeling of resentment towards the countries that later became the Allied Powers in World War Two, and may well have been the driving force within the Royal Italian Army, from Mussolini down to the soldiers at the ground level.Roughly 20 million persons were active in the German Army at various points in World War Two.The Wehrmacht was a particularly well-oiled machine; the 1936-1939 Spanish Civil War allowed Hitler time to try out his new army, and refine any issues that were apparent.
The Wehrmacht had a particular edge of the British and American armies in that soldiers underwent thorough examinations to determine which posting would suit their capabilities best, meaning that each division of the armed forces was made up by the people who could perform the best. Little rearmament, retraining, or modernising of equipment had been done in the years since World War One, meaning that the R. Typical soldiers in the Royal Italian Army would have served in the campaigns prior to World War Two, such as those in Spain and Africa. They did have something to fuel their spirits: a deep-set sense of betrayal by the Allies.
The average German soldier was a graduate of the Hitler Youth, participation in which was compulsory after 1936.
They would have been taught that Germans belonged to a superior race of human, and the German soldiers believed this to varying degrees.
As such, whilst the ‘typical’ soldier in the British Army would have been British, a large proportion of the entire Army was international.
Because of the insecure state of the army prior to the outbreak of war, the first soldiers to serve in 1939 were not adequately trained or prepared for a conflict of this scale, and thus the army was quite a weak contribution to the Allied effort to begin with.