World War 2 is compared to the Iraq War in this web site. But, the Iraq War is not really comparable to World War II as conservatives suggest. Many conservatives justify the Iraq War by drawing comparisons between it and World War 2. It has long been argued that if Hitler had been stopped in the 30's instead of being appeased by giving him Austria and Czechoslovakia without a fight, he might have been stopped early on and the Second World War might have been prevented.
The present argument regarding the two wars starts with the assumption that, in 2003, Saddam Hussein was equivalent to Adolf Hitler in the 30's. If the U.S. didn't act to destroy Iraq and unseat Saddam Hussein, then Saddam would be a Hitler-sized threat against the U.S. and the rest of the world. Like Hitler, like Saddam! A preemptive strike against Iraq was needed. Or so goes the conservative logic!
Hence, the U.S. invasion of Iraq!
Saddam Hussein Compared to Hitler. The above comparison equilibrating the supposed threat of Saddam Hussein with the very real threat of Adolf Hitler is pure baloney in my opinion.
You can throw in the threat posed by the late Osama Bin Laden into the mix with Saddam Hussein and you still don't approach the threat of an Adolf Hitler. Saddam was a bad man and Osama was even worse, but neither man is worthy of the attention given them. Below, I will present an item by item explanation for my conclusions.
a. Germany - Overview. The Germany of the late 30's was one of the most modern nations, technologically speaking, on the face of the earth. The population of Germany was about seventy million. German citizens were well educated and fairly well motivated for war due to resentment against France and other western nations for forcing heavy World War I reparations on them. Also, Adolf Hitler had stoked the people's resentments during his rise to power.
b. Iraq - Overview. Iraq, in 2003 when the Iraq War began, was not a technologically advanced nation although they were ahead of most third world countries in this regard. The population of Iraq was about twenty-five million which is about 1/10th that of the United States. The Iraqi citizens were not highly educated, although, again, they were somewhat better educated than most other Mid-East countries.
As far as the motivation of the Iraqi people for the Iraq War, it was not high - the Iraqi people, if left alone, are not a quarrelsome people. The 10 year war with Iran and the first Iraq War in 1991 (Desert Storm) with the U.S. and U.N. had taken a lot of the fight out of them. The common Iraqi citizen certainly had no quarrel with the United States although many were a little miffed about the U.N. sanctions that had been in place against Iraq since the first Iraq War ended in 1992.
In summary, the two countries of Germany and Iraq were totally unalike. Germany was a larger, much more technologically advanced country than Iraq. Germany was capable of fighting a major war - World War 2. Iraq was not even capable of competently fighting a small war - The Iraq War!
Hitler was a political genius who very nearly conquered all of Europe in World War 2. He was open to new military ideas and, even though he was only an enlisted soldier in World War I, he had good common sense when it came to planning military campaigns. He often had a better sense of war strategy than did his more educated generals (and sometimes, he didn't!). Some very innovative military ideas, e.g., Blitzkrieg, and use of air power to support ground troops, were largely developed or approved by Hitler and his staff. Hitler was also excellent in waging psychological warfare.
Hitler had some fine generals on his staff. Three of his generals - Guderian, Rommel, and Von Manstein - rank with the top generals to ever lead troops in battle in any war. And the German soldier was an excellent soldier. Hitler also had some brilliant but ruthless civilian leaders: Goering, Goebbles, Speer, Borman, and Himmler.
Saddam was no budding Hitler. In the words of General Norman Schwarzkopf spoken during the First Iraq War, Hussein "is neither a strategist nor is he schooled in the operational art, nor is he a tactician, nor is he a general." A truly ringing indictment from a general who actually had the attributes mentioned!
Also, Saddam Hussein had neither generals nor civilian leaders that distinguished themselves during the Iraq War of 2003, unless "Baghdad Bob" is given that honor. (Baghdad Bob will no doubt eventually become a U.S. TV comedian.)
To paraphrase the common sports expression, Saddam Hussein was not fit to carry Hitler's jock strap. To paraphrase an expression used in a famous Vice-Presidential election debate of a decade or so ago, "Saddam Hussein, you are no Adolf Hitler!" The conservatives look ridiculous when they put Saddam in the same camp with Hitler.
Military leadership and innovation have already been discussed above and Hitler was seen to have plenty of both and Saddam Hussein little of either. Except for the Republican Guard divisions and other special units, the Iraq Army did not seem too interested in fighting in either of the Iraq wars with the U.S./UN. Of course, in both Iraq wars, the Iraqi Army was badly outgunned by their opponents and, it would have been akin to suicide for them to really try to put up a fight.
In one area - tank warfare - the Germans were masters in World War 2 and won many battles with this weapon including the Blitzkrieg against France in 1940. The Iraqis, who had quite a force of tanks, showed little skill with the weapons in the two desert wars with the U.S. It should be noted, of course, the open terrain of Iraq coupled with the presence of the unchallenged U.S. Air Force made Iraq's tanks sitting duck targets in both Iraq wars so, maybe, the Iraqis shouldn't be blamed for this failure. (For more information of tactics used by the Germans in World War 2, go to Blitzkrieg,
The German Air Force was cleverly deployed by the Germans early in World War 2 and their planes worked well in support of their advancing army. As far as the Iraq Air Force is concerned, it made only a token appearance in the first Iraq War and no appearance at all in the Iraq War of 2003. This nonappearance was despite the fact that Iraq has a goodly number of military aircraft.
One of the startling things found in Iraq after the war was a dozen or so of Soviet Union's finest fighter jets buried in the Iraqi desert. Why Saddam Hussein buried these aircraft is still a mystery. Why buy them if you are not planning to use them? Hitler would have never committed such an act! And former President Bush compared Saddam Hussein to Hitler!!
If Charley Chaplin, who did such a great job of portraying Hitler in the movie, The Little Dictator, were alive and still acting, he would be ashamed to play the role of such a small-timer as Saddam Hussein.
Only in the area of mistreatment of fellow humans, can Saddam Hussein be fairly compared to Adolf Hitler. Hitler had his concentration camps and Saddam had his prisons, e. g., the notorious Abu Ghraib prison made even more notorious by the recent behavior of American guards toward Iraqi prisoners.
Still, even Saddam's sadistic behavior toward his people pales besides Hitler's slaughter of millions of Jews, Gypsies, mental incompetents, and just about anyone he didn't agree with or just wanted to get rid of. Saddam killed thousands but Hitler killed millions.
See German Battles of World War 2 for more information on the German military in World War 2.
In view of the above information, it is clear that those who compare the Iraq War with World War 2, are either poorly informed or are blowing smoke at anyone naive enough to be listening to them. Rest assured, the "experts" doing the comparison have an ulterior motive for spreading the nonsense that the two wars are in any way comparable or that Saddam Hussein and Adolf Hitler are, in any way, comparable when it comes to who was most dangerous to the world.
1. Iraq War - World War 2 Comparison. A Squidoo lens comparing the Iraq War With World War 2.
2. Germany in World War 2. Causes, major events, and strategies of World War 2.
The Iraq War is not in the same league as World War 2, and Saddam Hussein was no Hitler, and the comparisons being made between the Iraq War and World War 2 are ridiculous. World War 2 was a great struggle mainly between Germany and Japan on one side and the U.S., Britain, and Russia on the other side. Over a hundred other countries were involved in World War 2. By contrast, only a handful of countries are involved in the Iraq War and Iraq was a weak country - unlike Germany - to begin with. There is no legitimate comparison between World War 2 and the Iraq War.
Last Updated: 05/04/13