Could Adolf Hitler have won the war of attrition? Actually, he could – and had he done so, the world most likely would have been a far, far better place than it actually was.
Blitzkrieg was over, but the Third Reich was still fighting a very much existential war with the Bolshevist Soviet Union. It was fighting not only for itself (i.e. for Germany), but also for Europe and for the whole Western civilization – to save “all of the above” from being conquered and destroyed by the “Red Plague”.
Which made Germany (even the Nazi Germany), Great Britain, the USA, key British Commonwealth nations (Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa) natural allies, not adversaries (that’s exactly why declaring war on Nazi Germany by Britain and France made no sense whatsoever). Adolf Hitler all but screamed about this on numerous occasions – but no one in power was listening.
By December 1941, Adolf Hitler acquired – via captured Soviet documents and just by counting men and equipment in the now-destroyed by Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS First Strategic Echelon of the Red Army – sufficient information to prove beyond the reasonable doubt that Stalin and his Soviet Union were, indeed, an existential threat to Great Britain, the USA, France, Europe and the whole Western civilization.
While the Nazi Germany was not. To prove the latter, Adolf Hitler should have immediately put an end to mass murder of Jews (it was politically impossible for Western democracies to become allies of a mass murderer); radically improve their well-being; fire (if necessary) Heinrich Himmler, Reinhard Heydrich and everyone else involved in the Holocaust; cancel plans for death camps; repeal Commissar Order, Severity Order and all similar orders and decrees (which caused far more harm than good anyway); radically improve the well-being of Soviet POWs; and, or course, radically change his occupation policies making them far more friendly to the population of the territories in question.
Then he should have made a (most likely secret) offer to Great Britain, the USA, Free French and the key British Commonwealth nations. An offer that would have been very difficult to resist.
Declare immediate armistice (on land, sea and in the air) between the Axis Powers (on the one hand) and Great Britain and its allies. Restore independence to all European nations (with the exception of the USSR components, of course) occupied by Nazi Germany (that will return to the 1914 borders of Imperial Germany).
Dissolve the existing Anti-Comintern Pact, taking the rabid imperialist Japan out of the picture (it was all pain, no gain anyway). Set up a new treaty – the Anti-Bolshevist Pact (ABP) – with Germany, Great Britain and the USA as founders and all European nations as members.
Which should have been done in 1919 in Versailles – and was done after the end of World War II. Only the name of the pact was different – the North Atlantic Treaty (which created NATO).
Partition the Lebensraum already won by the victorious Wehrmacht in the Soviet Union (i.e. German-controlled territories) between Germany, Great Britain, the USA, Italy, Romania and possibly France (something similar was done to the Ottoman Empire after the Great War).
The right person to deliver this proposal would have been not a diplomat, but a financier – Hjalmar Schacht. Ex-President of the Reichsbank; ex-Reich Minister of Economics; minister without portfolio in 1941, he would have been the only high-level Third Reich official who would have been acceptable to the West as the political negotiator.
For a number of reasons it would have been very difficult to persuade his vis-à-vis to accept this proposal. But certainly not impossible. Especially after Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and other British- and US-controlled territories in the Far East (fighting the war on one front is always preferable than fighting on two fronts).
And after the acceptance of this proposal by Great Britain and the USA (the British Commonwealth nations will, obviously follow suit right then and there) Stalin would have had no other choice but to sign first the armistice and then a full peace treaty, ceasing to Hitler all territories occupied by Germany as of winter of 1941.
Why would he have had to sign this peace (far worse than the one signed in Brest-Litovsk in 1918)? For three key reasons. First, the Anti-Bolshevist Pact between Germany, Britain and the USA meant an immediate end to lend-lease supplies. And without these supplies Stalin would have lost the war of attrition within a few months (possibly very few months).
Second, Germany would have been free to move all its Luftwaffe fighters to the Eastern front, immediately creating decisive air superiority. Third, British and American strategic bombers (bombing Japan was not yet possible) would have now threaten not Berlin and Hamburg, but Moscow and Leningrad (the latter already besieged by the Germans).
And unlike its German counterpart, Soviet air defense system was all but totally defenseless against Flying Fortresses and Liberators, Lancasters and Wellingtons. As well as against the Royal Navy battleships and battlecruisers, should they decide to attack Leningrad (Soviet pilots were notoriously inept at hitting targets at sea).
However, it was not enough. To guarantee security and prosperity of Germany, Adolf Hitler should have immediately put all resources freed by peace treaties on both fronts (for all practical purposes he would have won the war on both) to the all-important task. Because there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies – but only permanent interests.
Creating the Wunderwaffen (in plural) that would have made war against Germany too costly. Way too costly to even contemplate. For any nation – even a global superpower such as the USA or Great Britain.
List of these Wunderwaffen would have been very short and natural as it would have contained exactly the weapons that were designed, produced and deployed after the end of World War II.
Nuclear bomb. Intercontinental high-speed and high-altitude jet bombers. Long-range ballistic missiles, Jet fighters and tactical bombers. Surface-to-air and air-to-air guided missiles. That’s about it, I guess.
Had Adolf Hitler have chosen and implemented the abovementioned plan, our world would have been a far, far better place than it is today. He would have saved about 50 million human lives (most of losses of life happened in 1942-45), prevented enormous destruction to German and European infrastructure (again, by far the largest amount of it happened during the same time frame).
There would have been no Holocaust or any other war crimes and crimes against humanity in Europe (again, most of them happened in 1942-45); there would have been no incredibly costly Cold War and Bolshevism would have died the natural death far earlier than it actually did (and would have never become the genuinely existential nuclear threat to the whole human civilization).
And – what was obviously the most important outcome for Adolf Hitler – he would have certainly laid a firm foundation for a genuinely thousand-year Reich. Thus making his lifelong dream a reality.
However, to make it all happen, Adolf Hitler would have had to make radical changes to his Nazi ideology. Which turned out to be impossible. Unfortunately for him, Germany, Europe and for the whole world, his Nazi fanaticism turned out to be stronger (far stronger, actually) than his survival instinct.
So, instead of doing the right thing (that would have saved him and his Reich), he started doing what just about everyone does when he finds himself in a situation where he has no idea what to do.
Improvising and making mistakes. Huge Mistakes. Enormous mistakes. Colossal strategic blunders that will ultimately cost him his war, his party, his state and his very life.