The Ardennes offensive was a last ditch effort by the Germans to achieve an advantage in the war, but it turned out to be an acceleration of Germanys ultimate demise. Previous to the offensive the Allies had managed to achieve a beach head and advance toward Germany from almost every direction. On the eastern front Russia was steadily advancing on Berlin. The western front was around the Belgium and German border. Germanys fate seemed to be determined but Hitler would not let the thought of defeat enter his or his commands mind. He started planning for a massive offensive against the Allies on the western front. He believed that the relationship of the Allies was very unstable and that if he could penetrate through the western front and reach the port of Antwerp that they would bicker among themselves and eventually fall apart.Order now
In the fall of 1944 as General Eisenhower had promised the Allied forces had successfully fought their way through Europe and established a front from the North Sea to Switzerland. The lines were stretched very thin. Only 65 divisions of infantry, armor, and airborne were available to hold the 500 mile long line. Having landed at Normandy in June of the same year Allies had made very quick advances on the Germans positions. General Patton expressed it well when giving his famous speech to the Third Army
I dont want to get any messages saying, I am holding my position.
We are not holding a goddamned thing. Let the Germans do that.
We are advancing constantly and not interested in holding anything
but the enemies b***s. (Province 5)
The Allies were no longer worried about losing the war it was just a matter of time before Germany fell.
Hitler however was not as willing to succumb to that realization. After a failed assassination attempt and suffering from bad health many say that by this time in the war Hitlers judgment and state of mind had become very unstable. He felt that if he could organize a strike against the Allies on the western front and reach Antwerp that by dividing the lines of the Allies they would start to turn against each other. Germany felt that the union of the Allies was weak and could be broken easily. This was one of the major faults in Hitlers plan.
The union of the Allies was an uncomfortable one but it was held together because of their determination to destroy the German regime. They were fighting a war of attrition. That is where you keep attacking the enemy over and over again slowly breaking down their structure until they finally fall. Conferences between the leaders of the major countries for the Allies had conferences starting the negotiations of what would be done with Germany and the other territories after the war in Europe was over.
On September 16, 1944 Hitler announces his plan for a major offensive on the western front to his operation staff. The location and objective of the offensive were also revealed and the project was codenamed Wacht am Rhine ( Watch on the Rhine). They chose this name in an attempt to try to confuse the Allies into thinking that the plan was defensive. This tactic worked well since the Allies were unprepared for the attack even after intercepting transmissions where they heard the codename and the approximate date of its initiation. A transmission from Japanese ambassador Baron Oshima to Japan was one of those Decoded by the Allies using the MAGIC code breaker. This was after messages between German command was intercepted using the ULTRA machine. The information picked up from this transmission was about planning reconnaissance and troop movements into positions where they are more suitable to attack.
Many times Hitlers staff tried to convince him to reconsider his plan for the massive offensive. Most thought that the German army would be best to setup a strong defensive strategy and by stalling have time to implement many of the secret weapons that were in development at the time. None of his advisors thought that the German army was strong enough at the time to take advance to Antwerp. One of his advisors was quoted This plan hasnt got