I don’t think the Germans had a realistic chance of conquering and subduing the Soviets, regardless of American intervention. The Germans certainly had no chance to even land troops in England, and the Luftwaffe was outclassed against the English air force even before American intervention.
I think that the “inevitable” point of no return for the war came when the Germans invaded Russia on the European front.
I don’t think the Soviets or Chinese had a realistic chance of stopping the Japanese, though. The Pacific front was inevitable after Midway, I think. I don’t think Japanese were too worried about the safety of their fleet until then.
I have maintained for a long time that, if Moscow had fallen, and Stalingrad had fallen, that would have been it for the Soviet Union. The loss of those key cities would have crushed the morale of the people, and would have made movement very very difficult. Maps of the rail lines show Moscow, Leningrad and Stalingrad being HUGE rail hubs, and the loss of those would have reduced their logistical ability to a degree that I’m not sure they could have recovered from.
It would only have been important in not giving the US a reason to join the war. As for Russia, what of strategic significance was over there? They’ve got one major port, and not all that much else. Would the Japanese really have used a lot of troops to occupy Siberia? I suspect that Stalin would have sent a token defense force and ignored it otherwise.
As for the OP, Churchill did indeed say that victory was inevitable after Pearl Harbor, and he was right. Only the US of the combatants had production facilities located far from the conflict. it might have taken a lot longer, but eventually the economic power would have won out.
ETA: This assumes that Lindberg and the former Bund would not have achieved power, unlikely indeed after Pearl Harbor.
Even if Japan followed a Northern Strategy, what good would that do? I know in lots of war games the Japanese and Germany can double-team the USSR and split it down the middle, but in real life the Japanese would have got Vladivostok and then nothing more except empty tundra and mountains. The Soviet Union had no important industry in the far east. They could have just written off the Far East completely, and the only significant loss would have been Vladivostok.
So what would Japan have gained? Nothing, and they would still need the oil and rubber of the Dutch East Indies. So the Japanese would have wasted tremendous effort taking Siberia and gained nothing worth anything. And then they’d still have to face the western allies in the East Indies, SE asia, the Phillipines, and so on, except a year or two later.
I’d argue that Allied victory became inevitable on June 22, 1941 (the date the Germans invaded the Soviet Union).
The Germans severely underestimated both the strength of the forces available to oppose them, and the will of the Russian people to fight (they were deluded into thinking that Stalin’s government would collapse under outside pressure). Instead, they set the stage for their own gradual destruction.
Of course the Japanese put the final nail in the coffin 12/7/41.
I’m not a historian either, but here’s my guess. A disaster like that would be a major setback, of course, but it wouldn’t break the Allies’ will to fight. A weather based disaster is too obviously bad luck, and unlikely to happen again. It would however delay Germany’s defeat, which makes it likely that instead of Japan, it’s Germany that gets hit with nukes for the first time in history. I wouldn’t be surprised if Germany takes more damage than Japan did, given the lack of an equivalent of Hirohito who could cut the ground out from under Hitler with a declaration of surrender. Hitler was on top, and he was as I understand willing to see Germany destroyed before surrendering.
This is just weird. Everything I have seen or read indicated that most Americans thought the war would be over by Christmas. Nothing would lead people to such defeatist attitudes. The Americans never lost a major battle either in Europe or the Pacific. Once D-Day happened it was a pretty steady march to Berlin. When we landed on Sicily it was hard slogging but Allied troops never had to retreat. Monty sewed up the Germans in Africa. As for the Pacific, we lost the Philippines early on but once we started island hopping we never lost a Battle. There were no failed landings. What on earth would have lead your mother and co-workers to debate who to surrender to?
How about the Battle of Britain, summer 1940? If Hitler had managed to invade and conquer Britain, he would have had one less front to fight and there would be nobody resupplying the various resistance movements.
That’s almost correct. Actually, really, it’s at whatever point it became inevitable that the United States would construct a nuclear weapon (given the way to OP is phrased) which I assume would theoretically have taken place at some point before Trinity. It was probably a sure thing that the US was going to get the bomb pretty much at the moment they started working on it; it was just a matter of putting in the effort.
Everything else is irrelevant in the long run. Stalingrad, irrelevant. Guadalcanal, irrelevant. D-Day, irrelevant. Those things only affected how many nuclear weapons it took to force surrender. The USA was going to have nuclear weapons in 1945 no matter how things cooked up at Kursk. And whomever the biggest threat was in August 1945 was gonna get nuked, and they were going to keep getting nuked as fast as the U.S. could build new bombs, for as long as it took to convince them to give up. As Der Trihs points out, if Germany had achieved military successes that had kept them around long enough the only real effect would have been that starting in August 1945, it would have been German cities vaporized, one by one, until someone finally shot Hitler.
As it happens, there was a point when, even assuming the use of only conventional weapons, the Axis loses anyway. That point is probably an absolute certainty after the success of both D-Day and Bagration, which shattered what was to that point still a pretty awesome German army. But victory was already certain, because it was already certain the United States would have nuclear weapons before the end of 1945.
Not entirely. Within a week of the start of Barbarossa, the Russian army was effectly useless. Granted, there were pockets of organized and well fought resistance, but large swaths of the Red Army had been destroyed as an effective fighting force.
I think the Germans underestimated the will of the Russians to give up ground. It’s a totally alient way of thinking to a General Staff used to fighting in the middle of Europe. The Russians essentially retreated from territory big enough to be a seperate nation. Just gave it up, essentially.
The Germans were not ready for a long advance on that scale. They did their best, which was still pretty good, but in the end their supply lines were to long, and the Russians had bought enough time to organize a defense and get their act together.
You are, of course, correct in their belief in the fragility of the Soviet Government, and their underestimation of the people.
I’m guessing it was the moment FDR agreed to fund the Manhattan Project. Even if the allies faced defeat after defeat, as long as England remained intact as a staging area, large chunks of Germany would’ve gone up in mushroom clouds.
The first is whether anyone had the military capability to defeat the United States. The answer is a resounding no. There was never a point at which the U.S. was even remotely at risk of having its war-making capability destroyed the way Germany and Japan’s was. The amount of war production the U.S. was capable of was astounding - it entered the war far behind the Germans and even the Japanese in terms of technology, and had a military so under-equipped that new recruits were training with wooden guns because real ones were in such short supply. But by the end of the war, the U.S. was producing so many armaments that it just dwarfed all other combatants. I think it was in 1942 that the U.S. produced in one year more tanks than the entire existing world inventory of tanks in 1939.
By 1944, U.S. weapons production was double that of all other combatants in the world combined. And despite the phenomenal output, the U.S. never suffered a single quarter of recession during the entire war - the only major combatant to do so.
In terms of manpower, the U.S. had fewer casualties than any other major combatant as a percentage of population, and really its pool of soldiers had hardly been diluted, while the axis powers were resorting to recruiting boys and women to keep fighting.
So militarily, the U.S. was untouchable. Once it was committed to total war, no one could stop it.
However, the other question is whether there might have been a point where the U.S. public would have become dispirited and demanded that their leaders negotiate a peace on terms other than total surrender. There was significant war fatigue by 1945, but America was certainly prepared to invade the Japanese mainland, which would have by far been the biggest campaign of the war. So there was plenty of fighting spirit left in the U.S.
I can imagine if Britain had fallen, denying the use of the Channel to the Americans, and Germany had therefore been able to reinforce the south, the war could have dragged on for a couple of years. You can imagine a series of setbacks that might have really caused problems - if the Americans hadn’t broken Japanese codes and had lost their carriers in the Marianas or elsewhere, if the D-Day invasion had failed, if the Germans would have won on the Eastern front, perhaps the costs of victory would have appeared so high that the U.S. might have negotiated a peace. We just don’t know.