I have heard before that the Allies could have won without any US soldier ever setting foot in Europe (not sure if this is true), but did they have any chance of winning without the massive assistance of money and supplies provided by means such as Lend-Lease and other acts?
I have never heard that the Allies could have won without USA intervention. I doubt very much if they (the Allies) could have been successful without USA support. However, I don’t quite understand your premise as aid was a fact before the USA entered the war.
I’ve heard quite a bit that without US troops the war in Europe still could have been won, even if Russia would’ve had to put even more work into it then they already have.
I’m working on the premise that after WWI, the US became very neutral and isolationist, and remained so instead of changing its policies in the mid-late 30s and then giving massive aid once war broke out.
Given this, could the rest of the Allied powers have still defeated Germany/Italy? I’m talking strictly of the European conflict here, as Japan never had a serious chance of beating the US in the Pacific.
Well, by the time the USA entered Germany had lost the Battle of Britain. They were about to get some very nasty surprises in the Soviet Union.
With nothing to go on except a gut feeling, I think Britain could have held out and eventually the Soviet Union could have defeated Germany.
The map of Europe would have been very different after WW II.
How would Germany have invaded England, even without America’s help?
How would Germany have defeated USSR, even without America’s help?
The real question is who would have saved the poor Germans from USSR. America’s most important role in WW2 was to give the Germans someone to surrender to.
So the war machines of the UK and USSR would have functioned just as, or nearly as, well without any financial or material aid, or soldiers, from the US at all after the end of WWI?
I do recognize that without our troops though, the USSR would have had an even more massive influence over Europe post-war. I’ve heard stories of people in Germany fleeing west to surrender to the US and avoid being caught by the USSR.
America only stays neutral if there’s no war in the East, so Britain can call upon masses of troops from India and other parts of the Empire. Further, it had a safe haven in Canada. WW2 would have gone on much longer, though. IMHO Britain would have developed the atomic bomb and that would be that. Post-war Europe would be split between Britain and Russia. This would have accelerated the end of the Empire in Africa, India,and the Far East, and accelerated the growth of Europe as a single political entity.
The Allies needed the British Navy and it’s “never surrender attitude”, the manpower of the Soviets, and the “Arsenal of Democracy” that was America.
The Axis would have won without the USA. Or Britain. Or the USSR.
The Axis would have lost to the USA or the USSR, and never would have landed a troop on Great Britain, even if fighting any one of them alone. It wasn’t war machines that beat the Germans. I’ll repeat what I said earlier; “How could Germany have invaded England? How could Germany have conquered the Soviets?” There’s no answer. There is no alternative history in which Germany would not have been torn asunder by USSR, in the end.
Sure, they just would have gone deeper in debt to do so. Lend-lease wasn’t exactly a free ride on the USA dime, and it wasn’t exactly as big as people are saying. After inflation-adjusting the value of the stuff USA sent to the war effort through lend-lease, it wouldn’t even be equal to the deficits in the 2010 budget, assuming we got nothing in return (which isn’t true). Without lend-lease, UK and USSR would have just gone deeper in debt (as it was, the debt for lend-lease was just finally settled like last year) to get the stuff they needed, like Germany was. Don’t forget that American suppliers sold a bunch of stuff to the Germans for their war effort, too. All in all, I think lend-lease gets way too much credit for keeping the allies afloat until American public opinion allowed the politicians to join the fight. The American military probably saved a lot of time in the Pacific, and put the stamp on the envelope the allies mailed to Germany, and I am in no way saying the Americans were useless, or trying to undermine their contribution, but to say they were the mechanism by which the Axis could be defeated is just wrong. America realized its position pretty damn quick during the war; to counterbalance the Soviet monster which would have gobbled an even bigger chunk of influence out of Europe than what it already had. The Soviets were every bit as ravenous and insatiable as the Germans, and there’s no way Europe could have counterbalanced that on its own.
Everyone here has nicely forgotten that Germany was developing a nuclear bomb and a few other unique weapons.
And rumor has it they had found the Spear of Destiny . . .
Yes, they could have defeated the Soviet Union, but only if Hitler let his generals do their job. One way was to take the Caucasus oil fields. This would have deprived the Soviet tanks, transports (which were supplied by the US) and planes of oil and while solving Germany’s oil problem. Stalin might have resorted to guerrilla warfare if he wasn’t toppled in a coup by frustrated generals who didn’t want a repeat of WWI.
Was fuel a problem for Germany at that time of the War? They had Ploesti didn’t they? The Soviets capacity for unlimited (virtually) numbers of troops and ability to mass produce T 34’s, aircraft and all the war equipment defeated an overstretched Germany.
I don’t think the British Commonwealth alone could have beaten Germany or vice versa. If it had just been the two of them, I think the war would have eventually ended in a hostile armistice.
But I feel the Soviet Union was capable of defeating Germany once it got up to speed. Germany might have defeated the Soviet Union in the first year or so but after that I feel a Soviet victory was certain. A lack of Western supplies would have delayed a Soviet victory but wouldn’t have prevented one.
They were puttering around on nuclear weapons but it probably would have taken Germany ten years to actually produce a workable bomb. And I don’t think they had ten years.
With out US aid and if Germany had not switched from attacking England to attack the USSR there would have been an alternate history. The battle of England was almost lost. The RAF was close to being wiped out, when Germany changed their battle plan.
With out US aid Germany could have blocaded England.
There are a lot of ifs that would have to take place before history could be changed.
And if you add a few ifs the Pacific war would have been a lot different.
IANA expert on WWII. But I was a USAF officer & worked closely with the US Army for several years. And minored in International Relations. So I’ve read & studied a lot about capabilites & the practicalities of warfare and politics. So here comes some IMHO in GQ (although I suspect the mods would determine the OP’s question isn’t really a GQ question, so I don’t think 'm transgressing too far.)
Had the USA completely ignored the war, supplying nothing to either side, and assuming Japan had never done anything in the Pacific to make that stance untenable …
There are two cases to consider:
- Had Hitler NOT invaded the Soviet Union, the war would have gotten to stalemate & armistice with Britain intact in its prewar borders, the SU intact in its prewar borders, and the rest of Europe in Nazi / Fascist / Francoist hands. In about 1944. A couple leakers like Switzerland & Finland would have benn ignored or bypassed.
This situation would prevail until the Nazis or Fascists had a succession crisis, or some other external development upset the applecart.
- Alternatively, had Hitler invaded the SU just as he did IRL, Nazism was doomed.
Eventually the SU would have rolled the Nazis back to the Franco-German border. Whether they continued on to the Channel to take and hold all that the Nazis had conquered depends on the personalities & capabilities of the time. It might have been 1948 or even 1949 by then and Russia proper might well be too exhausted to finish taking the whole continent. But there is no doubt the Nazis would be defeated in detail.
In either case the Nazis would never have developed atomic weapons,and the various other “wonder weapons” so beloved of the History / Hitler Channel would have been mere curiosities. The German state simply was not big enough, nor resource-rich enough to develop large quantities of advanced weapons fast enough. And large quantites are what they’d have needed to roll back the Soviets.
The Battle of Britain wasn’t “almost lost”, it was won, and a truly great (and vitally important) victory it was. The RAF was replacing planes and aircrew much faster than the Luftwaffe was able to replace their losses, and even Goering managed to grasp that important fact. It was a close run thing, but the Nazis were clearly losing and Nazi leadership was still at that point rational enough to know it and to concede the fight.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Royal Navy was also a very big deal at the time - no cross channel invasion while the RN was a going concern, and U-boats, while good at attacking Atlantic convoys, were pretty near useless in the English Channel.
You’re also forgetting, as Americans tend to do, the vital contributions of Canada and Australia and South Africa and the rest of the Commonwealth, and India and the rest of the Empire, which was still massive at that time. Many millions more fighting men, and a great deal of industrial capacity. Logistics were more difficult, but the Commonwealth nations plus the Empire adds up to a pretty serious concern back in the 1940s. Britain did not stand alone.
Even if the Nazis had landed in the UK - and even Crazy Adolf realised that was a never going to work - and managed to subdue the British people - who were ready and willing to conduct a resistance campaign that would have been just as nasty as any of the European guerrilla resistance campaigns (another vital part of the war effort that Americans usually forget or disregard, along with the large contribution by Free European armies under Allied command), British leadership would have retreated to Canada, and the Commonwealth would have continued the war even if the Empire (India, most importantly) had taken the opportunity to rebel.
So, as most people in this thread have stated, the UK might not have been able to kick the Nazis out of western Europe, but the Nazis definitely wouldn’t have been able to defeat the UK + the Commonwealth. The most likely result would have been an armed and hostile truce, which would have eventually resulted in a different kind of cold war.
Really, it’s only those Americans who have an emotional attachment to the “we saved your asses” myth that say any different. Anyone rational who has studied the facts says what the majority of people in this thread have said: if the US had stayed neutral, Britain would have survived and the Soviets would have eventually done what they did, except they’d have probably ended up taking over most of western Europe as well. German troops would eventually have crossed the channel: under white flags, to surrender to the Brits.
If the Brits had developed nukes - far more likely than the Nazis doing it - then there’s a good chance that the end result of WW2 would have been much the same as the actual result; an iron curtain between the western and eastern Europe.
There’s no need to change that much about the Pacific theatre, either; if the US had decided to concentrate on Japan, things there would have gone much the same as they did in reality. Remember, it’s a fact that the US did not declare war on the Nazis, the Nazis declared war on the US. If Hitler had been a bit more in tune with reality, he might not have done so, and it’s possible that the US could have stayed out of the European war.
The British Commonwealth and the US could have fought in the Pacific Theatre as co-belligerents rather than as formal allies. That sort of arrangement happened between various nations in WW2, it’s worth looking into if you’re trying to create an alternate history.
Do you have any cites for this?
Brittan was doing OK in the BoB. When it started Fighter Command had 717 serviceable fighters. At the end the last day of the attacks on the RAF (September 6th before the Germans moved to bombing civilians) Fighter Command had 694 serviceable fighters. By the end of the civilian bombing Fighter Command had 684 serviceable fighters.
11 Group was in a terrible position. 11 Group was nearing the point where it was going to have to be withdrawn form SE England. But 10, 12 and 13 Groups were all in great shape. And 10 and 12 groups would be capable of flying against the Sealion beaches. For all that this was hurting the RAF the Luftwaffe was taking around 2-1 losses in planes and 6-1 losses in pilots. When a German was shot down, he would become a prisoner of war. When a Brit was shot down, 2/3rds of the time he would be back in another fighter in a day or two. So propaganda aside, all the Germans had accomplished was to reduce Fighter Command’s strength by 3%. Then they switched to civilian bombing in an attempt to starve them out.
In all from July through October Germany lost 1,733 aircraft to Britain’s 915. At the same time in 1940 Britain plus the Commonwealth built 16,149 warplanes. And Germany plus Italy only built 13,048. So not only was Germany losing planes faster, they were replacing them slower. There is a reason Britain was considered to have won the BoB. And despite the breathless prose the documentaries spend on it. It was never all that close.
And as to the u-boats, they also were unsuccessful. The German plans called for a sinking of 750,000 tons bound for Britain a month for 3 consecutive months. The closest they came to this was in April 1941 where they sank 616,469 Tons. And while there were cyclic periods where the British or the Germans would have an upper hand, the Germans never came close to the 750,000 figure again (let alone for three months straight). And when the US did enter the war the original goal was abandoned. Rather than trying to starve out Britain, Germans switched to sinking ships of the coast of America.
Of course no one could know exactly what would happen if the US didn’t enter. But the British had largely developed the weapons systems and techniques that eventually won the Battle of the Atlantic. I expect the big uptick of the second happy time wouldn’t have happened. It only happened, as it was, because the Germans switched from fighting the British to fighting the Americans, who refused to sail in convoys or institute coastal blackouts. I simply don’t see how the Germans can win the Battle of the Atlantic.