Could the Axis Powers have won WWII?

I think most historians agree that their were some pretty big blunders made by the Axis powers during WWII and I have often heard and/or read people speculating on the possibility of the Axis powers actually winning (not to mention the extreme differences the world of today would see) if not for some bad decisions.

However even factoring in Germany’s ill advised push into Russia (along with not keeping a Russian alliance), Japan’s flawed logic regarding the effects of an attack on Pearl Harbor and our fortune to have cracked the Imperial JN-25 code, I still do not see any way short of America not participating that the Axis could have won.

From man power to natural resources, it just seems like defeat was inevitable.

So am I missing some bit of history or is my American patriotism clouding my logic?

German machine guns on the beaches got so hot that the barrels had to be replaced and this gave the allies time to advance to the dunes and make it a fair fight. Which of course they eventually won. Had they not over heated like that, and also if the Germans had their Panzers in Normandy the invasion just might have failed.

Don’t know if that means the Axis would’ve ultimately prevailed but they sure would’ve had a better chance. At least until nuclear weapons came on the scene.

Depends what winning means. They could have fought up to the point of a truce if circumstances were only a little different. But long term I don’t think they’d have a chance. They simply used up all their available resources in that war.

No, No, and No.
The “Axis” was the most ridiculous alliance ever made. There was no common war aim, and no effective cooperation between the members. Each went on its own merry way-often causing problems for the other. For example, Italy decided to invade Greece. This was a disaster for Mussolini’s forces, as they were very nearly defeated by the Greek Army. Hitler had to send three army divisions and the Luftwaffe to prevent an Italian defeat.
Japan was miffed because Germany signed a mutual non-aggression pact with Russia. This meant that Japan abandoned plans to strike at the Russians in Siberia-something that would greatly aided Operation Barbarossa.
In contrast, GB and the USA had closely coordinated war plans, and despite friction, generally adhered to them.

It really depends on how long the allied countries (especially the United States) are willing to keep fighting. The Axis could have won the same way Vietnam won - just keep fighting until the other side decides it isn’t worth it.

Once the US got the atomic bomb, there was no way that Germany would have been able to maintain any kind of industrial base.

Well, the Axis powers’ decision to initiate war was ideologically-based, and ideology can warp clear strategic vision. In particular, both Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan felt contempt for the “soft” Western democracies – both for their consensus-based decision-making (which is, admittedly, a messy practice) and for the imagined unwillingness of their citizens to leave their comfortable, wealthy routines to face real sacrifice and terror. They were sure Americans wouldn’t want to be dragged in, sure the British would quit, and sure that Western allied soldiers would be fearful and flinching in the face of the “martial spirit” of the revived Greater Germany and Samurai Japan.

Problem was, most of that was wishful thinking and fantasy. And it got worse when the war started well for the Axis. The hardened Japanese troops mostly stayed on the Chinese mainland; the troops who invaded the Philippines and smashed Singapore were mostly shopkeepers and the like, recently brought into the army. If THEY could crush the Allies, the Allies must be weak!

Despite being opinions, propaganda, wish-fulfillment and self-aggrandizement, these visions that the Western Allies would be easy pickings for “true warriors” were allowed to drive policy, with ultimately sub-optimal results.*
*See Berlin, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Dresden, et. al.


As someone said, it depends what you mean by “Win”. If Hitler had not invaded Russia, it would have been awfully hard to kick the Germans out of most of Europe. At the time of D-Day, well over half of Axis troops were on the Eastern Front. I think they would have been able to repell it pretty easily with an extra million troops available to them.

Speaking of D-Day, someone mentioned a scenario where the Allies were repulsed in Normandy. Even if that happened, Germany was done. Russia would have overrun them. The only difference would have been that the Iron Curtain would have been another few hundred miles to the west.

Back to the “No Russia” scenario. Churchill would have kept up the fight for as long as he could, but I suspect Germany would have eventually found a way to settle with the Allies, keeping a large part of Europe in the prcess. Having said that, it wasn’t going to happen. It isn’t as easy as telling Hitler “Don’t invade Russia”. If you have Stalin and Hitler looking across at each other, you will eventually have war.

After the Russian invasion, German forces got to within 20 miles of Moscow, so it is tempting to say that if the spring thaw had happened a little earlier, and the Germans had been able to start their invasion on June 1 instead of June 22 they would have been able to defeat Russia, but I still don’t think it would have happened. Russia just had too much land and too much expendable manpower. I don’t think there was any realistic scenario where the Germans hold on to Russia long-term.

No, but the political and economic price for victory could have been made so high for the Allies that the postwar recovery that happened thanks to the Marshall Plan, might never have had an opportunity to start.

The Germans could win a regional war. The Japanese could win a regional war. One would argue that that it exactly what they did, win a major regional conflict. They could not win a World War.

The Italians? Perhaps they might have…actually I dunno what they could have done.

Fought the Swiss Guards to a stalemate?

No, just kidding. The didn’t have anti-halberd technology.

Keep in mind that the Allies were moving up the Italian peninsula before D-Day. Even if D-Day had failed the Germans were doomed. The war would have lasted a few more months and there may have been no West Germany but they were still doomed.

The following article (specifically addressing the infeasibility of the German “Operation Sealion” to conduct a seaborne invasion of Britain) may be of interest to you:

Say Germany could have hung on for a few more months, by repelling the D-day invasion, not invading Russia, etc. Is it conceivable that they could have completed a nuke before the Americans? If so, surely that would have made a big difference in the final outcome.

No way.
They weren’t even remotely close.
They didn’t even have the correct theory. Once they did, their industrial base was so trashed that they might never have been able to enrich enough Uranium to make one.

The German nuclear program never really went anywhere. There’s no chance they’d have developed it before the US unless Roosevelt had nixed the entire project before it started.

Hitler’s blunders were too numerous to list here, but one of them was declaring war on the US after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He didn’t have to, notwithstanding his treaty with Imperial Japan. Had he not, the US would’ve focused on the Pacific and the Nazis could’ve strengthened their grip on Europe.

Against who? Yes, they were doing against the Chinese, but with the sanctions which the US were starting, they didn’t have the resources.

FDR decided to fight the war with the smallest army possible to ensure manpower at home for a huge economic expansion. For the other combatants it was WW1 again with all possible manpower and resources devoted to the war, and then we show up with unlimited resources.

The navy was the largest in terms of tonnage the world has ever seen.