If Germany and Japan won WWII

Let’s assume that Japan didn’t attack Pearl Harbor in 1941. Let’s say the US didn’t get involved in WWII until say 1943 or 1944. Much like the US stayed out of WWI until it was almost over. Hitler at this point controls all of Europe the northern 1/3 of Africaand 1/2 of Russia. Japan controls China, India, 1/2 of Russia. Let’s also assume atomic weapons will not be ready until say 1955.

Here goes: Japan is massing troops and supplies at the bearing straight preparing to invade Alaska and Canada. Hawaii is hit by both air and ground forces and falls. Berlin is planning a trans atlantic invasion of the North American continent. U.S. finally declares war on Germany and Japan has no strong ally at this point except Canada. Canada and the US fight a strong defensive battle but eventually settle for a “cease fire” with the Axis. Meaning, the Axis will not attack the North American continent but do not have return any conquered lands. Hawaii is part of the Japanese empire form this point on. Assuming these conditions how long will it be before Tokyo and Berlin declare war on each other?

Dude, you’re forgetting about Russia altogether. You know how it’s impossible to win a land war in Asia? Well it’s also impossible to win a land war in Russia. Hitler would only have controlled half of Russia for little more than a year before Stalin massed 20 million or so troops and whipped up on the Germanans, just like what happened in real life. The question is how long would have taken for the Russians to take out both Axis powers and control all of the Eurasian continent; then how long would it have taken before the US finally declared war on Russia.

“There are many sweeping generalizations that are always true” -Space Ghost

Any “what if” situation has to include Germany defeating England. Without this, Germany is certain for defeat.

Also why would Japan want to invade the USA or Canada? They were angling for the Greater East Asia Co-op. The Japanese saw themselves to Asia as The USA to North & South America. (think Monroe Doctrine)

You overestimate both the power of Nazi Germany and any nation’s ability to launch a cross-ocean invasion without having a beachhead on which to amass troops. The D-Day invasion was one of the biggest efforts mankind has ever undertaken, and all they had to do was cross the English Channel into occupied territory where the residents wouldn’t fight back.

Anyway, the answer is that even given all the events in your scenario, Germany and Japan still lose. The U.S. was putting out immense amounts of arms at the end of the war, and hadn’t really strained its economy yet (income taxes were only at around 9% of GDP at the end of the war, close to what they are now). The U.S. economy grew throughout the war, whereas the GDP of all the other major belligerants shrank. Even so, the U.S. spent a smaller proportion of its GDP on the war than did anyone else, and had a lot of room to spend more.

To give you some idea of the economic power of the U.S., here are some facts:

The U.S. built more tanks in 1941 alone than the entire German production of tanks before and during the war. In total during the war, the U.S. built about 88,000 tanks versus 24,000 in Germany. But those numbers don’t tell the whole story, because German tank production was going full-blast in 1939 when the U.S. only made something like 300 tanks. If the war had lasted a couple more years the U.S. probably would have had 10 times the number of tanks as the entire axis.

At the end of the war, the U.S. was producing almost 20 times as many aircraft per year as they were at the start of the war. The U.S. built 303,000 aircraft from 1940 to 1945. At the start of the war the U.S. also had one of the least advanced airforces. At the end of the war, they were producing the best aircraft in the world, and they were producing almost 300 aircraft per DAY.

More importantly, the U.S. was digging in for a long war, and was committing billions of dollars to new factory construction. Germany didn’t have the resources to do that, because it had committed everything it had to its current inventory and plants. So the amount of manufacture would have continued to increase in the U.S., while staying flat in Germany for a long time after a cease-fire. By the time the Germans could ramp-up production the U.S. would vastly outnumber them.

The U.S. hadn’t come close to tapping its pool of young men to fight, and could mount massive armies. In contrast, Germany was drafting young teens and committing so much of its production to war that the people were in poverty.

Japan and Germany’s only hope in the war was that they take some ground, and make it too expensive to take back, and eventually sue for peace. Neither of them had a gnat’s chance of taking over the world, separately or combined. If Germany had managed to conquer Britain, she would have had no chance of negotiating a peace. The U.S. would have had to find an alternate route of invasion, or simply continue to develop high-tech weapons at a blindingly vast pace until they could launch ICBM’s or whatever. But Germany had zero chance of successfully invading North America.

Sometimes I wonder if Germany & Japan did win. I think they have higher average income than the USA, they export more goods to us than they import from the USA, and we pay for defending them militarily.

Cheese Head:

I’m Jewish and alive, so I guarantee you, Germany did not win the war.

Chaim Mattis Keller

“Sherlock Holmes once said that once you have eliminated the
impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be
the answer. I, however, do not like to eliminate the impossible.
The impossible often has a kind of integrity to it that the merely improbable lacks.”
– Douglas Adams’s Dirk Gently, Holistic Detective

Militarily, I think historians say Germany used the right strategy to defeat France. However, they blundered when they let the British escape from Dunkirk. I think that was one of Britain’s largest army groups at the time, and if they could have been captured, it would have been a big blow to Britain. Also, it was bad strategy for Germany to invade Russia. All along, the Germans were saying they couldn’t win a two front war. If they had kept the truce they signed with Stalin, they could have concentrated on defeating Britain before the Russia or the USA got involved. Then the US would not have been able to launch the D-Day allied attack from Britain.

So, it’s not hard to imagine Germany conquerring Europe had they used better strategy. Anything more than that would have taken a lot of resources which I think Eurpean countries are too small to have, although Britain had a world empire in the 1700 and 1800’s. Maybe Germany could have established a world empire like Britain did. Luckily, they didn’t.

Some key points on that:

  1. The British Expeditionary Force in northern France and Belgium was virtually all of the British Army except for garrisons in colonial points at that point in time. They were frantically recruiting to build it up but except for something like three brigades and a training cadre the BEF was the British Army.

  2. Hitler was directly responsible for stopping the assault, but it was partially to avoid outrunning the supply train and partially to avoid getting cut off my counterattacks from the side, with the entire French Army (less two divisions tied up with the British) flanking the attack, and the Belgian Army (small but feisty, and not to be completely ignored) and some British and French divisions north of his thrust.

  3. Germany came into the colonialism game late, since it had only been a unified country since 1871. But it had seven or eight colonies until World War I: Togo, Tanganyika, Namibia, and Cameroons in Africa; the Bismarck Islands and a couple of other holdings in the Pacific. These got taken away from them by the Treaty of Versailles.

As to whether or not Germany and Japan won in economic terms, I regret that I can’t find figures on household income. The closest I could come was GDP per capita:
$31,500 … USA, 1998
$23,100 … Japan, 1998
$22,100 … Germany, 1998

Japan is the world’s fourth largest defense spender, or third if you take China’s claims at face value (their currency is probably not realistically valued, so I’d place China in third place). Sure, Japan spends a small fraction of its (huge) GDP on defense, but I think there would enormous opposition in Japan (and eventually in my beloved but fickle USA) to greater defense spending.

Source for GDP stuff: http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/

Could the Nazi’s have “won” the war?

Only if Germany had taken on England and Russia seperately, that is, have invaded and occupied England (a pretty difficult proposition, but not impossible - - Remember William the conqueror?) and then turned his full attention on defeating Russia.

Japan would have had to avoid the Pearl Harbor attack and put off the USA by staying clear of the US held areas of the pacific (e.g. the Phillipines).

Then, if the US had stayed pacifist, Germany could only have overshadowed the U.S. by developing the bomb first.

But I can’t see us having stayed out of the war while this went on. The slaughter of the British and the interference with our own shipping in the Pacific by the Japanese would have brought waves of protest. I would imagine a “Lusitania” type incident would have occurred sometime sooner rather than later.

The only real threat Germany or Japan would have been to the mainland 48 states would have been the use of the bomb.

“Its fiction, but all the facts are true!”

I’m not thoroughly familiar with the historical background, but didn’t Japan feel it had to attack the US sooner or later because it was desperate for oil and rubber to keep its war machine going? I thought the US had imposed some kind of embargo on the Japanese that threatened their ability to sustain their war in China. If they couldn’t get their raw materials from the US, then they would have to invade Southeast Asia to get them. And if they had to invade Southeast Asia, US and European interests there would make some kind of conflict inevitable. Again, I’m a novice at history, but I had the impression that it was for these reasons that Tokyo decided to carry out a preemptive strike against the fleet at Pearl Harbor–a decision they could have hardly postponed until 1943-44.


DHR, I think you’re right on target. I don’t have references at hand, but I believe that Interior Secretary Harold Ickes had unilaterally declared a moratorium on export of oil to Japan, along with some other, less urgently needed commodities. IIRC, Japan had less than two months oil supply left when she attacked Pearl Harbor, and no way to get more, since neither the British nor the Dutch government-in-exile in Britain were going to sell to her due to the Tripartite Pact which put her in bed with Germany and Italy.

DHR makes a good point I had forgotten about, and further supports the notion that it would have been impossible for the U.S. to have stayed out of the war until 1943 or 44.

In addition, there was a lot of animosity and anti-U.S. sentiment in Japan that probably would have brought out a confrontation sooner rather than later. I don’t have sources at my fingertips, so I’m going by memory, but as I recall, during the post WWI, League of Nations “let’s join hands and feel warm and fuzzy about the brotherhood of nations” period pawned of on the world by the likes of Woodrow Wilson, circa 1919, there was a world conference on Naval armament reduction. All of the world powers, especially the Allies who had defeated Germany, were there to come up with a plan to slow down the Naval arms race which had been a primary contributor to the genesis of the world war. Japan attended the conference. However, Japan was not included in the final treaty negotiations, because it was determined that Japan wasn’t really a “naval power.” Most of this sentiment came from the U.S. delegation.

In addition, U.S. policy toward Japan generally, particularly regarding immigration and trade, treated Japan like a third world country and its people as “undesirable.” I recall reading that part of the reason the Pearl Harbor attack was mounted was to show us the serious power of the Japanese empire, a sort of massive “Nyah nyah!.” If you look at the plan to attack Hawaii from an objective viewpoint in light of the times, it was a crazy, throw it all in at once move. It could have easily failed. But the intenseness of Japanese animosity toward the U.S. because of these policies and international slights helped push the plan through, as well as the other practical points others have raised.

“Its fiction, but all the facts are true!”

This is an interesting what-if…

I agree they didn’t have a chance in the long run. The first critical mistake Hitler made was letting the BEF escape - something he basically did on purpose, believing he could make peace with England.

Unfortunately for him, Churchill hated his guts, and every move Germany made after that one was downhill.

Japan was sort of like a chess player that gets into a cramped position where someone has to make a breakout move. Pearl was a mistake, but a good gamble - if the carriers had been there… hmmm.

I’m not sure we could have recovered quickly enough from that. Midway was a stroke of luck even with the Enterprise and Yorktown intact - what if they too had been destroyed? The Japanese could have then taken Midway with minimal opposition and Hawaii would have been in serious trouble. The inbetween battles in the Coral Sea would have been automatically lost with no big carrier support. Any thoughts there?

IMHO, instead of waging a Cold War for the next “whatever” number of years with the Commies, we wage a Cold War with the Nazis.

SoxFan59: The U.S. never joined the League of Nations. Wilson’s idea, but he could never get the Congress to go along.

I have my doubts that Germany could ever have successfully invaded Britain, even if Hitler had captured the British Army at Dunkirk and had not attacked the USSR.

The British Navy still outclassed the German Navy. Germany did not have the amphibious capacity to invade (it took the Allies a couple of years to build it up, even with U.S. involvement). The RN could have defended the Channel, by concentrating all its forces there, even if that meant pulling the fleet back from the colonies - when the seat of Empire is jeopardised, colonies get jettisoned (as Britain found out back around 450 C.E.)

As well, the RAF won the Battle of Britain in 1940, without U.S. industrial support. Without control of the air, an amphibious invasion was pretty dicey.

SPI, the war game company (anyone else remember them?) did a simulation game for the hypothetical invasion (“Operation Sea Lion”). I seem to remember that they concluded that the only way to give the Germans a chance was to assume that by some fluke the RN had been wiped out in a previous battle that the German Navy had miraculously won.

Gets back to the statement of Lord St. Vincent, First Sea Lord during the time of Napolean’s planned invasion: “I do not say the French cannot come. I only say, they cannot come by sea.”

[picky rant]
p.s. - I know some people use “England” as shorthand for “Britain,” or “the U.K.”, but it’s inaccurate. It’s not as if the Germans would have stopped at England’s borders with Wales and Scotland. [/picky rant]

SoxFan59: The U.S. never joined the League of Nations. Wilson’s idea, but he could never get the Congress to go along.>>>

I realize that, my reference to the LON was general, meant to invoke the mindset of international relations of that era. The U.S. was not a member of the LON, but it DID participate in the Naval Armaments conference I referenced in the earlier post.

“Its fiction, but all the facts are true!”

Here’s an interesting speculation: What if Japan invades China, maybe takes some other eartern territory, and then declares war on GERMANY? They become our allies, and as a result we let them keep the territory they held. That might have been Japan’s best chance to achieve some military victories, and I don’t think Germany was in a position to do any damage to Japan. That would also have made the Russians allies, which would have avoided the big territory grab against Japan that the Russians made at the end of the war.

If that had happened, what could Japan have held?

Some people say if the Germans had made use of a captured French navy, instead of allowing it to sit peacefully in Toulon, they could have combined it with their own and had a fighting chance to cross the Channel. I don’t know if I agree, because I don’t know how much of a fleet the French had in serviceable condition after the Royal Navy had attacked it in Algeria.

But perhaps that could be part of the scenario: the British hesitate to shoot their former Allies, perhaps figuring the French navy would want to join De Gaulle later on. Then the Vichy government gives secret orders to retun to France, where the Germans take command of the French vessels with skeleton crews. Then, Spain occupies Gibraltar, and the Franco-German navy sales on up to Normandy, forming the left pincer in an assault on southern Britain.

If the RAF had suffered heavier losses, then German aircraft could have seriously hurt RN vessels operating in range. Submarines and parachutes could land initial waves of elite troops, destroyers and barges could have landed following echelons. These aren’t great vessels for amphibious landings, but the Channel is pretty narrow and the British ground forces were in real trouble (especially if say the BEF was destroyed instead of evacuated). A nascent Home Guard is swept aside by the experienced first echelons of the Wehrmacht.

Yeah, it’s pretty far-fetched, with about a kazillion contrary-to-fact assumptions. But it’s still interesting, if only because it would be interesting to speculate on the land battles.

They might be more evenly matched than the Battle of France, since neither side would have much heavy equipment (can’t fit artillery on a submarine; can’t fit a tank on destroyer). The British would have numbers and stiff upper lips, the Germans would have training and esprit de corps. The Germans would have plenty of air support, but it would be at the absolute limits of its range; the RAF would be down to their biplanes and hang-gliders (exaggeration alert!), but they would be close to their bases.