What happens if Hitler does not invade the Soviet Union in 1941?

Operation Barbarossa, which launched the German offensive into the Soviet Union, was a total strategic surprise. Stalin, allied with Hitler in conquering and dividing Poland two short years before, was stunned. Stalin could not believe that Hitler was violating the non-aggression pact.

Despite early German successes, experts agree, the Soviet campaign was one of the worst military miscalculations, maybe ever.

What if it never happened? Does Britan fall? Can the US and Britan fight the Axis without the Soviets?

The problem in answering the question is that it’s all conjecture; we can only say what we think and it will be said with little certainty.
That being said, I think everyone should hazard a guess. We probably won’t come to a consensus, but it would be fun to theorize.

Okay, one of the things which made D-Day possible was the split German army; what wasn’t fortifying France was fighting in Russia (gross simplification, I know, but you get the idea). So, D-Day, if it happens, is a trillion times more brutal. But it probably wouldn’t happen. Too risky.
Briton wouldn’t have fallen, I wouldn’t think, if America entered the war as it did. They were doing fine keeping the Germans at bay on the sea and over air. If things got diceier, America, I would imagine, would have gotten to Europe sooner to support the defense of England.
So, how to attack Europe? I’d say Italy, although the Alps crossing would be brutal. Perhaps Greece. Wasn’t Germany having problems keeping Greece under control from other Allies?

The Allies would have still invaded Europe, I’m sure, as it would be the best bet to release Hitler’s stranglehold on the continent. A D-Day type invasion although much more brutal, I’m sure. The wildcard, however, is whether or not, seeing their buddies under attack, the Soviet Union would have come to Germany’s aid. In that case, the Allies would have lost the war. There were just too many Russian soldiers being sent to slaughter for the Allies to hold back.

I mean, I’m not a WW2 scholar, so all this based off of what I’ve garnered through nearly 2 decades of public schooling and the history channel. Plus, this is my one in the morning, just had two vodka and cranberry juices answer.

An interesting topic, I must say, although, as I already said, it’s all fantasy, albeit a possibly well-researched fantasy (as I anticipate answers with cites and studies and years of research and so forth; what a great message board!)


What would have happened if Germany didn’t invade the USSR? The USSR would have invaded Germany.

Of course, Stalin did not trust Hitler. Stalin viewed war as inevitable.

But, in 1941, Stalin was totally unprepared. He could not believe that Hitler would open an Eastern Front. So, the question remains, what would have happened? ProjectOmega, there is no evidence that Stalin had plans to invade Germany any time soon. Care to guess when Stalin would have tried to turn on a more and more dangerous foe? After all, it’s the attrition on the Eastern Front 41-43 that did the Germans in. D-Day was not, of course, until June 6, 1944.

By 1943-4, we’re talking jets and V-2s.

In seems that Stalin and Hitler would have slugged it out with their armies at some point - Hitler went for a pre-emptive strike before the Soviets had an established armed force anywhere near the lines of the more “modern” mechanized German army.

As a general strategy, a war on two fronts is a bad policy - and as a general observation (already made), the Soviet campaign was an absolute disaster, almost on a par in terms of loss and consequence as the failed Napoleonic invasion.

With hindsight it can be said to have been a bad move - a very bad move. But, ultimately, warfare is about taking risks to achieve objectives. If Hitler had actually succeeded, we could quite easily be sat here writing in German about the fantastic strategy and daring tactics involved with the German conquest of Russia, the success of which decided the war against the UK-US allied powers.

I am no expert but it seems to me that if Hitler had concentrated in 1941 and 1942 on building the submarines and planes to defeat Britain, he would have likely won in the West (Britain came close to losing the Battle of the Atlantic anyway).

Also he shouldn’t have declared war on America after Pearl Harbor.

Then the summer after Britian was defeated he could have attacked the USSR. Without the massive supplies from the US and UK it would have been significantly weaker. Plus IIRC 1941-42 was the worst Soviet winter in a long time and subsequent winters weren’t so harsh. Plus no diversion of troops and time in North Africa. Germany could have stil lost ,of course. but its chances were surely a lot better.

Either way all of Europe would likely be either Nazi or Soviet. It’s hard to see how America could liberate Western Europe without the British springboard or whether it would even try without a German declaration of war. It would concentrate on defeating Japan.

Two words:

Atomic Warfare
If the American saw no hope in defeating the Germans in a land war, do you really believe that they would have qualms at that point to blasting German cities to oblivion in order to force a surrender?

Probably true.

-Britain’s air force collapses by 1941. Possible land invasion of Britain in 1941.
-Concentration of forces in Western Europe makes Allied invasion impossible.
-Germany takes and holds oil fields in Greece.
-German industry stays intact since Brits and Americans cannot build and defend bomber airfields in southern England.
-Germans continue to work on nuclear weapons, Einstein still writes his letter, project Manhattan begins.
-Germany tightens control of resources in Norway, Denmark.
-Large German airbases in France support sea power across the western Atlantic, consolidating their hold on Europe.
-Re-invasion of Africa, Middle East.

With the collapse of England’s defenses, the Scots, roused by opportunity and centuries of pent-up resentment, invade England. Though they fondly hate the English, they really loathe the Germans. German infantry on English soil is no match for the Scottish rugby fans swarming down on them from the north. As Scots leap over the remnants of Hadrian’s wall and maraud down the countryside, the surprised Germans are trampled and slugged; Panzer tanks are tossed aside like wee cabers, shells are punched from the sky with bare hands, whole battalions are smushed, and swept one-by-one back into the English Channel with 7-irons. Churchill sues for peace with the Scots, the King puts haggis on the royal menu, and the age of the Scottish Empire is begun.

A few random points:[ul][]Germany really had no choice about declaring war on the U.S. after America declared war on Japan. The two countries had a formal alliance (German-Japanese Agreement and Supplementary Protocol, Signed at Berlin, November 25, 1936 (Anti-Comintern Pact), and others).[]The “Battle of Britain” was over six months before Operation Barborossa begain, so the latter really had little bearing on Germany’s failure to defeat the British.[]The Commonwealth still had major assets in Africa, the Middle East and Asia (indeed, Commonwealth Navies participated in many major battles of the Pacific war).[]The Axis never managed to secure even the Mediterranean, failing repeatedly to take Malta.[/ul]

“If the American saw no hope in defeating the Germans in a land war, do you really believe that they would have qualms at that point to blasting German cities to oblivion in order to force a surrender?”
If Germany didn’t declare war on America it’s doubtful that it would just drop atom bombs on Germany. The US might not even have developed them in the first place if Japan was the only enemy. Not to mention the fact that America possessed only two bombs by 1945 certainly not enough to win the war. And eventually Germany would have developed their own atom bombs.

I think war between Stalin and Hitler was inevitable. If Hitler had waited longer, Stalin would have been readier. If he waited long enough, Stalin attacks first, as someone else said.

I think the net result would have been soviet-dominated communism over more of Europe, and (even) less cordial soviet/west relations, since the alliance would never have needed to be even as close as it was.

Meanwhile the US/UK alliance would have been fighting its way up Italy…

It is my understanding the the Americans were propted to developed the Atom bomb because of fears that the Germans would get one first. The bomb was intended for German cities. Of course, whether the allies would have actually used the atom bomb is a nother matter. If the situation had developed where a D-day invasion was impossible and the combatants were slugging it out with bomber fleets, then I think it is very likely that they would use it.


Germany would never invaded the UK. It is pretty clear that the preparations for doing so were never serious. Even if the RAF had been defeated, the RN was very much intact. Anyway, Hitler did not see the British as natural enemies and had no taste for a sea war.

If Hitler had not ordered an invasion of the Soviet Union and had instead adopted a more subtle policy of low intesity war with the UK then I think that the war could have dragged on for ages without very much real fighting. Eventually the public would have seen continuing to prosecute the war as pointless and there would have been political pressure to stop it. Hitler could offer some tempting carrots: an end to aerial raids and attacks on atlantic shipping and a conditional withdrawl of forces from France. Sooner or later some pretext for war with the Soviet Union would have come along, by which time the Germans could have completed their modernisation of the army (by no means complete at the time).

Under such circumstances, I think that an attack on Peal Harbour would have been unlikely to lead to the USA’s “Germany First” policy.

On going war with the British had many consequences for Germany. Peace in the West would have given Germany access to trade routes and raw materials. Also, AFAIK German factories would have been out of the range of Soviet bombers.

Hitler was not, initially, impressed by promises of super weapons (jet engine, V1, V2 etc) but once he changed his mind their development was hindered by lack of fancy alloys etc. Trade routes would have given him all the materials he could have wanted.

If Hitler had be patient, he might have won.

Hitler would have been even more assured of victoy if the Soviet- German Pact had become a true cooperation of dictatorships.
The great, or terrible, thing about dictatorships is that they are capable of following the whims of a single person.
or in this case two single people…
there could even have been a tetrarchy of evil, with Mussolini and
I can just see the statues…
How long this imaginary tetrachy would have stayed together is anyones guess.

“Germany would never invaded the UK. It is pretty clear that the preparations for doing so were never serious.”
That was true in 1940 and of course later Hitler concentrated on the East Front. But that was a matter of choice. In a sense the debate is what would have happened if Hitler had chosen to finish off Britain.

Germany didn’t even need to invade Britain as such. If it concentrated on building submarines it could have starved Britian through submarine warfare something it came close to doing anyway. That combined with massive aerial attacks would have forced the British to surrender.

Without a declaration of war from Germany, I really don’t see America declaring war on its own and just dropping atom bombs on Germany. Note that even after the Cold War started the US didn’t threaten to drop bombs on Soviet Union AFAIK even though it had a nuclear monopoly for several years.

*Originally posted by Cerowyn *
**A few random points:[list][li]Germany really had no choice about declaring war on the U.S. after America declared war on Japan. The two countries had a formal alliance (German-Japanese Agreement and Supplementary Protocol, Signed at Berlin, November 25, 1936 (Anti-Comintern Pact), and others)[/li]
Which could easily have been ignored same as the non-agression treaty. Hitler would even have a good excuse by pointing out that Japan started a war with an unwarrented act of agression via surprise attack. Germany certainly had a choice.

You have to remember that in Hitler’s mind, the invasion of Russia was the whole point of WWII. North Africa, France, Belgium, Norway, England, all of these were sideshows to the eastern front. Hitler wanted to take out or neutralize the western countries so that they could not interfere with his eastern lebensraum war. Eastern Europe would be colonized by Germans, and the Slavs would be enslaved and/or exterminated.

And when we look at the course of the war, Hitler was in some ways correct. The western allies never did put up much of a fight, and the bulk of Germany’s losses were against the Russians. It wasn’t until Germany was already on the ropes that the western allies were able to stage the Normandy landings.

If Hitler had not decided to invade Russia we would have dropped the first A-bomb on Germany. Remember Dresden?

Germany never had a chance to win the war. Many people today don’t realize just what an economic and military powerhouse the U.S. was during WWII. Once the U.S. entered the war, the final outcome was never in doubt.

For example, by 1942 the U.S. was producing more tanks in a single year than the entire number of tanks built by Germany in its entire history starting from WWI.

By 1941, Germany’s industrial infrastructure was at full capacity, and all production was devoted to creating weapons. In the U.S., on the other hand, there was still so much excess industrial capacity that not only was the country producing more arms than all other combatants combined, but it was still building more factories, meaning the gap would have grown larger.

Even so, the U.S. is the only major combatant to not suffer so much as a single quarter of recession during the course of the war. U.S. wartime production reached its peak in 1942, after which the U.S. started to scale back because it already had just an overwhelming capacity to produce weaponry. And even so, the U.S.'s percentage of production devoted to the war was by far the lowest of any major combatant. The U.S could have easily doubled or even tripled production of weaponry, given enough time.

By the end of the war, Germany had lost so many soldiers that it was drafting 14 year old boys for war. In contrast, the U.S. had only lost something like 240,000 men, out of a male population of over 100 million. So it had a huge advantage in being able to field armies as well.

When WWII started, the U.S. was severely lagging in technology, as well. Its airplanes were inferior, many of the U.S. warships were leftovers from WWI, and American tanks were no match for the German or Soviet designs. Nevertheless, by the end of the war the U.S. had the best, most advanced weaponry of any of the combatants overall, although in a few areas they still lagged a bit. But given a longer war, the U.S. would have rapidly passed by the other powers, as it did after the war.

And while all other combatants were having their infrastructure bombed, the U.S.'s was completely intact, and would have remained so even if the war had lasted another ten years.

So what would have happened if Germany didn’t invade the Soviet Union? Here’s my guess: The war would have lasted until maybe 1946 or 1947. The U.S. and other allies would have lost maybe twice as many soldiers, but then the atomic bomb would have ended the war anyway. But the Soviet Union would not have captured eastern Europe, the eastern territory it grabbed in the later part of the war, or east Germany.

The cold war would have been very different. There probably wouldn’t have been a Korean war, and the Soviet Union would have wound up much weaker. In addition, without the horrible losses of World War II, it would have been interesting to see if Stalin could have maintained his brutal grip.

No matter what the result, the world would look very, very different today. But the U.S. would still be the big power in the world.

I don’t see how an invasion of Europe by the Allies would be possible. The D-Day landing was nearly turned back at a number of points as it was. If only half the massive numbers of armored Panzer groups and aircraft that were lost to the Soviets were instead used to counterattack Allied landings, I doubt that D-Day would succeed. Monty was tied down. If Patton had made a breakthrough, the German air and armor would cut off his supply lines. He’d run out of fuel just like the Germans did in the Battle of the Bulge.

Yes, the USA had overwhelming industrial capacity, but the problem is logistics. Germany would deny Allies the use of a base of operations (UK). D-Day took years of preparation, and surprise was possible only because the plan could be implemented overnight across the English channel. Without UK airbases, the Allies would never have achieved air supremacy over Europe. Instead, Germany would have air supremacy and further destroy the logistical support for an inland invasion by the Allies.

With Germany’s air supremacy, Allied tanks that did manage to land in Europe could be effectively picked off by mere Stukas, not to mention the masses of fighter-bombers that Germany used so effectively on the Eastern front.

The USA would have long supply lines, and no safe harbor within reach of the enemy. Germany would be fighting with short supply lines, and plenty of reinforcements. The logistics of that situation nullifies America’s industrial advantage for a years.

Only 1000 jet planes were produced. Without D-Day and the Soviet cataclysm, Gemany would have had the time and capacity to produce many thousands of jet aircraft. This would give Germany a strategic advantage for at least a year or two starting in 1945. Long-range, high flying German jet bombers would have been able to attack any base the Allies established after that.