So I think most historians agree that due to a number of factors not limited to Hiter’s blunder in Russia and other tactical mistakes, Germany could not have won WWII under most any normal and historic scenario. A lack of oil and men were simply too much of a factor for an outright WWII victory in the sense that we know the war. However I wonder if a victory of sorts could have been had if the following happened to change the very parameters of that terrible war.
Germany never breaks the 1939 non agression pact with Russia. Obviously this was eventually going to reach a point of conflict by one side or the other just due to their ideological differences but let us assume that for at least the remainder of the WWII timeframe as we know if (1939-1945/46) that the pact held and the Soviets stayed completely out of the War and Germany made no agression.
Germany stops advancement after the France armistice. Starts good faith negotiations with Britian and generally tries to hold what they have which I believe at this point (June 1940) is Czechoslovakia, Poland, Denmark, France and Norway with attacks just starting in Holland and Belgium.
Italy and that Buffon Mussolini stay out of Greece
Japan does not attack Pearl Harbor (which in turn means Hitler does not declare war on the U.S.) so the States which were very protectionist at the time and not favoring war continue to supply Churchill but do not enter armed conflict due to lack of motivation from Pearl Harbor. Maybe I am wrong here but what is the liklihood that the U.S. enters the War if not attacked?
Japan and Germany actually became true strategic allies in more than name. Japan continues fighting in Manchuria and never gives the U.S even a dirty look.
Spain and Turkey support Germany as Hitler tries to negotiate peace with Britian. Franco was every bit the facist and supported Germany on paper so not too far fetched. Turkey was concerned about Russia but if the Soviet/Nazi pact held that might not be nearly as big a factor.
Hitler does not waste resources on ludicrous plans like Schwerer Gustav, upgrading it’s tanks instead of mass producing, V2 rockets, jet aircraft, etc.
I know these are a ton of what ifs and many would say… while I am at it I should add that Superman took the side of the Axis…
But I am curious if under these or similar scenarios that are at least plausible (definitely not likely), Germany could have secured a different outcome and/or significant delay/peace that would have allowed them to rebuild, resupply and address man and resource issues. Would the free world have let Hitler keep France, Denmark, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Norway, Holland and Belgium if they really believed that would create peace with the remainder of the European nations (not that anyone trusted Hitler I know).
The idea of German ideals and doctrine ever surviving is both fascinating and terrifying and I continuously wonder if there is any scenario where this kind of evil could have taken hold and changed the course of history.
1.) Never would have happened. Hitler hated the Slavic peoples too much. Sooner or later, one of the dictators was going to doublecross the other. I agree with you that Hitler would have been smarter to let the USSR attack Germany, but he could not do that because of his insane bigotry.
2.) Actually, Hitler did offer peace to the UK on what, for Hitler, were pretty good terms. With Churchill in charge, the UK was going to remain in the war unless militarily defeated.
3.) That had little effect, IMO, on the outcome of the war.
4.) Japan pretty much had to attack the US, given our embargo, either that or back down in Asia. I don’t think Togo’s regime would have done that. From everything I’ve read, there was very little chance of peace after the summer of '41. The US would have probably gotten involved in war sooner or later. According to The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, FDR tried to encourage the European governments to do more against Germany well before 1939. Also, we were pretty much in the war with Germany in the summer of '41 – at least our ships were shooting at their ships. The first Americans to die were not the sailors at Pearl Harbor, but the sailors of the USS Kearney and the USS Rueben James. Furthermore, according to TRAFOTTR, Hitler was planning to attack the US sometime around 1943.
5.) If Japan and German were true strategic allies, Japan would have put less resources into places like Guadacanal and more into taking out India. If Germany and Japan could have hooked up in the Middle East and secured its oil, there was a chance they would win.
Spain was exhausted from its civil war. I also think that while Franco was a son of a bitch, he was too smart to trust Hitler. Hitler did try to persuade Spain to get in the war, but Franco wanted too much. Shirer and others recount that Hitler said he would rather have all his teeth pulled than negotiate with El Caudillo again.
7.) Agreed, but what was more crippling was Hitler’s insistence on retaining every bit of captured territory. I recently reread Liddle-Hart’s history of WW2 and Hitler insisted that 27 German divisions be left in the Corland peninsula of the Baltic region to be cut off by the Soviets rather than retreating them to a better defensive position.
So, a lot of this stuff has been discussed, and some of it are ways that Germany could have ‘won’ the war, in theory at least.
This is a tough one. The thing is, Hitler always planned to break the treaty and go after Russia, so you’d have to posit an alternative universe where Hitler is totally different than the reality. Sure…if Hitler is so different that he isn’t planning all along to go after Russia and really only wants Western Europe (completely contrary to the actual Hitler), then Germany would ‘win’ when it takes France and much of the rest of Western Europe. Eventually, almost certainly, Germany and the USSR would have gone to war, but it would have been down the pike a bit.
Wouldn’t have made much difference. It was his invasion of Russia (and stupidly declaring war on the US once the Japanese attacked) that doomed Germany. Whether there is peace between the UK and Germany or Germany stops the mop up of Western Europe is pretty small potatoes in the grand scheme of the war. I suppose if we posit that Germany still goes after Russia, just a bit later, then a peace treaty with the UK first and a year to consolidate and shift forces to the eastern front could have been decisive against Russia in that first great blow, perhaps giving them a bit more men and material and a fully engaged Luftwaffe wholly focused on Russia might have tipped the scales.
Wouldn’t have made much of a difference.
Again, this is a tough one. First off, with the embargo as well as Japan’s ambitions, it was pretty much inevitable they would attack the US. Even had they not, I think that once the Japanese really started moving on the other colonial powers territories the US would have involved itself. On the other side of the world, the US had been engaged for quite a while in a covert maritime war with Germany already, and it almost certainly would have escalated at some point. There would have been a camel and straw incident that pushed one side or the other to war unless your number 1 and 2 happen first, and the US has no reason to try and ship arms and goods to the UK and later Russia through the German blockade.
Or, Japan goes all in and fully attacks the USSR in it’s eastern provinces, negating their ability to shift major forces from Siberia to the west to counter attack after the German offensive stalled. Yeah, this could be decisive, but I’m unsure why Japan WOULD do this from their perspective. But, yeah, had they done this and focused everything on the USSR and taking them out in Siberia it probably would have tipped the scale for a German early victory against Russia, or at least made Russia’s position very difficult. If somehow in this you could posit that the US is convinced to not support Russia with war material and aid I think that would be it for the USSR.
Not sure how this would really affect the war at the time. I don’t see Germany staging troops from Turkey to attack the Russian underbelly, when they were initially driving into western Russia anyway. Perhaps later in the war it might have made a difference with the campaigns to seize Russia oil production in the south.
Spain wouldn’t have made any material difference.
Yeah, this is the big one. But, as with the first one you have to posit a Hitler who isn’t really Hitler. He was obsessed with wonder weapons. He also was a micromanage to the nth degree. Hell, I’d say he was the greatest weapon the allies had against the axis during the war as he was an idiot of Trumpian proportions.
But, sure, had Germany focused on production of tried and true technologies (say, upgrades and variations of the Panzer IV or ME109/FW190, etc) and developed a 4 engine bomber instead of going for jets…or, hell, developed the ME262 but didnt’ stupidly try and make it a bomber…and put resources into things like trucks and jeeps for logistics (instead of horse drawn carts and shanks mare for a large part of their infantry)…it would have made a big difference. Had they put their economy on a real war time footing early on, that also would have made a huge difference. There were a ton of really stupid decisions they made (many if not most that Hitler made) it could have really had a profound effect on the wars outcome.
In a lot of cases, Germany COULD have had a different outcome…but then, a lot of the reasons for the war wouldn’t have happened. If you posit a different, less idiotic ruler for Germany who doesn’t make the same mistakes then it’s hard to say what might have happened. If Germany had a more sane command structure, say, that alone would have made a huge difference…but then, that command structure was how he kept the other Nazi’s in check and kept himself firmly in power.
By late 1941, the United States and Germany were engaging in open warfare on the high seas. The USA was drafting soldiers and rearming as fast as possible, and it wasn’t because they wanted to hold parades. War with Germany was inevitable; it would not have formally been declared in December 1941 were it not for Pearl Harbor, but it would have happened in 1942.
I haven’t read the book, so summarize. How would Germany have attacked the US? An invading force with boots on the ground? Shelling coastal cities? Blockading ports with ships or subs? Shooting Jews out of cannons?
There is no realistic way Germany could have actually invaded the US. They didn’t even have the capacity to invade Britain. Nonetheless, they did investigate the use of long-range bombers to attack US factories and cities, and at one point they actually did land saboteurs on US soil. The bombers could not be fabricated due to Germany’s limited resources (and - realistically - they would have just been shot down anyway), so Germany gave up on that idea pretty quickly. One of the saboteurs they attempted to infiltrate surrendered to the authorities and the remainder were quickly captured.
Hitler knew the US was a rising power, and he knew that a confrontation would come at some point in the future (presumably after he defeated Russia and consolidated control over Europe). It was never really more than a pipe dream and had zero chance of ever being realized. Even a really dedicated and competent sabotage campaign (which failed spectacularly in Britain) could not have done more than scratch the US war machine.
Actually that was War fever. If the Japanese had settled with taking the Dutch east Indies and attacking British colonies, America would have simply continued it’s Lend lease and embargos. The DEI were rich in oil, that would have solved the oil issue.
The Japanese sneak attack and Hitlers declaration were in a way, actually just what FDR wanted. America never would have gone to war otherwise.
Admiral Canaris, the Head of the Abwehr , hated Hitler and was a good friend of Franco. Apparently he warned Franco that Hitler was not to be trusted. Franco never actually said “no” to Hitler, but kept piling on conditions, etc. This infuriated Hitler, as you pointed out. Honestly, altho no doubt Franco was a Dictator and by no means a nice guy, the Spanish should give him props for standing up to Hitler (which few other could), keeping Spain out of WW2, and a peaceful return to a Democracy when Franco was done.
Going back to the OP, if Churchill had not become PM, something which was very much in doubt, yes Hitlers offer may have been accepted. With Peace on his Western flank, Hitler may have been able to take out Russia. Remember, Russia NEEDE Lend-lease and iad and pressure on the Western fronts. Even Stalin said so.
Yes, the USSR fought bravely and hard. But seeing no aid coming, might have made Stalin crack and certainly would have hurt morale.
Yep. Once Hitler attacked Russia while still at war with GB, it was over. Without British and USA aid, I think the USSR would have fallen, however. That is the only “what if” that makes the Axis win.
Maybe. FDR certainly would have pushed hard. However, Isolationists were a powerful force. I think everything short of war…
Well, the point was that the Allies (more or less) acted as Allies. Seeing disaster if Russia fell, the uSA and GB shipped massive aid to Russia. Japan and Germany just had common foes, they were barely allies. Sure Germany shipped a couple sub loads to Japan, but that was insignificant. If Japan had realized that with the USSR falling then their own war with the USA could be won, they could have hit the USSR hard. *Maybe *that would have won the war for the Axis but that is a big IF.
This scenario runs into the same problem as many of the others: If Hitler made peace with Britain, he has no more motivation to attack Russia.
Invading Russia was an act of desperation. Hitler perceived Europe as being dominated by Britain and Russia. He was sure that the US would enter the war sooner or later. In Hitler’s mind, the clock was ticking and he had to take action before the Anglo-American alliance decided to act. Attacking Russia allowed him to (A) sieze Russian food and oil, upon which Germany relied and (B) intimidate Britain. He believed that if Russia were defeated, Britain would capitulate and come to a negotiated truce. So he lashed out at the only power he could strike.
If Britain were to make peace with Hitler before 1941, that race against the clock dissolves and he has no more reason to make war on Russia. He might have sought a war at a later date, but Hitler himself admitted the German people would not support a war with Russia if it came after Britain.
No. Hitler didn’t attack the USSR out of desperation. Or part of some overarching struggle with Britain. The plan was always to attack Russia. It was for the ‘elbow room’ for the German people. He actually didn’t want a war with the UK…he felt that they were Germany’s natural allies and he actually made some effort to not go to war with them and stop the war once it started.
This is only partially correct. Hitler often expressed his dislike of communists and Slavs in general, and the claim that Germans needed “living room.” But while he might have disliked Russia and contemplated an eventual war, it does NOT explain the actual reasons he chose to invade Russia.
The reasons I provided are precisely the reasons Hitler himself enumerated for his 1941 invasion and these are the reasons people like Goering related after the war. His decision-making process in 1940 was well-documented and in it the Anglo-American threat weighs much more heavily than his ideological convictions about race and politics.
And there is one point I will repeat: Hitler himself did not believe the Germans would fight Russia absent a threat from the Anglo-American alliance. Therefore, if Hitler’s ultimate goal was an eventual war with Russia, peace with Britain would have been counterproductive to pursuing that goal.
Having gamed, and won, as Germany several times, I have come to believe that a war with the Westen allies was the worst possible senario. There was little or no incentive for UK or France to stop the destruction of the USSR. Targeting the Soviets first, with the goal of “liberating” the Ukraine and Crimea, would have given Germany the resources it needed to grow and develop a full war economy. IMO there is little chance UK, France and especially the USA would have chosen to intervene to help Stalin.
Given adequate food and fuel, Germany technological advancements would have made an intervention in Russia by the west even less likely.
German failures in WW2 were from corruption and lack of resources as much as incompetent military leadership. But what else can one expect when a fundamentally criminal group is allowed to have control of a nation.
Once the invasion of the Soviet Union actually happened, I think that Hitler’s biggest mistake was attempting the symbolic but otherwise useless capture of Moscow. If he had committed most of those troops towards capturing the Caucasus oil fields, I think it would have done more long-term damage to the Soviet war effort.
But, what if the United States entered the war on Germany’s side?
Certainly, Americans had no taste for getting involved in another European mess. Isolationism was ruling the day in the USA. However, a champion of isolationism and the most famous person in the world, Charles Lindbergh, had been decorated by the Luftwaffe. He almost certainly was a Nazi. So, what if he had swayed enough people into believing that the current cluster-f*** in Europe as the fault of the Great War’s victors piling onto the poor Germans, who, this time, had done nothing wrong? Of course, racism had (and has) a huge influence in the United States as well. So, aside from poor Germany being picked on by the victors, many Americans would see some attraction in Hitler’s racist plans, as well.
This is the problem that I have with 90% of these scenarios. That you posit a change that not only would never had happened, but that was diametrically opposed to the goals of the nation or unit in question.
In your example above, Hitler would loved to have avoided war with Britain. Would have avoided war with the United States. Might even have, in a crazy world perhaps avoided war with France (although that’s a stretch). But the one war Hitler was going to never give up was the one with Russia. That was central to virtually everything that he wanted to accomplish.
You might as well ask if the American South could have won the civil war if it had given up slavery in April of 1961 or how world war II would have worked out if the United States surrendered on December 8th, 1941, of if some other nation could have landed on the moon first if the US had cancelled the Apollo program after Apollo 10. You’re asking one of the players to be or do something that was completely out of character.