Okay, so Adolph Hitler greatly underestimated both Russian and US resolve and ended up being crushed by the allies. We know what really happened, but what if Germany had seen and done things differently. Is it likely that things would have turned out differently?
What if in Hitler had raced across Europe to the Atlantic Ocean and at the same time signed a non agression pact with Russia and then actually didn’t attack Russia?
What if Hitler had occupied the UK and therefore not allowed them to become a staging area for the US?
What if Hitler had signed a true alliance with Japan and somehow coordinated a two front war with the US before there was time for the US to build up its forces?
Under any circumstances would Germany or Japan been able to sustain a war against mainland US or was it just too costly? Or no matter how you slice it was Germany doomed to failure once the US entered the war regardless of what Japan or Russia did?
How is Hitler going to coordinate a two front war against the US? I mean, what’s the second front? Japan had a decent sized navy and is close enough to US territory in the Pacific (the Phillipines, Guam) that it can invade those places. Germany had almost no surface navy and would have had to stage an amphibious attack from France to the US Eastern seaboard. They’d also have to do this with no air support (because the Germans didn’t have any planes that could make it across the Atlantic and back and no aircraft carriers)
There are no answers to these “What-ifs,” that is why they have supported an industry.
“The British provided the time, the Americans the wealth, the Russians the blood.” -Joe Stalin. If Hitler could have kept the Soviets out of it, everything becomes possible. The two main variants would be defeat of the British, or a settlement with them.
But this ignores who Hitler was. Destroying Communism was his entire Raisinette ™. If Hitler knocked out the British, he most certainly would have stabbed Stalin in the back (or perhaps visa versa).
The Brits (if not occupied) would be rearmed and ready and would almost certainly jumped back into it. Sort of like the Napoleonic Wars. One Anglo proxy after another hitting the Germans for decades. Of course they would try to drag the Americans in on it. Might have worked too.
No matter what the particular variant you choose, it would have been a longer war of lower intensity resulting in a much poorer, nastier world.
The only two-front war that would have made sense for Germany and Japan to wage would have been against the Soviet Union, so options #1 and #3 are pretty much mutally exclusive.
Regarding option #2, if Hitler had been able to neutralize Britain, that still wouldn’t have materially changed the balance of power with the U.S. Had Germany tried to strike across the Atlantic, it would be the U.S. who would strike back with submarine warfare and air attacks.
Also, if we posit that Hitler wouldn’t invade the Soviet Union, can we also stipulate that Stalin would have taken advantage of the political instability and Hitler’s focus on conquering Britain? Stalin could have attacked westward and grabbed Poland, Ukraine, Romania, et al. Germany would be right back to an eastern and western front and the Soviets would be just as intractable in peace negotiations.
I don’t believe that is necessarily true. We poured incredible resources into that development based on dire pressing need in the middle of a brutal war. If that situation had not existed, chances are that we would not have put so many resources into that project.
In any scenario, it is quite literally impossible for any force to cross the Atlantic and invade the USA or Canada. Just wasn’t going to happen.
Japan might have, at some point been able to invade the west coast, assuming they somehow managed to gain complete domination of the Pacific, but such an effort would be doomed. Beyond the fact that they were too over-extended in China and the rest of Asia, the population/available soldier numbers and manufacturing capacity comparisons did not favor any single Axis power in a war with the USA.
If Adolf had not attack the USSR, I do not think that Stalin would have attacked him. Stalin had just purged most of his generals and therefore was not in a position to start attacking.
One speculation I read was what if Hitler had invaded the Middle East instead? He would have brushed aside the local British forces and made friends with the locals (the Germans did support local uprisings in Iraq and Iran). then he would have had all the oil he could ever want. THEN he could invade the USSR with much greater resources and from the south as well as from the west. In fact from the south would have been better since it would put him closer to the Soviet oil fields at the start. Also, attacking from the south might have generated a lot of anti-Soviet uprisings amongst the Central Asian republics. I don’t know if the SS would have turned the locals against the Germans like they did in Byelorussia, Russia, and the Ukraine.
If the UK had been invaded, it would have been a knock-down, drag-out fight and the Germans would have been in serious need of some down time before taking on anyone else. Also, I think that the Royal Navy might have relocated to Canada to refit and continue the war from there.
With Germany not engaged in Russia, the war would have been even more brutal and gruelling for the UK and USA - remember how many German divisions were employed against the Soviets. If all that manpower is directed against the Allies, I can see the US trying to speed up even more the atomic program.
If Germany would not have been engaged in Russia, it would have been more brutal and gruelling for the UK. The US would not be in Europe. Sure they would have had maybe more ships attacked but I would hardly call that ‘more brutal and gruelling’.
The Allies would mainly consist of US and Canada with Australia thrown in (who would have had their hands full with Japan) and given the beforementioned notion of North America being rather inconvenient for invasion, I don’t see how ‘all that manpower’ could be directed against the Allies
The Axis powers’ only hope was the same one that they clung to in the real war: that the US would quit because of a loss of nerve or loss of interest. It didn’t happen, of course, but theoretically it could have. Americans hate to lose, and they weren’t the soft cowards that Axis propaganda (and wishful thinking) claimed; but the Americans did make tactical and strategic mistakes, and American forces did occasionally succumb to panic and defeatism.
The US won against Japan, not simply with nuclear weapons, but because Japan had run out of resources to fight a war with (including food – the people were slowly starving). The conventional bombing of Tokyo took more lives than either Hiroshima or Nagasaki, but Hiroshima and Nagasaki were different enough to push the Japanese government into surrender.
So, a couple of A bombs on Germany in 1945 only end the war if Germany can’t sustain the war anyway. With the Soviet Union out of the war, and access to resources in eastern Europe and the Middle East, Germany might still be in a position to negotiate an armistice, regardless of the existence of the A bomb.
My point is that he wasn’t ready. The purge serious degraded the performance of his armed forces. I doubt that the (new) general staff would have been able to take on the wermacht, Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine even by 1944. If Germany had invaded the UK it sure would have been a drain on german power, but the RAF and 8th air force would not have been reducing the Reichs industrial output. So there would have been more tanks and aircraft to give Stalin pause.
As noted above, that just wasn’t how Hitler rolled. He hated Commies almost as much as Jews and would, sooner or later, have attacked the USSR at the instant he found it expedient to do so.
Hitler never had the amphibious assault capability he’d need to invade Britain, probably would never have been able to defeat the mighty Royal Navy and wrest control of the English Channel long enough to permit an invasion, and probably never would have been able to establish air superiority (although there were times during the Battle of Britain when the RAF was very hard-pressed indeed). That said, if he’d conquered Great Britain, the U.S. might have formed an alliance with (IRL neutral) Ireland and used the Emerald Isle as an invasion springboard. Having seen all of Western Europe fall to the Nazis, I think the Irish would have been very receptive to anything that would keep them from meeting the same fate.
Hitler was bound by treaty to declare war on a foe of Japan only if Japan was attacked, IIRC. Japan took the initiative and attacked the U.S. at Pearl Harbor and elsewhere, but Hitler declared war on the U.S. anyway - probably his biggest mistake other than attacking the Soviet Union. A genuine, strategically-integrated German-Japanese alliance might have prolonged the war awhile, but I suspect the end result would have been the same.
Too costly, but more importantly, too far away. Either might have landed some troops on the mainland U.S. in some far-fetched scenario, I suppose, but they could never have hoped to conquer the U.S. militarily at that distance.
After the war, some British (and German!) generals played out wargames of this event. The overall consensus was that the Germans would have been able to get the initial waves across but that the RN would be able to reclaim the channel in a day or so. The german units in the UK would have quickly withered without support in a thoroughly hostile landscape.
I also think that Stalin never would have attacked Germany (unless Germany was already on the verge of defeat for other reasons). Stalin was at heart a coward - he never took any risk he could avoid. And declaring war on Germany would have been a huge risk.
On naval issues, Hitler managed to choose the worst possible plan. He didn’t build enough capital ships to have an effective surface navy but he did build enough to waste a huge amount of resources he could have used on submarines. So he should have either built a lot more or a lot less.
Yup. Unlike the popular image, England was in little danger of falling to Germany on 1940. If Germany wanted to seriously take on Germany, they would have had to ‘lay siege’ to it. Take Egypt, Gibralter etc… Hunker down, build up a navy while isolating England.
It would have taken years.
By that time, The Soviet Union would be much stronger and the U.S. would have hammered japan into a little quivering mass and be MUCH stronger and much more ready to purify the word of aggressors like Germany…especially since Germany would have been antagonzing the U.S. and creating sympathy for England by laying siege.