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Thread: Alternative start to WW2

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    Member Bartender's Avatar
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    Alternative start to WW2

    I've been searching the web recently looking for an analysis of what would have happened if Germany had preemptively attacked France instead of Poland to start WW2. Had the Germans defeated the french in the same manner they did historically how would the war have been different? Germany would not have had to invade the soviet union since it would have Poland as a buffer state. It would have allowed for full focus to be put on the North African/Battle of Britain possibly a capture of the Suez/Egypt which would have hampered supplies to india and the pacific.

    I think had the war been done like this WW2 would have been broken up into 2 separate conflicts. One involving the third Reich vs the allies then a war in the future of the Reich vs the soviet union. Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Minister of Love Roger Mexico's Avatar
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    I've been searching the web recently looking for an analysis of what would have happened if Germany had preemptively attacked France instead of Poland to start WW2.
    http://www.alternatehistory.org/discussion/


    Interesting thread idea, though.

    All signs seem to point to Hitler planning to invade the USSR eventually, of course, but perhaps you're right and he might have delayed to secure France and some sort of bow-out from the British first.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ptah View Post
    No history, no exposition, no anecdote or argument changes the invariant: we are all human beings, and some humans are idiots.

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    Senior Member Starjots's Avatar
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    Interesting.

    Other than the Poland/buffer state part this might have been the original plan (which I didn't know). We know Germany and the Soviet Union had a non-aggression pact signed in August 1939 that was supposed to last 10 years. But also

    The countries entered a trade pact in 1940, in which the Soviets received German military and industrial equipment in exchange for raw materials, such as oil or wheat, to help Germany circumvent a British blockade.[42]

    Despite the parties' ongoing relations, each side was highly suspicious of the other's intentions. After Germany entered the Axis Pact with Japan and Italy, it began negotiations about a potential Soviet entry into the pact.[43] After two days of negotiations in Berlin from 1214 November, Germany presented a proposed written agreement for a Soviet entry into the Axis. The Soviet Union offered a written counterproposal agreement on 25 November 1940, to which Germany did not respond.

    The invasion was authorized by Hitler on 18 December 1940.
    (wikipedia - Operation Barbarossa)

    Hitler didn't just invade because he hated the Slavs, he had strategic reasons (in his mind) for doing so

    -When the Soviet Union was defeated, the labor shortage in German industry could be relieved by demobilization of many soldiers.[citation needed]
    -Ukraine would be a reliable source of agricultural products.[citation needed]
    -Having the Soviet Union as a source of forced labor under German rule would vastly improve Germany's geostrategic position.[citation needed]
    -Defeat of the Soviet Union would further isolate the Allies, especially the United Kingdom.[citation needed]
    -The German economy needed more oil controlling the Baku Oilfields would achieve this; as Albert Speer, the German Minister for Armaments and War Production, later said in his post-war interrogation, "the need for oil certainly was a prime motive" in the decision to invade.
    I think this list and the fact Stalin proposed something unacceptable to Hitler in November 1940 shows what might have happened.

    - labor shortage, industrial output not helped with all that slave labor
    - the UK, if it held out, which it was doing before war with Soviet Union - would still be a base of operations later
    - shortages of oil, Stalin could cut off the supply at any time and shortages of food due to blockade
    - the Soviet Union might attack when they were good and ready

    Another historical parallel Hitler was probably looking at was Napoleon who found himself in a similar situation in 1805. Napoleon wanted to invade England but his plans were frustrated by Trafalgar. So he went elsewhere, pacifying Austria again and then sinking a lot of resources into Spain. Hitler might have seen a grab at the Middle East with a lot of forces in a similar light - a rat hole that he didn't want to become his Spain. Napoleon waited seven years to attack Russia and got handed his ass, Hitler probably didn't want to give Stalin a similar amount of time to prepare for inevitable conflict.

    All that being said, since Germany lost the war as it played out it might have been a really good idea to try it differently. But it wouldn't be all upside - he'd have to watch his back and avoid conflict while trying to grab England. Once the USA was in it with significant troops in UK I don't think he could take England and eventually Stalin would jump in.

    So, if he didn't win by late 1942 or early 1943 he'd lose eventually, but the war might have drug on longer. Germany would still get wrecked with strategic bombing and the A bombs wouldn't see their first use in Japan.

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    Persona Oblongata OrionzRevenge's Avatar
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    ^^^Yeah, I'm not seeing it as an obvious winning alternative.

    Hitler was surprised that Britain & France went to war over Poland. Having backed away from helping the significantly fortified and armed Czechs, and having to commit a bit of political hypocrisy and declare war on the NAZIs while ignoring that Stalin also invaded and occupied an even larger chunk of Poland...
    I can kind of see why Hitler would be in that frame of mind. And Hitler didn't feel he was ready to to open up a Western Front in the Fall of 1939.

    So my thinking is that, despite how rapidly France might folded under a surprise attack, Britain would have just as quickly declared war over an invasion of France.

    And so the question is: What would be the variation in advantages & disadvantages going West first?

    DISADVANTAGES:

    >>As Starjots noted, they wouldn't have all the pillaged resources and slave labor from Poland

    >>The BEF wouldn't have had time to have been deployed. Thus, no Dunkirk where the BEF was Decimated, Demoralized, and Disarmed of most of its equipment, and An Operation Sea-Lion would have been that much tougher for it.

    >>Also, the Brits might have sent the "Little Ships" to rescue Free-French forces instead.

    ADVANTAGES:
    ?

    ------------------------------------

    Things that I think may well have been game changers would be:

    >>If Hitler shit-canned the idea of re-building a surface fleet to rival Britain (It was never gonna happen), and use those resources to build U-Boats and research advanced U-Boat designs.

    >>Shit-Can V-1 & V-2 research in favor of developing a Heavy Bomber.

    >>A much stronger emphasis on pressed and stamped parts manufacturing of mass-produced war goods vs well-crafted and engineered small output.
    Creativity is the residue of time wasted. ~ Albert Einstein

  5. #5
    Senior Member Starjots's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OrionzRevenge View Post
    Things that I think may well have been game changers would be:

    >>If Hitler shit-canned the idea of re-building a surface fleet to rival Britain (It was never gonna happen), and use those resources to build U-Boats and research advanced U-Boat designs.

    >>Shit-Can V-1 & V-2 research in favor of developing a Heavy Bomber.

    >>A much stronger emphasis on pressed and stamped parts manufacturing of mass-produced war goods vs well-crafted and engineered small output.
    The Germans certainly had a lot of almost there amazing weapons by the end of the war but came up short compared to the allies in ^^^^

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    Member Bartender's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Mexico View Post
    http://www.alternatehistory.org/discussion/


    Interesting thread idea, though.

    All signs seem to point to Hitler planning to invade the USSR eventually, of course, but perhaps you're right and he might have delayed to secure France and some sort of bow-out from the British first.
    Blocked at work FML

    Quote Originally Posted by Starjots View Post
    Interesting.

    Other than the Poland/buffer state part this might have been the original plan (which I didn't know). We know Germany and the Soviet Union had a non-aggression pact signed in August 1939 that was supposed to last 10 years. But also

    (wikipedia - Operation Barbarossa)

    Hitler didn't just invade because he hated the Slavs, he had strategic reasons (in his mind) for doing so



    I think this list and the fact Stalin proposed something unacceptable to Hitler in November 1940 shows what might have happened.

    - labor shortage, industrial output not helped with all that slave labor
    - the UK, if it held out, which it was doing before war with Soviet Union - would still be a base of operations later
    - shortages of oil, Stalin could cut off the supply at any time and shortages of food due to blockade
    - the Soviet Union might attack when they were good and ready

    Another historical parallel Hitler was probably looking at was Napoleon who found himself in a similar situation in 1805. Napoleon wanted to invade England but his plans were frustrated by Trafalgar. So he went elsewhere, pacifying Austria again and then sinking a lot of resources into Spain. Hitler might have seen a grab at the Middle East with a lot of forces in a similar light - a rat hole that he didn't want to become his Spain. Napoleon waited seven years to attack Russia and got handed his ass, Hitler probably didn't want to give Stalin a similar amount of time to prepare for inevitable conflict.

    All that being said, since Germany lost the war as it played out it might have been a really good idea to try it differently. But it wouldn't be all upside - he'd have to watch his back and avoid conflict while trying to grab England. Once the USA was in it with significant troops in UK I don't think he could take England and eventually Stalin would jump in.

    So, if he didn't win by late 1942 or early 1943 he'd lose eventually, but the war might have drug on longer. Germany would still get wrecked with strategic bombing and the A bombs wouldn't see their first use in Japan.
    As was said earlier Hitler did not think the allies would declare war over Poland. They have rolled over previous to that and he thought it continue to happen. He had plenty of reason to invade but it was also sped up because they shared a border. I doubt the soviets would have been mobilizing to the same extent if Poland was to be kept as a buffer. It is true that Germany would lose out on a lot of labor coming from Poland but on the other hand Poland's industrial assistance from labor didn't really start to take affect during the battle of britian. Hitler could not simply wait when he had a border with the soviets. At any time the soviet steam roller could crush the germans. With Poland blocking the Russian bear Hitler could spend as long as he wanted to get the brits to accept peace. If it took 3 years or 5 doesn't matter Hitler would no longer be in a time crunch. With the Americans no longer providing supplies to the soviets incentive to cut American supplies would be lower as well.

    The Lack of oil would be a lot less of an issue in a purely naval and air war the civilians would have to go without but I think it is totally possible for Germany to keep up a air war with the oil supplies they had.

    Quote Originally Posted by OrionzRevenge View Post
    ^^^Yeah, I'm not seeing it as an obvious winning alternative.

    Hitler was surprised that Britain & France went to war over Poland. Having backed away from helping the significantly fortified and armed Czechs, and having to commit a bit of political hypocrisy and declare war on the NAZIs while ignoring that Stalin also invaded and occupied an even larger chunk of Poland...
    I can kind of see why Hitler would be in that frame of mind. And Hitler didn't feel he was ready to to open up a Western Front in the Fall of 1939.

    So my thinking is that, despite how rapidly France might folded under a surprise attack, Britain would have just as quickly declared war over an invasion of France.

    And so the question is: What would be the variation in advantages & disadvantages going West first?

    DISADVANTAGES:

    >>As Starjots noted, they wouldn't have all the pillaged resources and slave labor from Poland

    >>The BEF wouldn't have had time to have been deployed. Thus, no Dunkirk where the BEF was Decimated, Demoralized, and Disarmed of most of its equipment, and An Operation Sea-Lion would have been that much tougher for it.

    >>Also, the Brits might have sent the "Little Ships" to rescue Free-French forces instead.

    ADVANTAGES:
    ?

    ------------------------------------

    Things that I think may well have been game changers would be:

    >>If Hitler shit-canned the idea of re-building a surface fleet to rival Britain (It was never gonna happen), and use those resources to build U-Boats and research advanced U-Boat designs.

    >>Shit-Can V-1 & V-2 research in favor of developing a Heavy Bomber.

    >>A much stronger emphasis on pressed and stamped parts manufacturing of mass-produced war goods vs well-crafted and engineered small output.
    I assumed the British would join to defend the French. The main positive to this plan is diversity in action and time. It secures the flank, Germany would thus be safe from a European land war after a defeat of france. The british would lack the forces to force a beach head the Germans would lack the ability to take the war onto the british isles(besides air power and possible commando raids). It would allow greater resources to go into the war in Africa as well as allow the Germans to commit more of the Luftwaffe instead of holding some in reserve on the eastern front.

    Would the British been able to hold out for multiple years in a situation of full German focus on them? Would Franco have joined if the war was going that well and only against the British? Having the Russians blocked by Poland would really strengthen the German position I would think. In the event of a Russian invasion of Poland Germany could rush to the aid of the polish and would turn world view against the soviets instead of the Germans. It seems like a positive to me even if all Hitler got was concessions out of the British and French possibly a little land it would allow Hitler to choose to go forward with a war against the Soviets instead of being forced to as a preemptive strike.

    I am Assuming a German blitz through the low countries and the Ardennes with even less time for the French and Brits to prepare would help the Germans fold the French even faster since the BEF would not be there in force in time.

    I agree with the points you made about game changers but I still doubt any of those things would change things that greatly. If I had to pick a game changer it would be an immediate invasion of the island of malta when the itlaians joined the war. This would essentially cut the Mediterranean in half and support Italian ships getting to the African campaign.

    Quote Originally Posted by Starjots View Post
    The Germans certainly had a lot of almost there amazing weapons by the end of the war but came up short compared to the allies in ^^^^
    The Germans were just far more desperate although they did have some good tech it was not as far ahead as the others as it was made out to be. They just pushed out unproven designs and fielded them. One of the only things the Germans had that the allies had nothing like was the V2 and the sturmgewehr. Everything else the Germans had was had by most almost everyone just no one else was in such a position as to need them as badly as the Germans. Had the battle of Britain gone on longer and the situation gotten even more desperate I would speculate they would have started producing the meteor before it had gone through sufficient testing.

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    libertine librarian sandwitch's Avatar
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    I saw something on the History Channel that very strongly suggested that aliens may have been involved.

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    Regular Joe stigmatica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandwitch View Post
    I saw something on the History Channel that very strongly suggested that aliens may have been involved.
    Off topic, I realize... but what the hell happened to the integrity of History, Discovery, Science channels? The other week I caught my mom intensely watching a so called documentary on the discovery of a real live Megalodon shark, and had to convince her of it's invalidity, which was followed by a discussion on whether anything in science is valid (comparing things such as evolutionary theory to the misinformation of the so called shark documentary).

    Anyway, on topic. I was discussing just this scenario with my son the other week, and we had concluded that the only hope Hitler had was to become successful allies with Russia for the entirety of the war, but that personality's were not conducive for such an event to occur.
    Quote Originally Posted by mara View Post
    my crime is that i disrupted the echo chamber

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    Senior Member Starjots's Avatar
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    Assuming a 1939 invasion of France, Hitler should have advised Mussolini to stay neutral until his military was more ready. Italy could have acted as a neutral source of supplies for Germany in the same way the UK relied on America. As it was, Italy ended up being a drain on Germany resources. Their invasion of Greece, for example, put the Romanian oil fields in range of British bombers (the Brits having rushed to Greece's aid) which in turn required a German invasion of Greece/the Balkans.

    Rather than going on an African adventure, I think Germany would have to focus all their resources in taking out Britain directly to have a chance.

  10. #10
    Persona Oblongata OrionzRevenge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stigmatica View Post
    Off topic, I realize... but what the hell happened to the integrity of History, Discovery, Science channels? The other week I caught my mom intensely watching a so called documentary on the discovery of a real live Megalodon shark, and had to convince her of it's invalidity, which was followed by a discussion on whether anything in science is valid (comparing things such as evolutionary theory to the misinformation of the so called shark documentary).

    Anyway, on topic. I was discussing just this scenario with my son the other week, and we had concluded that the only hope Hitler had was to become successful allies with Russia for the entirety of the war, but that personality's were not conducive for such an event to occur.
    It really is a disgrace when you factor in both ad revenues and subscription fees to boot.

    Public television has always seemed to develop quality on a budget without insipid reality shows of pawn-shop antics or the daily minutia of junk pickers.

    I'm thinking about things like:
    At the Movies
    History Detectives
    Antique Roadshow


    It's an issue if harped upon could probably win you the White-House



    Given that Stalin loved purges more than Amy Winehouse, I wouldn't imagine his regime would be as resilient as that of Czar Alexander I, but would be more akin to that of Nicholas II. Thus, I think if Operation Barbarossa had have made the high water marks for North, Central, & South of Leningrad, Moscow, & Stalingrad respectively, then Hitler might have been witness to the great prizes sought in Mien Kampf:
    NAZI homeland in European Russia and the collapse of Communism. >>Possibly with a regime forged more in the Fascist image???

    The failure to reach Leningrad, Moscow, & Stalingrad in the 41-42 offensive was a close run thing, as the Brits like to say, and could have been greatly leveraged by just a little bit of suggestive intrigues by their Oriental allies (and Victors of the Russo-Japanese War in 1905).

    Who knows what might have been (knowing the Japanese penchant for surprise attacks of mighty adversaries) if Hitler would have assured Tito that Germany would enter the war vs the US even if Japan started it.
    Last edited by OrionzRevenge; 09-11-2014 at 10:49 PM.
    Creativity is the residue of time wasted. ~ Albert Einstein

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