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Alternate History- What if Hitler had not invaded Russia, would Germany still control Western Europe today?


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2 hours ago, R011 said:

Japan also has nothing to trade for that oil, and when it came to foreign trade, Stalin seems to have understood the basic concept of buying and selling very well.

Japan has 6600 tons of gold, acquired from the vaults of China's national gold reserve in Nanking, that Stalin may find acceptable as payment.

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1 hour ago, RichTO90 said:

Given that the Heer already was over 180 divisions before the decision to invade the USSR its unlikely to reduce. Furthermore, given that over 7-million forced laborers were incorporated into the Reich and the Heer at peak was 1 July 1943 at 10,133,898 it is unlikely it can be shrunk enough to solve the labor problem and simultaneously defend the land borders of the Reich.

As I recall, decision to proceed with invasion to USSR cancelled a huge demobilization which was otherwise planned, plus mandated creating new divisions. And of course once the actual invasion commenced, a flow of replacements which got gradually bigger and bigger.

Really interesting 'what-if' is that Stalin was apparently serious in his request for negotiations about Soviet joining the Axis.

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On 1/13/2021 at 11:32 AM, Stuart Galbraith said:

We already established, the Soviet Union cannot keep Germany supplied in the important fuels they need. Sweden can barely keep them up in metals. And nobody is really offering a supply for food. The Soviet Union can barely feed itself.

USSR was a net exporter of grain through the '30s. After German-Soviet trade agreements, nearly all of this trade went to Germany.

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29 minutes ago, Yama said:

1. In WW1, France was never defeated, also US entered the war and forced German hand. In WW2, yes they won...with USA and USSR on their side. It does not follow from that they would have won it alone.

2. "Hitler favoured production of bombers". Actual production numbers tell a different story. As soon as Germany was forced into defensive, fighter production took over. In 1943, Germany produced twice the number of fighters compared to bombers, and next year over 10 times more.

So, the idea that Germany would helplessly watch Bomber Command to wreck their heartlands and would not produce a single fighter more because Hitler forbade it, is completely fantastical.

And what about production bottlenecks? Sure enough, they existed. How do you resolve them? Well, you build new capacity. Which they did. For example, synthetic fuel production something like doubled during the war. But a major problem was that so much of the workforce was solving issues at the Eastern Front, instead of resolving problems in the Home front.

Also, I don't understand why you write of Window like it won the bombing war, when in actual reality Bomber Command suffered its worst losses AFTER the Window was introduced.

About jets - I agree that the often-circulated fantasies about masses of He-280's sweeping the skies in 1943 if only for those stupid Nazis are nonsense. I do think that realistically, they could have sped up things by about six months without rare material shortage. That is, limited service for Me-262 using Jumo 004A engines circa start of 1944, and large-scale introduction in summer 1944. It's true Allied had their own jet projects so it would have been temporary advantage.

1. Let's put this another way, in which way can the Germans defeat the CW? a very long war will favor the CW winning it, in the conditions as they were on June 22nd 1941. The only places where the Germans were ahead at that point was in the Atlantic and in North Africa.  In both places the battle was turned around without the US or the Soviets (but with Lend lease, of course)

2. Sure, the Germans will try to turn the situation around, which what they did historically, and it didn't work. What new resources freed by not invading the USSR can be used against the British bomber offensive? the answer is none. They were already building as many flak guns, radar and night fighters as they could - building new factories takes time, if they are not bombed in the process. All technologica advances could be countered with time and resources (radar, windows, etc.) but the Germans lacked the resources and time runs out with the A bomb. Bomber Command suffered more losses after the introduction of windows in numerical terms but not in losses per sortie. By 1944 they were certainly gaining the upper hand through the use of multiple techniques.

3. Jets - the problems were not only the critical material shortages, but also the quality of construction and the inmaturity of the technology. Plus, of course, the short range.

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On 1/14/2021 at 3:03 PM, wendist said:

IF the British ever decided to cross the Swedish-Finnish border that is. Chanses are they would not since at the moment the Allies land in Norway the Germans would have to react, most probably by invading Sweden. The British forces then occupying northern Sweden would soon be fully involved in fighting the Germans somewhere in Sweden the way they did in Norway, Belgium and Greece in the real war.

Think it's more likely that Sweden is 'persuaded' into joining Axis (which is what initially happened in Yugoslavia). Churchill's hare-brained scenes would have certainly helped here.

I don't think Germany was in position to very quickly invade Sweden in Spring 1940.

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On 1/15/2021 at 2:46 PM, wendist said:

But were the Germans really able to exploit the SU during the war? I would imagine that much of the infrastructure of western SU would have been damaged in the fighting, the Soviets tried to take as much with them as they could and sabotage the rest and then throughout this period the Germans were busy fighting a war there. From 41-44 how much raw materials/products did the Germans manage to extract from their portion of the SU? If not much then how do we explain that they could keep on fighting for four years?

Hitler led WW2 like someone playing Hearts of Iron: he looked at the map, saw all those delicious industrial resources and raw materials and thought "Why should we pay for those, since we can just conquer them and take them for free?" Many of his advisors warned him before Barbarossa that those dastardly Soviets would just destroy the resources when they withdraw and it would take much effort to get them back in production. Hitler refused to listen such doomcasting, however. Surprisingly enough, it turned out his advisors were correct.

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12 minutes ago, Yama said:

Hitler led WW2 like someone playing Hearts of Iron: he looked at the map, saw all those delicious industrial resources and raw materials and thought "Why should we pay for those, since we can just conquer them and take them for free?" Many of his advisors warned him before Barbarossa that those dastardly Soviets would just destroy the resources when they withdraw and it would take much effort to get them back in production. Hitler refused to listen such doomcasting, however. Surprisingly enough, it turned out his advisors were correct.

Yes, we tend to think eschewing would political, military or scientific advice is a modern discovery...

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Churchill had experience from his time as First Sea Lord (if I got the title right) and FDR had some kind of similar position in the US (although in peace time) while Hitler had been a Gefreiter in WWI. Maybe if he had attended a six month general staff officer course in 1938 Nazi-Germany would have done better. Now that's one hell of a what if, the ultimate Hitler not being Hitler.😂

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1 hour ago, RETAC21 said:

1. Let's put this another way, in which way can the Germans defeat the CW? a very long war will favor the CW winning it, in the conditions as they were on June 22nd 1941. The only places where the Germans were ahead at that point was in the Atlantic and in North Africa.  In both places the battle was turned around without the US or the Soviets (but with Lend lease, of course)

 

Germany does not need to win, the price for the UK to win must just be high enough to agree to a settlement that is favourable to Germany.

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9 minutes ago, seahawk said:

Germany does not need to win, the price for the UK to win must just be high enough to agree to a settlement that is favourable to Germany.

True, but Germany lacks the ability to exact such a price before the CW exacts such a loss that Germany must ask for terms.

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1 hour ago, Yama said:

As I recall, decision to proceed with invasion to USSR cancelled a huge demobilization which was otherwise planned, plus mandated creating new divisions. And of course once the actual invasion commenced, a flow of replacements which got gradually bigger and bigger.

Nope. In the aftermath of the sudden French collapse, the four non-Welle divisions forming from Landesschützen, nine divisions of the 9. Welle forming from Landesschützen, and the nine divisions forming from Ersatztruppen were cancelled. The major reorganization was in the fall and winter of 1940-1941. A large number of reservists were furloughed to industry and then were re-inducted in the spring.

The German "flow of replacements" did not get "gradually bigger and bigger", it got smaller and smaller. The replacement problem was critical before BARBAROSSA began. As of 1 June 1941, the replacement pool for the Heer consisted of 80,000 personnel in the divisional FEB and 320,000 trained replacements in the Ersatzheer. Otherwise, the only manpower pool available was Jahrgänge 1922, whose call up had been delayed in order to ease the civilian employment situation. Thus, of 565,060 men registered as fit for service (in what was assessed as an uncommonly large year group), 117,565 already volunteered and were in the Wehrmacht, 72,435 were deferred as critical civilian workers (UK-gestellte), and 375,062 were classed as Reserve I personnel available for service. Of those, 170,125 were already doing RAD service (pre-military work training), so 200,000 were available for call up. Under existing plans, 72.5% would go to the Heer, 22% to the Luftwaffe, 4.1% to the Kriegsmarine, and 1.4% to the SS; manpower was always prioritized to the Heer. From JG 1922 it was downhill as the replacement pool continued to shrink, falling below 500,000 each year of whom only about 400,000 a year could be expected to be suitable for military service.

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52 minutes ago, wendist said:

Churchill had experience from his time as First Sea Lord (if I got the title right)...

True. Much of that experience was screwing things up, however.

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1 hour ago, Yama said:

Think it's more likely that Sweden is 'persuaded' into joining Axis (which is what initially happened in Yugoslavia). Churchill's hare-brained scenes would have certainly helped here.

I don't think Germany was in position to very quickly invade Sweden in Spring 1940.

This was probably the number one worst case scenario for the swedish PM at the time, to have the country dragged into a war we did not want to participate in and on the wrong side as well. With allied troops already in Narvik and possibly Trondheim any German response would have to go through Denmark-Sweden, a sort of Weserübung-Ost. Swedish resistance would initially be very weak, if we would fight the Germans at all, since 99,8% of our forces were up north.

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6 hours ago, R011 said:

IN 1941, the Americans barely have a presence in Asia and the rest of the West's interests and forces are in South and Sout east Asia well away from Soviet interests in the north east.  Japan, on the other hand, shares a border with the USSR, is occupying the same parts of Asia in which Russia and the Soviet Union have been interested since the 19th century.  Japan also has noth9ing to trade for that oil, and when it came to foreign trade, Stalin seems to have understood the basic concept of buying and selling very well.

Yeah, I was conceding that point because it was the closest thing to a reason Glen could come up with.  The Soviets were on the hook to deliver 900,000 metric tons of oil to Germany, in return for actual goods.  I suspect that, that is as much as Stalin figured he could spare so the odds of the Soviets diverting oil to Japan in anticipation of making it marginally harder for the US to fight in the future seems pretty far fetched.

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23 hours ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

Yes. At the time it made sense, to get as much foreign support (American or otherwise) to back us up in what was a relatively stable, yet undeniably sticky situation. We were in trouble in 1940. But not nearly as much trouble as was presented then or subsequently. British politicians have emphasised it since, partly because it reflects on the heroic nature of Churchill (im not sure he really needs building up) and our military strength compared to other European nations (which they have done their best to emasculate at every given opportunity).

Interestingly, I can also see the "Britain Stands Alone" narrative having a certain amount of appeal in the United States, both at the time and postwar, as it somewhat ennobles America's entry into the war the same way an act of rescue would, and papers over the somewhat uncomfortable question of what took it so long to do so.

This appeal may be another reason why the Alone narrative lingers on to this day. 

23 hours ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

I remember when Derek Robinson made some of these observations back in the late 1980's in 'A Piece of Cake'. He was hauled over the coals for it, both over that and his depiction of less than perfect RAF pilots. OTOH, it was undeniably a national myth and someone had to smash it.

Now that is a name I have not heard in a seriously long time. It aired in the U.S. on PBS many years ago (early 90s?), and the first memory that comes to mind of the few episodes I caught is "this is not what I was expecting". AFAIK, the fallout from it in Britain, which I did not even know existed, did not make it across the Atlantic.

To depict the RAF in France the way Robinson did is worthy of respect for both the creator and the message itself.

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On 1/16/2021 at 2:53 AM, Nobu said:

The impression given by the Maisky diaries is that the British were furious at the news of Finland's armistice with the USSR, and that had the Finns held out until May, war was imminent. The diaries reflect a Soviet interpretation of conversations and events, however.

If the British and French decide not to cross the neutral zone, there is another option: to land in Finland directly, or in the USSR itself. 

I do not doubt that his impression was correct but what right did the British have to be angry? If they wanted war with the USSR they could start one whenever they wanted, just bomb the Baku oilfields, surely that should count as an act of war. Perhaps the sudden lack of war in the region deprived the Allies of a political fig leaf to hide behind when they wanted to send troops to northern Scandinavia.

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2 hours ago, Nobu said:

Interestingly, I can also see the "Britain Stands Alone" narrative having a certain amount of appeal in the United States, both at the time and postwar, as it somewhat ennobles America's entry into the war the same way an act of rescue would, and papers over the somewhat uncomfortable question of what took it so long to do so.

This appeal may be another reason why the Alone narrative lingers on to this day. 

Now that is a name I have not heard in a seriously long time. It aired in the U.S. on PBS many years ago (early 90s?), and the first memory that comes to mind of the few episodes I caught is "this is not what I was expecting". AFAIK, the fallout from it in Britain, which I did not even know existed, did not make it across the Atlantic.

To depict the RAF in France the way Robinson did is worthy of respect for both the creator and the message itself.

Not as much as you might think. Most Americans thought Empires a fairly abhorrent thing (look at the way the State Department behaved postwar), and there was zero sympathy involved after the 1930's for Europes problems.  In fact, so much ground had to be made up, the British film industry went all out to try and make propaganda films to that end, the best known is 49th Parallel, but there were others. You can read American reviews of 'That Damned Hamilton woman' online probably, slamming it for what they viewed as thinly veilled British propaganda. There was even a little known unit of British intelligence putting out what would know be known as 'fake news', spreading stories about Nazi Airbases in Mexico, how Britain was losing but valiantly killing nazi's, that kind of thing.

In the end, the only thing that made a difference was Hitler declaring war on the US.  We forget now, we just were not that close to the United States in the 1930s and 1940s. Even our alliance in WW2 was officially cobeligerants. We never had a formal alliance as we had, for example, with France. We were fighting for different things when you get down to it.

Today, we view it as the 'special relationship', because America saw some lingering use for the UK and its Empire in sigint postwar, and clearly as time went on we needed more and more from the US. But as said, it was a different relationship back then. Its not a complaint, I just think it affects how we look at the wartime alliance, and it really shouldnt. It was a different relationship then.

Robinson was/is a local writer, and by and large from what ive read, a fairly creative one (the novel he wrote about the same squadron in WW1 is worth reading). The main complaint was less about the invasion narrative being impossible (which of course, he was completely right) than knocking the few off their pedestal by showing them as ordinary people, some of them right bastards. And reading what I have about how Sailor Malan passed up responsiblity for a rather horrid friendly fire incident, and as we have already discussed, Douglas Bader, there is a fair degree of truth in that too. Though perhaps putting them all in one squadron for comic effect was rather unlikely...

Good series. Ray Hanna flew MH434 under a Bridge for that one.

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10 hours ago, seahawk said:

Germany does not need to win, the price for the UK to win must just be high enough to agree to a settlement that is favourable to Germany.

Yes, but look at where we were in 1945. Bankrupt. If that wasnt enough to get Britain to sue for terms with Germany, then what was?

 

1 hour ago, wendist said:

I do not doubt that his impression was correct but what right did the British have to be angry? If they wanted war with the USSR they could start one whenever they wanted, just bomb the Baku oilfields, surely that should count as an act of war. Perhaps the sudden lack of war in the region deprived the Allies of a political fig leaf to hide behind when they wanted to send troops to northern Scandinavia.

Well we already had a volunteer unit in Northern Scandinavia. I get the impression the idea was to fight the Soviets, without being seen to fight the Soviets.

https://www.militaryimages.net/threads/british-winter-war-volunteers.2217/

 

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49 minutes ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

Yes, but look at where we were in 1945. Bankrupt. If that wasnt enough to get Britain to sue for terms with Germany, then what was?

 

Well we already had a volunteer unit in Northern Scandinavia. I get the impression the idea was to fight the Soviets, without being seen to fight the Soviets.

https://www.militaryimages.net/threads/british-winter-war-volunteers.2217/

 

Interesting link but those volunteers were there any link to the British army or any government organisation? They seem to have arrived in Finland without any equipment.

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7 minutes ago, wendist said:

Interesting link but those volunteers were there any link to the British army or any government organisation? They seem to have arrived in Finland without any equipment.

It was a quasi British Government operation I think. I dont have much in the way of details, but the uniform of them (the guy on combat dealers bought one on a trip to Finland) was essentially a British Army battledress. But I get the impression they wanted to make it as deniable as possible, at least at first.

Doing a quick search, both the British and the French Governments proposed intervening in the Winter War at one point.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franco-British_plans_for_intervention_in_the_Winter_War

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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11 hours ago, RETAC21 said:

True, but Germany lacks the ability to exact such a price before the CW exacts such a loss that Germany must ask for terms.

I am not sure. If the USA stays out and the Soviets stay out (or lean to support Germany). It has many ramifications.

Germany:

- less resources needed

- more manpower to fight the UK, but less manpower overall

- less direct control of resources

- the longer the war goes on, the bigger the risk of a Soviet attack becomes

UK:

- access to the USA´s industrial might only through lend and lease

- access to the USA´s manpower limited to volunteers

- a possible chance that the Soviets could switch to the Axis

- no real option to move into Berlin for the next few years

 

Imho both will face the problem, that the longer they keep fighting, the bigger the chance becomes, that the Soviets will benefit from the fight and if they do, neither side will be in a position to stop the Soviets. Sure it all depends on Hitler not being Hitler, but that is a given for that "what if" in the first place.

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As time goes on, its more likely the Soviets will move against Germany. Simply put because they are next door to it, and their navy isnt really up to the task of fighting the Royal Navy. India is a possiblity, except they need to go through mountains, and if the Soviet Army didnt shine in the Winter war, its probably not going to do much better fighting over a mountain (It didnt exactly shine at mountain fights in Afghanistan as we know).

This was ostensibly the reason Hitler gave to General Mohnke in Berlin in 1945, that Hitler said they had to invade them, before they got strong enough to invade Germany. Ok, not the most reliable source I grant you, but it does suggest it was on the Nazi minds.

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17 minutes ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

It was a quasi British Government operation I think. I dont have much in the way of details, but the uniform of them (the guy on combat dealers bought one on a trip to Finland) was essentially a British Army battledress. But I get the impression they wanted to make it as deniable as possible, at least at first.

Doing a quick search, both the British and the French Governments proposed intervening in the Winter War at one point.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franco-British_plans_for_intervention_in_the_Winter_War

Yeah the plans in that link has been discussed here a couple of times. The logistics for the allies would have been bad, one small port and one railway line to support a 130000 men army. Sweden would have ended up in the same situation as Belgium did in May 1940, we would have been so fucked.

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34 minutes ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

Unless Sweden intervened too. After all, having the Communists as neighbours was hardly likely to be much better than being invaded by them.

IMHO not a chance. The moment the first Allied soldier sets foot in Narvik all iron ore shipments to Germany will stop, ten minutes later Adolf will have a fit followed by a demand to Sweden/Norway to allow German forces to enter in order to restore Norwegian control of Narvik. With the bulk of the Swedish army already based in northern Sweden the swedish government is firmly placed between a rock and a hard place. Fight the British and thus end up on the German side or fight the Germans who will surely invade the very weakly defended southern Sweden and will probably reach as far north as Stockholm before meeting any serious opposition. Even with Allied help we would still face a "Belgian situation" where we would have the dubious honour of hosting the 1940 world cup in head bashing. The French would be pleased no doubt. 

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