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Thread: The Final Solution - what if the Third Reich had defeated Britain by 1944?

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    Politics.ie Member Ireniall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nebuchadnezzar View Post
    Yes Hitler was not ideological oppposed to the British however the converse was not the case. Hitler failed to focus on his primary enemy, the Anglo American partnership. The Soviet Union was a secondary threat. I know that is controversial but consider the following....the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany were capable of working in conjunction with each other, they had mutual interests that, at least on a short term basis, both were willing to cooperate over. There was never any possibility of such a partnership between Nazi Germany and any major western democracy. Further more, the economic power of the USA was far greater than any other power and its long term military potential made it a far greater threat to Germany than the Soviet Union. Great Britain (and France prior to its fall) were America’s dependable potential proxies and natural partners against Germany attempts to establish hegemony in the Western Hemisphere.

    A point, one that Parentheses touched on, is that the Soviet Union were not passive players in this situation. Germany was not irrevocably committed to launching Barbarossa until well into the early months of 41. Defeat in the Battle of Britain and the failure of Germany to bring the war to a successful conclusion emboldened the Soviets to take advantage of that situation at Germany’s expense. The German decision to abandon their partnership with the Soviets was in large part due to continued British resistance and the prospect of gradually increasing American involvement. In attacking the USSR Germany attempted to remove the lesser but more immediate threat.

    Another alternative event consideration has to be Dunkirk....if Dunkirk had resulted in disaster for the British it may have had major consequences. 200,000 less troops available for the defence of Britain in July/Aug 1940 would have improved the chances of direct attack on the UK. It would also have seriously weakened the British position in North Africa in late 1940....the reinforcements that were dispatched to Egypt in Aug 1940 onwards would probably not have been sent if those troops had not been available. Consequently a stronger Italian position and no British intervention in Greece and no diversion of German resources to the Balkans.

    In summary, British disaster at Dunkirk and German victory in the Battle of Britain(albeit as you point out that would probably only result in temporary german air superiority).....what’s the implications of that scenario? I think it would have improved Germany’s position and given it a number of strategic options and flexibility which in actuality it did not have.
    Yes. I don't think it was fully realised the level of dominance that the USA would have in the latter half of the twentieth century. With their lack of colonial ambitions and their policy of isolation perhaps they were seen as not a factor. Their military hardware and general preparedness would also seem to have been reflective of their lesser role at the time. So I'm not sure whether they were the natural enemies of the reich. In Mein Kampf Hitler is pretty specific about lebensraum in the steppes and his attacks on western Europe were in response to the Anglo-French declaration of war. I feel sure that if he could have arranged a peace he would have left western Europe intact. I think that when Hitler thought of war it was with the Soviet Union and not the others.

    However I take your point that a temporary alliance with the Soviets could not have been ruled out if the situation warranted and indeed the non-aggression pact already amounted to a co-ordinated if uneasy recognition of mutual interests. To me it is typical of Stalins stupidity that he would prefer the madman Hitler to the apparently impotent democratic leaders and sit by and watch any potential allies in Europe being wiped off the map by Germany-one defeated entirely and the other restricted to their offshore island fortress as a result. So it seems to me that while Germany could decide when the inevitable war with the Soviets would start the reverse was not true at all. The Soviets would never have initiated such a conflict so that this would have been a substantial advantage to Hitler if he needed time to deal with Britain

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    Politics.ie Member parentheses's Avatar
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    ........
    Last edited by parentheses; 12th October 2018 at 12:05 AM.
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    Politics.ie Member parentheses's Avatar
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    Professor Richard Overy claims Hitler already decided on the invasion of the USSR in July 1940. At the end of the month he called a conference where he put forward his proposal to the generals.

    So all the talk about the battle of Britain is somewhat irrelevant. Hitler had already decided on his course of action before the BoB had even reached its peak.
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    Politics.ie Member Nebuchadnezzar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm Redfellow View Post
    I'll settle for just that bit of the first paragraph — though the whole post deserves a proper Fisking. Not because it's 'wrong' so much as most points need to be expanded.

    [1] Until 1938, the Nazi position was to court UK and British opinion. I fail to see that as anything more than an opportunist 'position'. The Nazis needed to subvert the inter-War naval (and other) conventions, to counter-balance the French positions — especially in the Ruhr and Saarlands, and to negate the traditional British focus on the independence of the Low Counties (oh, and much more — not least that the UK had been first in recognising the Soviet Union). Why should we trust Hitlerite waffling about any Nazi-British coincidence of interests?

    [2] On the contrary. There is ample evidence of pro-fascist interest in the British establishment and press.

    [3] The Big Bucks of German industry and commerce came into line with the Nazis very quickly after 1932/33 (and, in many cases, well before). For them, the real enemy were the Reds. All of the top combines in Germany had close ties, especially in the US

    [4] Once Stalin and Bukharin had promulgated socialism in one country, and made it national policy, what had the capitalists of western Europe to obsess over? The co-operation between German industry and the Soviets (which can easily be pre-dated to well before the Nazi coup) came because of economic advantage between two parties excluded from the post-Versailles eco-fest. As Nebuchadnezzar says, Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia had severe diplomatic body-odour — but were good investment opportunities.

    A quick nod to another of Nebuchadnezzar's observations.

    Dunkirk was a disastrous British defeat. Let's not allow any 'swerve' or 'spin'. When Nebuchadnezzar hypothesises 200,000 less troops available for the defence of Britain (I think he means 'fewer'), I accept that as a working basis. The loss of materiél would count far more. 200,000 is — what? — one year's cohort? The troops who were despatched to North Africa were, in the main, new conscripts. The loss there wasn't the numbers, but seasoned NCOs.

    Nor do I see any immediate link from Dunkirk and the events of August-September 1940.

    The RAF had lost 177 aircraft (but not so many pilots) over Dunkirk. A comparator is that Luftflotten 5 & 6 (operating out of Denmark and Norway) lost 75 on Adlertag (12 August) alone — their first and last major intervention in the critical period. Between May and August, the Luftwaffe had focused on attacks on Channel shipping — yes, the 30,000 tons in total sunk made scary headlines, but the millions tons plus per week still got through. Meanwhile the entire RAF command-and-control operation had been sophisticated, aircraft production had been ramped up, new pilots, radar operators and intelligencers were being trained.

    Perhaps, too, Dunkirk was a Pyrrhic victory, in that it induced German High Command to assume greater, and easier success was inevitable. When Göring and his staff were assuming RAF strength was down to 300 aircraft, the RAF losses were much less with 600 front-line aircraft available to Dowding.
    In reverse order....

    Dunkirk...

    It was not a British victory but it certainly was not “a disastrous British defeat”. As an evacuation it was a successful operation. A disastrous British defeat at Dunkirk would have been 200,000 British troops killed or captured. From a german POV it was a lost opportunity to inflict yet another humiliating defeat on Britain......the BEF was defeated but it was not destroyed and in terms of manpower most of it escaped to fight again. It was well within german capability to have destroyed the bulk of the remaining BEF at Dunkirk, that they failed to do so is why Dunkirk was a British success and a german failure. Regardless of the subsequent spin put up it those are the simple facts.

    I disagree that the loss of material would count far more. The troops were reequipped and reorganised relatively quickly, newly produced weaponry is immediately ready for use when it comes out the factory.....battle experienced troops cannot be replaced so easily. 200,000 troops was a large number given that there were only 15 infantry and 3 armoured divisions available for the defence of southern England during late summer 1940....approx 10 divisions were evacuated from Dunkirk. Remove say half of that number from the defence and the sparse ground defence is looking threadbare. The context of my response to Ireniall was in a situation were BoB had resulted in a german victory and their establishment of a temporary air superiority over southern England and an unsucessful Dynamo. In such a context german invasion may have been a successful proposition. That’s all very hypothetical and rather too specific and that’s why I tried to shift away from that somewhat in saying that such alternative events, favourable to Germany, would have given Germany a wider range of strategic options from the rather narrow ones that it faced....

    Option 1....Direct assault on Britain resulting invasion. High risk but surest and quickest way to close down the war in the west and to delay confrontation with USA. German sucesss in BoB and Dunkirk would have significantly improved the chances of this option.

    Option 2....’Siege’ of Britain with concentrated air sea war around the British coast and approaches. The capture of the French Atlantic coast enhanced the potential of this option however it would be a slow process and the longer it took the greater the chances of direct American involvement. Similarly improved prospects with alt BoB Dunkirk.

    Option 3....The indirect approach.....focus on the Mediterranean and Middle East to further isolate and weaken the UK. Draw Vichy France and Turkey into the AXIS, acquire oil resources and establish a potential flank against the USSR. However, by itself this strategy would probably not be enough to defeat GB. Also improved alt with scenario.

    Option 4...Establish a Eurasian continental bloc including the USSR and Japan to confront the Anglo American bloc. This option was favoured by several senior german figures, Ribbentrop being one. The biggest problem with it being the the question mark over Russia’s intentions. With a successful BoB and Dunkirk Soviet options to take advantage of german difficulties vs Britain in would have been reduced. The USSR might have been more interested in this option, at least as a short/mid term strategy.

    I’ll come back to rest of your points later.
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    Politics.ie Member Nebuchadnezzar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by parentheses View Post
    Professor Richard Overy claims Hitler already decided on the invasion of the USSR in July 1940. At the end of the month he called a conference where he put forward his proposal to the generals.

    So all the talk about the battle of Britain is somewhat irrelevant. Hitler had already decided on his course of action before the BoB had even reached its peak.
    The final decision to attack USSR in mid 1941 was not taken until the end of 1940.
    Is not this the great Babylon that I have built.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nebuchadnezzar View Post
    The final decision to attack USSR in mid 1941 was not taken until the end of 1940.
    Note the word 'final' in Nebuchadnezzar's post.

    Mein Kampf advocates the conquest of Soviet Russia — so that's as early as 1924. That argument is a remarkable confluence of mistaken 'volkish' history, wistful empire-building, the urge to match the 'Anglo-Saxon' powers for supremacy, rid Germany of the economic ties imposed by Versailles, and virulent anti-semitism:(chapter 24):
    ... we National Socialists consciously draw a line beneath the foreign policy tendency of our pre-War period. We take up where we broke off six hundred years ago [i.e. the time of the Teutonic Knights]. We stop the endless German movement to the south and west, and turn our gaze toward the land in the east. At long last we break off the colonial and commercial policy of the pre-War period and shift to the soil policy of the future.

    If we speak of soil in Europe today, we can primarily have in mind only Russia and her vassal border states.

    ... the organization of a Russian state formation was not the result of the political abilities of the Slavs in Russia, but only a wonderful example of the state-forming efficacity of the German element in an inferior race. Numerous mighty empires on earth have been created in this way. Lower nations led by Germanic organizers and overlords have more than once grown to be mighty state formations and have endured as long as the racial nudeus of the creative state race maintained itself. For centuries Russia drew nourishment from this Germanic nucleus of its upper leading strata. Today it can be regarded as almost totally exterminated and extinguished. It has been replaced by the Jew. Impossible as it is for the Russian by himself to shake off the yoke of the Jew by his own resources, it is equally impossible for the Jew to maintain the mighty empire forever. He himself is no element of organization, but a ferment of decomposition. The Persian empire in the east is ripe for collapse. And the end of Jewish rule in Russia will also be the end of Russia as a state. We have been chosen by Fate as witnesses of a catastrophe which will be the mightiest confirmation of the soundness of the volkish theory.

    Our task, the mission of the National Socialist movement, is to bring our own people to such political insight that they will not see their goal for the future in the breath-taking sensation of a new Alexander's conquest, but in the industrious work of the German plough, to which the sword need only give soil.
    One of the earliest actions of the Nazi régime was sponsoring a compendium, Deutschland und Polen — approved by the Prussian Ministry of State (8 February 1933), under-written by the Foreign and Interior Ministries, published August 1933 at a subsidised price of RM4.80 (RM3.00 to the ministries for propaganda distribution). By chance — or not — Hitler's speeches were provoking grave suspicions in Poland, as were the activities of the SA in Silesia, Danzig and East Prussia. Piłsudski reinforced defences along the Westerplatte and around Toruń-Danzig. Hitler, not yet ready for confrontation, rowed back — 26 January 1934 Beck and Neurath signed a German-Polish non-aggression pact.

    Yet another of the volkish fronts, the Bund Deutsche Osten, ran an exhibition Der Osten- das deutschen Schickalsland (1 Dec 1933 -10 Jan 1934). This, and the other activities fostered by the BDO, was intended to promote 'the understanding ... that the Führer has inaugurated' and 'the cultural achievement that the German people performed there in the East'.

    A conference of academics, 5-10 August 1934, was summoned to Kahlberg (a Pomeranian resort, then in East Prussia, now in Poland). The message went out — all was to be sweetness-and-light:
    Polemics and revisionist demands must drop out of sight and government agencies should not be in evidence. Organisations and forms of expression are to be changed. Accounts must be objective ... Cooperation between Germany and Poland is to be stressed everywhere. The spirit of frontier work is still necessary and possible on the basis of the ten-year pact.
    Even so, Theodor Oberländer, Chair of the BDO (who, like Hitler believed treaties 'were only conditionally sacrosanct') spoke on the theme that rural Poland was over-populated: 'Poland has eight million inhabitants too many'. After which the attendees paid tribute to the death of Hindenburg, and went on a coach-trip to observe 'the impossible frontier-arrangements of 1920'.

    I could — if pushed — pursue the double-talk, all the way to the doings of 1939. There was implicit Nazi intent to expand eastwards far before the invasion of 1 September 1939.
    Last edited by Malcolm Redfellow; 12th October 2018 at 12:46 PM. Reason: Text lost in edit.

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    Politics.ie Member Nebuchadnezzar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ireniall View Post
    Yes. I don't think it was fully realised the level of dominance that the USA would have in the latter half of the twentieth century. With their lack of colonial ambitions and their policy of isolation perhaps they were seen as not a factor. Their military hardware and general preparedness would also seem to have been reflective of their lesser role at the time. So I'm not sure whether they were the natural enemies of the reich. In Mein Kampf Hitler is pretty specific about lebensraum in the steppes and his attacks on western Europe were in response to the Anglo-French declaration of war. I feel sure that if he could have arranged a peace he would have left western Europe intact. I think that when Hitler thought of war it was with the Soviet Union and not the others.

    However I take your point that a temporary alliance with the Soviets could not have been ruled out if the situation warranted and indeed the non-aggression pact already amounted to a co-ordinated if uneasy recognition of mutual interests. To me it is typical of Stalins stupidity that he would prefer the madman Hitler to the apparently impotent democratic leaders and sit by and watch any potential allies in Europe being wiped off the map by Germany-one defeated entirely and the other restricted to their offshore island fortress as a result. So it seems to me that while Germany could decide when the inevitable war with the Soviets would start the reverse was not true at all. The Soviets would never have initiated such a conflict so that this would have been a substantial advantage to Hitler if he needed time to deal with Britain
    That’s not the case. The USSR was at an advanced stage of preparation for attack against Germany when Barbarossa was launched. Soviet forces on 22nd June were deployed for aggressive action; armoured units in exposed forward positions unsuitable for defence, improved road network in the area close to the border, deliberate omission of lines of defence in depth, the creation of five airborne corps from summer 1940 onward, forward basing of fighter squadrons for offensive action, and didtribution of maps of territory far into Poland and Germany. These are clear markers that the USSR was about to strike.

    The General Staff of the Red Army began to draw up a war plan against Germany in October 1939. This plan was approved by the Soviet government on 14 October 1940. Approval for operational deployment in accordance with this plan was given on 12 Feb 1941.

    Another piece of evidence is the formation on 4th of June 1941 of the Polish Red Army of Liberation, indicative of Soviet intentions to move against Germany.

    So the matter of timing of the conflict between Hitler and Stalin.....Stalin had wider latitude than Hitler...his strategic position only got stronger over time. Hitler, with war against the Anglo American bloc still ongoing, was in a progressively deteriorating position.

    Ref...Hitler’s War, Germany’s Key Strategic Decisions 1940 -1945, Heinz Magenheimer, 1997.
    Is not this the great Babylon that I have built.....

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    Politics.ie Member parentheses's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nebuchadnezzar View Post
    The final decision to attack USSR in mid 1941 was not taken until the end of 1940.
    Reading Overy it seems clear Hitler had made his mind up by the end of July 1940.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nebuchadnezzar View Post
    The General Staff of the Red Army began to draw up a war plan against Germany in October 1939. This plan was approved by the Soviet government on 14 October 1940. Approval for operational deployment in accordance with this plan was given on 12 Feb 1941.
    That's a curious interpretation. I'd like more detail.

    For a start it elides the parlous state of Stalin's administration of the Red Army, how he 'kept his soldiers hard under the heel of NKVD repression' and his reliance on the 'incompetent and blundering advice of men like Kulik and Mekhlis' (John Erickson, page 80).

    Zhukov was told to produce a strategic plan: this—
    emanated from the General Staff at the end of April and beginning of May 1941. The plan, 'State frontier defence plan, 1941' (Plan oborony gosudarstvenennoi granitsy 1941), consisted of a general definition of assignments for the forces of the frontier areas, plus an operational deployment plan delivered as the 'Red packets' to the Military Soviets of the individual armies. As far as can be determined, there were no operational orders to accompany the plan: the Military Soviets of the frontier military districts received two instructions,
    (i) to prevent ground and aerial intrusion by hostile forces upon Soviet territory;
    (ii) to conduct a stubborn defence in the fortified districts to cover the mobilisation, concentration and deployment of Red Army troops. [op.cit.]
    All that reads as purely defensive.

    The significant event (6 May — some interpret this as prompted by military unease made evident at the May Day gatherings), finally recognising the intelligence coming to him, was when Stalin emerged from his semi-anonymity as Secretary-General of Communist Party to become Chairman of the People's Commissars (Sovnarcom), with Molotov as his Deputy and Commissar for Foreign Affairs.

    In any case, as Marshal Sergey Biryuzov would later admit, the Soviets were preparing for the wrong war — for 1914, not 1941.
    Last edited by Malcolm Redfellow; 12th October 2018 at 03:12 PM. Reason: Hot links added

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    Politics.ie Member Nebuchadnezzar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm Redfellow View Post
    Note the word 'final' in Nebuchadnezzar's post.

    Mein Kampf advocates the conquest of Soviet Russia — so that's as early as 1924. That argument is a remarkable confluence of mistaken 'volkish' history, wistful empire-building, the urge to match the 'Anglo-Saxon' powers for supremacy, rid Germany of the economic ties imposed by Versailles, and virulent anti-semitism:(chapter 24):

    One of the earliest actions of the Nazi régime was sponsoring a compendium, Deutschland und Polen — approved by the Prussian Ministry of State (8 February 1933), under-written by the Foreign and Interior Ministries, published August 1933 at a subsidised price of RM4.80 (RM3.00 to the ministries for propaganda distribution). By chance — or not — Hitler's speeches were provoking grave suspicions in Poland, as were the activities of the SA in Silesia, Danzig and East Prussia. Piłsudski reinforced defences along the Westerplatte and around Toruń-Danzig. Hitler, not yet ready for confrontation, rowed back — 26 January 1934 Beck and Neurath signed a German-Polish non-aggression pact.

    Yet another of the volkish fronts, the Bund Deutsche Osten, ran an exhibition Der Osten- das deutschen Schickalsland (1 Dec 1933 -10 Jan 1934). This, and the other activities fostered by the BDO, was intended to promote 'the understanding ... that the Führer has inaugurated' and 'the cultural achievement that the German people performed there in the East'.

    A conference of academics, 5-10 August 1934, was summoned to Kahlberg (a Pomeranian resort, then in East Prussia, now in Poland). The message went out — all was to be sweetness-and-light:

    Even so, Theodor Oberländer, Chair of the BDO (who, like Hitler believed treaties 'were only conditionally sacrosanct') spoke on the theme that rural Poland was over-populated: 'Poland has eight million inhabitants too many'. After which the attendees paid tribute to the death of Hindenburg, and went on a coach-trip to observe 'the impossible frontier-arrangements of 1920'.

    I could — if pushed — pursue the double-talk, all the way to the doings of 1939. There was implicit Nazi intent to expand eastwards far before the invasion of 1 September 1939.
    Malcolm, I never denied that Nazi germany was intent on eastwards expansion. My point is that the biggest threat to Germany being able to achieve its long term goals was conflict with the Anglo American bloc. The USA was always main long term threat to german ambitions. The question here is mainly about timing, strategic flexibility and german/USSR willingness to temporarily cooperate. German failure to close down the war versus Britain in 1940/41 reduced its ability to consolidate its position and chose a favourable timing and circumstances for that further eastwards expansion.

    My first contribution to this thread was about German defeat being inevitable in the face of American nuclear capability. However, conflict with America within the context of 1940/41 was not inevitable....indeed if Britain had been defeated or concluded a lasting peace deal with Germany in 1940/41 then perhaps war against America may have been postponed until many years later. Germany could have dealt with its enemies in detail, Britain then USSR and finally USA. Nuclear armed USA vs nuclear armed Nazi germany circa 1955? I more frightening prospect than the reality of USA vs USSR.
    Is not this the great Babylon that I have built.....

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