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A question for the History Geeks

What would have happened if the Germans had won WWI? Would there have been a WWII?



( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 18th, 2005 04:57 am (UTC)
Yes, but it would have been a totally different kind of war than 'our' WWII.

A Kaiser victory in the Great War would have enforced an aristrocratic German Empire, a complete 180 from post WWI Germany where most of the upper crust had been killed or scattered.

Since it was the virtual elimination of the upper classes in Europe that left the door open for the rise of the middle managers (like Hitler and the Brownshirts) the seeds that lead to our version of WWII would not have been sown.

I suspect what would have happened would have been a revolt simular to the Russian Revolution, a "People's Uprising" which would have over thrown the Empire. Quite possibly this would have led to a very communistic Europe, allowing a greater communist state from Atlantic to Pacific... a VERY different world for the mid century.
Dec. 18th, 2005 05:11 am (UTC)
I'm not so sure. I was thinking that Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire would end up grabbing off bits of Russia (near Prussia, Belarus, and the Crimea respectively). Austria-Hungary might also get a bit of northeastern Italy, while Germany would probably get a small slice of France. The big change would be in the disposition of the African colonies, where Germany would retain its possessions and might pick up Kenya and some of French West Africa.

The most interesting speculation from dinner centered on the Germans sending Lenin to a defeated England instead of to Russia. Anyone for a Communist England?
Dec. 18th, 2005 06:29 am (UTC)
Interesting.. but I don't think England of the time would have had much of what Lenin had to say. The Brits have never felt that "Weight" of the aristocracy on its neck like the Russians did.

And just for fun, a German victory of the Great War would not have necessarily meant a defeated England. I would assume the only real way Germany could have won would not by total victory but by politics.

Assume the US never enters the War. England is a VERY hard country to conquer. I could see both sides getting to the point where it wasn't worth the cost of fighting a stalemate war, so I'm thinking a backroom deal would eventually be struck, the British pulling back and recognizing the Empire.
Dec. 18th, 2005 08:20 am (UTC)
A win would have been most likely very early on in 1914, and would have ended up with a flattened France after a collapse on the Marne, Britain figuring a way out of the bag as quickly as possible, and Russia ending up with all of Germany's forces up against them by 1915. A sensible Russian government would have cut their losses and sued for peace at that point. Whethere such a thing was possible is a good question.

France would have ended up with terms not unlike Versailles and would have gone off in some more radical direction - right or left, hard to say. Russia would have ended up reducing the Czar to insignificance - either as a fascist state or a Bolshevik one. More likely the former.

Europe would not have been a fun place to hang around in.
Dec. 18th, 2005 10:50 am (UTC)
You might have a British-French combined Resitance, with all the Baltic nations helping against a prussian predominance of the Baltic Sea. That should be interesting. And probably very effective.
Of course, the Russian revolution might not have taken place at all. Prussia as the leading kingdom within the German Reich was - for its time - reasonably modern. It had no soccage or compulsory work for peasants, Bismarck had introduced some first measures of social safety - not out of the goodness of his heart but to ward off poverty riots. There were constitutional rights and a reliable law that - although it still probably left you in the lurch when you were destitute - it was binding and not totally arbitrary and depending on the mood of the local nobility as in Russia.
Poland would probably have been shifted further East or been integrated into the Reich, after all, during its history as a nation it has not always been an independent state and today's geographical position of the country is a result of WWII.
One country that might have developed completely differently might have been Turkey who fought on the German side. With a still functioning Austria-Hungary as its neighbour, it might be considerably more European. Its integration into Europe (very much discussed at the moment) would have been a matter of course.
So what then?
Since the Kaiser was not a very clever man who laboured under the misapprehension that he was bound to win any fracas because Germans were more diligent and effective than any other nation he would probably underestimate the resistance.
And let us not forget that he would have had to share the "spoils" with Austria-Hungary did NOT belong to the GErman Reich, having been kicked out after the German-German War in 1866, something the Austrians might not have forgotten. Austria-Hungary was bigger and had its own aims, particularly in Eastern Europe. History repeats itself, so these two superpowers would soon be at loggerheads about bits of Poland and Russia - just as in the 18th century. One might assume that a new war between The Reich and Austria would soon have started which would be an ideal ground for the Resistance to liberate the anexed countries while the big bullies were busy.
Sothe outcome in the end might still be: end of monarchy, power loss of gentry, rise of the mob, new Reich, WWII.

Basically, I find another interesting point in asking: What would have happened if in 1866 Prussia would have lost the German-German war, the single kingdoms would have retained their individual status, the Reich would not have been founded under Prussian leadership in 1871. And Germany would still be only a loose federation of single states that all followed their own aims regarding foreign policy and that - singly - were rather too small to attack countries like France or England.

Dec. 18th, 2005 11:12 am (UTC)
Alternatively, What if WWI never happened?

If The assassination in Sarajevo dodn't happen or if a peace treaty was cobbled together afterwards where Serbia got punished but not enough for it's allies to intervene to protect it.

* Continued polital uncertainty in France.
* Continued economic growth in Germany and Russia.
* Continued Japanese hegemony in China
* Continued US isolationism?
* Survival of the German, Russian, Japanese, English and Austro-Hungarian empires till now.
* Eugenics and social-darwinism never get discreditted by association with gas chambers and become widely accepted by the economic liberal-progressives (as opposed to the religious-traditionalist-agriculturalist conservatives)

Not the question you asked but still..
Dec. 18th, 2005 12:00 pm (UTC)
The question which I've thought about more is: What if the United States hadn't entered World War I, and the two sides were left to beat each other up? The war might have lasted longer, but probably would have ended up stalemated, with a nominal victory for one side or the other and some territory changing hands. Without the Versailles treaty, the Nazi movement probably wouldn't have caught on, so there wouldn't have been a World War II, or at least not one as nasty. Russia might still have gone roughly the same way, but without a "fascist menace" to point to and to distract world attention from Russia, Stalin might not have been able to consolidate as much power. All in all, I think it would have been a better world.
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