Author Topic: What If The Central Powers Had Won The Great War?  (Read 1083 times)

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What If The Central Powers Had Won The Great War?
« on: November 11, 2014, 06:58:03 AM »
It’s Veterans Day or Armistice Day, so it’s time to re-open an old chestnut:  What if the Germans had won?

 

World War I was a damned close-run thing.   Which heavyweight would be so exhausted as to collapse in the fifteenth round?   In real history, it was the Central Powers, but the Entente was nearly as exhausted.   Russia had been punched out.   Italy (after Caporetto) was virtually punched out and required British and French troops to keep the Central Powers out of Venice.   After the Craone Mutiny of 1917 the French Army was simply unwilling to go on the offensive and the Germans occupied their best industrial areas.   The British were definitely winning at sea and gobbling up colonies of dubious value, but the 1918 offensive exposed huge weakness in the BEF.

 

Both sides were hungry and worn out to varying extents.   Their high-maintenance and labor-intensive (by 21st century standards) economies were falling apart because of so many men at the front.   Unlike 1939-1945, women had not been massively recruited into “men’s jobs.”    In 1918 the Spanish flu was killing millions on both sides.

 

I’ll stick with my assertion that if US intervention had just been delayed by six months, the British/French would have sought peace rather than the Germans.

 

So what would happen if the Germans had gotten peace on at least equitable terms?

 

This guy discusses it at length.

 

http://www.firstworldwar.com/features/ifgermany.htm

 

Much of it I agree with.

 

The Russian, Austro-Hungarian, and Turkish empires would fragment.   The AEF would have been sent home without having done much.   Germany picks up territory in eastern Europe for sure.   Almost all of Russian Poland and parts of Galicia.   Maybe the Sudetenland is annexed in 1919.   I doubt Britain would stand for German annexation of Belgium, but it may have been demilitarized.

 

With the establishment not so discredited in Germany there would be less scope for radical change in Germany although I do agree with the author that constitutional change in Germany had to happen.   Surely the Communists would have gotten a lot more traction (even if ephemeral) in France and Britain.

 

I agree with the author that the cultural and economic tumult would have happened anyway.

 

Certainly, Germany would be much stronger and less run by idiots than in OTL 1939.   France would be weaker and less organized.   Britain slightly less dominant.   The USA would be a wash, and isolationism may have been even deeper than in actual 1939.   The USSR is probably a wash.   An exhausted Germany (hampered by Russian railway collapse) really couldn’t much affect the outcome of the Russian civil war.

 

What casus belli would exist in 1939?   Poland would be annexed into Germany a generation earlier.   Some damned fool thing in the Balkans is always a possibility, but such conflicts might very well be much more localized.   The losses of the Great War would have taken a lot of the enthusiasm for war out of nearly everyone (except Serbs, Croats, and Bosnians.)


Maybe no World War II at all.

 

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