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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > History Library > Alternate Timelines

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Alternate Timelines The plausible "what if's" of military history.

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  #1  
Old 28 Jul 10, 17:29
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What if Hitler had waited until 1942 to invade Poland?

And Japan had waited until 1944 to attack the U.S. fleet?

To put it another way: What if the development of weapons technology in what would become the Axis and Allied powers had continued for another 3 years? Better and more V2s, faster, longer range and more U-boats, jet fighters, etc. etc.. Other advanced secret weaponary, such as chemical/biological weapons, the Nazis and Japanese were working on (better leave the A-bomb out of it, since that just blows the whole thing up!).

What about radar on the Allies side? Anti-submarine defenses? Code-breaking technology? Jet-propelled, longer range fighters and bombers, etc. etc.?

It is my subjective, anecdotal recollection that much of the advanced weaponary the Axis powers were developing only became usable in the final days of the war when it was too late, and that other systems (such as the Japanese biological weapons delivery systems targetting the U.S.mainland) were only months away from fruition and deployment.

The assumption here is that development on both sides would have continued on the trajectory established in the 1930s, and that Germany and Japan would have used those additional 3 years to develop more advanced weaponary and systems at a much faster rate than Britain or the U.S. which would have given them the technolgical edge to overpower the Allies.

But maybe not!


Philip

Last edited by PhilipLaos; 28 Jul 10 at 18:42..
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  #2  
Old 28 Jul 10, 17:44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philiplaos View Post
And Japan had waited until 1944 to attack the U.S. fleet?

To put it another way: What if the development of weapons technology in what would become the Axis and Allied powers had continued for another 3 years? Better and more V2s, faster, longer range and more U-boats, etc. etc.. Other advanced secret weaponary the Nazis and Japanese were working on (better leave the A-bomb out of it, since that just blows the whole thing up!).

What about radar on the Allies side? Anti-submarine defenses? Code-breaking technology? Longer range fighters and bombers, etc. etc.?

The assumption here is that Germany and Japan would have used those additional 3 years to develop more advanced weaponary at a much faster rate than Britain or the U.S. which would have given them the technolgical edge to overpower the Allies.

But maybe not!


Philip
Certain and much quicker Allied victory.

In 1939 the British and French rearmanent program had yet to reach its peak. By 1942 they would have overhauled Germany. Germany would have been outnumbered and out gunned on the Western front. Both Britain and France's GDP per capita was significantly higher than Germany's and combined, given time, the Allies could deploy greater numbers with better equipment.

Read Tooze, 'the wages of destruction'. Hitler had only one chance - 1939.
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  #3  
Old 28 Jul 10, 20:54
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Originally Posted by Surrey View Post
Certain and much quicker Allied victory.

In 1939 the British and French rearmanent program had yet to reach its peak. By 1942 they would have overhauled Germany. Germany would have been outnumbered and out gunned on the Western front. Both Britain and France's GDP per capita was significantly higher than Germany's and combined, given time, the Allies could deploy greater numbers with better equipment.

Read Tooze, 'the wages of destruction'. Hitler had only one chance - 1939.
Absent any aggression by Germany until 1942, with Chamberlain still Prime Minister and Churchill still totally sidelined as a failed, paranoid warmonger, Britain would have had little incentive to massively and rapidly upgrade its military technology in the brilliant way they did following the invasion of Poland. "Germany has 'no further territorial ambitions' so let's get on with civilised civilian life."

Then the question is: 'Given the continuation of the established trajectories of miltary development of both sides during the 1930s, what would be the technological comparison between the opposing military forces by the time war is declared in 1942'?

Philip

Last edited by PhilipLaos; 28 Jul 10 at 21:17..
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Old 28 Jul 10, 21:36
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The problem for the Germans is they were going broke. IIRC, they couldn't continue to fund expansion. Thus, they would have stagnated and been forced to begin demobilizing, rather than continue apace. The more time the British and French have, the less advantage Germany could have, especially given the fact the German military might well be contracting during the interim.

Then there are the other two 800 lbs. gorillas. The Soviets would have time to recover even more from the purges and continue their own rearmament. Atop of that is the US rearmament. Even if the Americans aren't directly drawn in 1942, there will be much more available for the Americans to sell to the Allies.

The chapter in Tooze was thus aptly titled. There was nothing for the Germans to gain by waiting.
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Old 28 Jul 10, 22:14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philiplaos View Post
Absent any aggression by Germany until 1942, with Chamberlain still Prime Minister and Churchill still totally sidelined as a failed, paranoid warmonger, Britain would have had little incentive to massively and rapidly upgrade its military technology in the brilliant way they did following the invasion of Poland.
British 'rearmament' started circa 1936, while Churchill was still a sidelined failed paranoid warmonger. Development programs were winding up and the initial production efforts started 1937-38.

The French who had plenty of guns were winding up a earlier modest upgrade program and into the development phase for the next round which got underway circa 1938
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Old 28 Jul 10, 22:38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philiplaos View Post
And Japan had waited until 1944 to attack the U.S. fleet?

To put it another way: What if the development of weapons technology in what would become the Axis and Allied powers had continued for another 3 years? Better and more V2s, faster, longer range and more U-boats, jet fighters, etc. etc.. Other advanced secret weaponary, such as chemical/biological weapons, the Nazis and Japanese were working on (better leave the A-bomb out of it, since that just blows the whole thing up!).
Well, the US would have had by that point 10 additional new battleships with half a dozen more building, somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 or so carriers and, of course, a multitude of smaller vessels afloat. This was part of the "Two Ocean Navy act" which would still get built. Japan would be up to what? Like 13 or maybe 14 battleships. They would have maybe 8 or 10 larger carriers.

The V-1 and 2 wouldn't have gotten built. Hitler and his minions would not have footed the bill without being desperate. Jets would have been in development in Germany, Britain and the US at least but not in production in any of those countries.
The Poles would have abandoned their cavalry and fully mechanized having a dozen plus mechanized brigades in existance. Along with a much more modern air force.

Quote:
What about radar on the Allies side? Anti-submarine defenses? Code-breaking technology? Jet-propelled, longer range fighters and bombers, etc. etc.?
The Allies would be on par or ahead in radar, ahead in sonar. In aircraft parity or slightly in favor of the Allies would be the case. The French would also be developing jets from British technology like the US.

The longer Hitler waits once he starts preparing for war the worse off he is. He could have made different production choices up to 1939 that might make some difference but by 1942 the Allies will have caught and or surpassed every German development and their rearmament for war would be largely complete too.
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Old 29 Jul 10, 06:59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philiplaos View Post
Absent any aggression by Germany until 1942, with Chamberlain still Prime Minister and Churchill still totally sidelined as a failed, paranoid warmonger, Britain would have had little incentive to massively and rapidly upgrade its military technology in the brilliant way they did following the invasion of Poland. "Germany has 'no further territorial ambitions' so let's get on with civilised civilian life."

Then the question is: 'Given the continuation of the established trajectories of miltary development of both sides during the 1930s, what would be the technological comparison between the opposing military forces by the time war is declared in 1942'?

Philip
The British and French were already rearming in 1939 before the invasion of Poland in response to the German rearmament and the conquest of Czechoslovakia. That was under Chamberlain.
The Germans had a head start having started earlier, but the German economy was much weaker than the British and French thus Britain and French rearmament would have surpassed German by 1942. Given the weakness of the German economy it is unlikely that the Germans could have sustained a major rearmanent for much longer under opeactime conditions after autumn 1939. They would have to have slowed their rearmenant program before 1942. Think the arms race that ended the Cold War.
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Old 29 Jul 10, 08:49
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Quote:
What if Hitler had waited until 1942 to invade Poland?
Remember,Before the invasion of Poland,there was no war in Europe...
Nothing would have happen until Hitler invaded Poland in 1942.
Also Remember:
The other invasions which Germany created (before Poland) was legal by the allies.
Quote:
And Japan had waited until 1944 to attack the U.S. fleet?
The wehrmacht forces would have been lot stronger than ever before against the US forces.

The Russians! How do they fit into this sereno?
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Old 29 Jul 10, 09:25
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Hitler may not have been in power by 1942 with the way his economy was going, they were running out of money fast and printing it too pay for public works and of course re-armement was pretty much running out of time.(current governments take note) 1939 he had to do it or lose his power base. Plus of course Stalin would've been in a better position against him. Also British and French re-armament (Maginot completed)would have been much more underway.

I wrote that having only just read your post. I've kinda re-itterated the other guys point really.

Last edited by copenhagen; 29 Jul 10 at 09:30..
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Old 29 Jul 10, 09:32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heidi View Post
Remember,Before the invasion of Poland,there was no war in Europe...
Nothing would have happen until Hitler invaded Poland in 1942.
Also Remember:
The other invasions which Germany created (before Poland) was legal by the allies.

The wehrmacht forces would have been lot stronger than ever before against the US forces.

The Russians! How do they fit into this sereno?
Just to say Heidi the word your looking for there mate is scenario. Your English is of course better than my German will ever be.
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Old 29 Jul 10, 13:41
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I've learned several things so far from this thread, such as 'Britain started rearmament in 1936', and 'Germany was nearly broke in 1939'. Also, possible comparative levels of some weapons technology leading up to 1942. Thanks!

The first two posters mentioned the book 'Wages of Destruction' which supported, apparently,their points. Unfortunately, I'm not in a position to get hold of a copy. Perhaps you could summarise the book's main thesis in a couple of paragraphs? If not, I won't hold it against you.

My take on the Allies' victory in 1945 was that it was due to sustained, massive and courageous use of manpower and machinery (made possible by powerful economies) together with brilliant (for the most part) strategy and the deployment of advanced, innovative and often devastating technological and tactical developments.

It is the last point that has always fascinated me, i.e. the secret and 'out of the box' thinking and development of war planners, scientists and engineers. There are, of course, hundreds of examples of these unique and, I would say critical, developments (particularly on the part of the British).

The two that spring to mind most immediately are the secret Mulberry Harbour and associated efforts which made it possible to gain a sustainable position in northern France, and the secret Manhattan Project leading to the dropping of two atomic bombs, without which it is hard to believe the Japanese would ever have agreed to unconditional surrender. There are, of course, hundeds of other critical developments without which, in my opinion, eventual success may not have been possible.

The reason for my starting this 'What if...' thread was my understanding (at that point) that Germany and Japan were racing ahead with developing new weapons systems while Britain and the U.S. didn't get any substantial development going until war was declared in Europe, leading me to postulate that by 1942, Germany and Japan (in 1944) might have had an unassailable advantage.

Would the Mahattan Project (which only began in 1939), the 'Ultra' British code-breaking unit at Bletchley Park (which only began full operations 5 weeks prior to the invasion of Poland) or the many technologies that made Operation Overlord possible have happened on any scale absent any German agression in 1939? On the Axis side, I'm talking about technologies that could have been 'gamechangers', even given economic constraints. Examples of which would include the advanced German U-boat designs and Japanese program to build and deploy aircraft-carrying submarines and delivery systems for biological and chemical weapons.

Philip

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Old 29 Jul 10, 13:49
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The British were working on weapons systems before the war and featured the new Spitfire fighter and radar, among other things.

Given time, the French may have completed the Maginot Line to the channel, making any German invasion extremely complicated.
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Old 29 Jul 10, 16:03
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Four amroured brigades which Poland planed to raise acording to Arm plan 1942 was still not enough to stop either Wermaht or RKKA; But if Churchill was PM since 1940 there was chance of some real help coming from west; problem is he got this job only becouse war have started in 1939 not 1942;
and only becouse Chambarlain lost in Norway.
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Old 29 Jul 10, 16:28
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Two most important factors have hardly been mentioned.

Russia's military would have been much stronger by 42. Many more T 34's etc.

And in the PTO, if Japan had waited until 42 they wouldn't have had enough oil to launch any attacks any were.

Seems to me that both Germany and Japan were in a now or never time.
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Old 30 Jul 10, 05:19
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I've learned several things so far from this thread, such as 'Britain started rearmament in 1936', and 'Germany was nearly broke in 1939'
This is the exact reason why Hitler started the war sooner than later!
Hitler knew a war later would significantly give German forces helping hand,th fact id he could not wait for another 3 years.
Germany was not broke by starting ww1,Hitler would have waited till 1942,Imho,this may have been bad for the allies.
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