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Old 01-01-2009, 02:52 PM
 
Location: BOY-see
4,355 posts, read 6,987,158 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishtom29 View Post
JKK's excellent post has me thinking this----was it a mistake to let Germany reunify? Is the world a better place with a weak and divided Germany rather than a strong and united one?
Thanks. That question can be posed at many points in time, with different logical answers.

Take the post-WWII concept. It's worth bearing in mind that German unification didn't come about until the rise of Brandenburg Prussia in the late 1800s, and even under Kaiser Wilhelm and the Weimar Republic there remained a certain amount of regional autonomy. It might be fair to describe the primary German sub-ethnicities as Prussian, Saxon and Bavarian (considering Austrian separately). More than once since reunification, Western statesmen had mused that perhaps Germany was more manageable in its component parts than in union.

It would not have been at all unreasonable at the time, in light of the ugliness of WWII and the way a very dangerous dictator was able to enspell and unify Germans in a cause that was showing its colors well before war broke out, for the Allies to say: "You guys don't get to be together. Britain will occupy the Republic of Saxony. The US and France will occupy the Republic of Bavaria. The USSR will occupy what will probably be the People's Republic of Prussia. Your military forces will be heavily restricted, and you may not get back together. If you try, we will make you very sorry." In fact, what happened was moderately close to that stance, but with important latitude that enabled Germans to at least rebuild their shattered country without feeling like every move was at the point of an Allied bayonet.

In hindsight, of course, the full, harsh version of that would have been a really lousy idea. It would probably not have satisfied Germans--could even have led to significant guerrilla warfare beyond the Werewolf movement, and more latent Nazi sympathies--and the world had far more to gain from a strong and non-militaristic Germany than from chopping it into its former component principalities and suzerainties. It would have weakened NATO, assuming that the NATO/WP divide took shape on schedule, and a weaker NATO could only mean a more unstable central Europe. Postwar Germany is a triumphant economic and political success story that had the strength to assimilate (albeit not without great cost and difficulty) an East Germany that had been alienated for some forty-odd years.

That's why I'm careful about hypotheticals about what should have been done at the time. What seemed reasonable and in fact relatively humane at the time might have turned out very poorly. It is very hard to say, but it is very interesting to speculate and consider. I think the watchword here is that we have to strain our utmost to see the world not as we see it today, but in light of the pressures, constraints and above all knowledge of the times. It is very hard to soft-delete knowledge from one's mind, but in doing so, one may gain a better idea of the perspective of a given time. To me, that's one of the core reasons to love and study history.
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Old 01-01-2009, 03:51 PM
 
Location: Tropical Florida
13,024 posts, read 24,442,181 times
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Lots of great postings by everyone . One reason i started this thread is because after watching the german wehrmacht military victory parade in Berlin on july 21,1940 after the defeat of france they looked so powerful in battle and in the berlin parade it had me pondering that this powerful army in a year would launch an all out attack the soviet union and in 6 months kill, wound or capture approximately 4 million plus soviet soildiers and yet in 1945 the soviets would come back and annihilate the german military machine only to have they're own military victory parade in moscow and to be so powerful as i wondered if Patton with his british allies could've stopped them.

Anyway it's interesting to ponder about.

I love watching the wehrmacht victory parade over the French in 1940 with all the thousands upon thousands of germans cheering on as they must of thought they were invincible during the parade session in 1940 (starts about the 2 min mark).

YouTube - German Army Might Parade 1940

The Soviet Union 1945 victory over germany military parade in moscow. Hard to believe this army marching was almost annihilated in 1941.

YouTube - Soviet Victory Parade of 1945 [Part II] - Final
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Old 01-01-2009, 04:42 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
38,755 posts, read 39,181,351 times
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As a default position, it is my view that wars do not really contribute that much to how history plays out. They affect things in the short term, but in the long run, organized states rise or fall on their own internal merits. For example, if the US had not gone into WWII, and Hitler succeeded in occupying a few more countries before he collapsed under his own weight, it would not have had very much effect on the configuration of the world in 2000. The fall of Britain would have had no more lasting effect than the fall of France.

So to say that a war should or shouldn't have happened, or might have turned out differently, would have had a minor effect, but not a major one, on the world a half century later. America wouild still have economically dominated the latter half of the century, even if we had wasted years in a stalemated hot war against the USSR, or dropped an atomic bomb on Novosibirsk, or resigned from such a war and withdrew, or won such a war and influenced eastern politics in an absence of a socialist bloc. Similarly, Russia would have proven to be pretty much the same kind of country it turned out to be even after the Soviets collapsed. And our diplomatic relationship with Russia today would be quite similar to what it is. A few places like Estonia or Afghanistan would have evolved differently, but would still be, in the 21st century, a lot like they are.
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Old 01-01-2009, 06:55 PM
 
43,195 posts, read 47,082,143 times
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I think that if that would have been a consideration then the allies would never have landed in France but actually near the eastern side of Italy. Churchill actually wanted to do just that to cutoff the Russians.Sounds good but no one in the west wanted the casualties increases that likely would have brought.Saying what would have happened is like saying ;what if the British had never had their empire;no one really knows.Conjecture on that like most things is useless and only a wild guess at best.
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Old 01-01-2009, 07:42 PM
 
Location: Brooklyn
40,059 posts, read 20,026,481 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by texdav View Post
Conjecture on that like most things is useless and only a wild guess at best.
Well, "useless" is one word to use. "Fascinating" might be another. Along those lines, I would like to mention a line of books published by Greenhill. They refer to the books as "alternative history," being speculation on what might have happened if one or two key events had been different.

As regards alternative histories involving the Second World War, there's Disaster at D-Day (obviously, a speculation on a failed Allied landing in Normandy); Invasion (Germany actually does invade England); and The Hitler Options (like maybe he listened to some of his top generals!)

The alternative history published by Greenhill that I myself like best is For Want of a Nail, speculating on what might have resulted from an American loss at Saratoga during the Revolution.
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Old 01-02-2009, 01:13 PM
 
7,041 posts, read 9,739,995 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishtom29 View Post
Not yet at the time of Germany's fall, presumably the time a confrontation between The United States and the Soviets would have taken place under this scenario. Remember too that we still had the Japanese to whip and our army was seriously undersized because of decisions made earlier in the war.

I doubt that either The United States or the Soviets would've had the political will for such a war, oh, wait a minute, they obviously didn't have the will, it didn't happen.
Good point about the atom bomb.
For political will, yes an immediate war against the Soviets would be infeasable for the allies politically. For the Soviets of course, political will comes at the point of a rifle, they didn't have those constraints.

But anyways, to picture a scenario with this war against the Soviets, you would have to envision a period of tension back to the first meetings with the Allies - back to the Casablanca conference in 1943 up to the Yalta conference in 1945. To envision this you would also have to picture a different president than Roosevelt, who was arguably duped by the Russians. Churchill didn't trust the Russians, Roosevelt had too much trust. Anyways the scenario is that the Western Allies would not agree to the division of Europe decided at the Yalta conference, gave Russia an ultimatim in 1944 or early 1945 not to cross a certain line or the withdraw at a certain point, Russia ignored the warnings, Patton was given the orders to race to Berlin instead of Southwestern Germany, and a shooting war began.

So you have several scenario's - More than likely, when tensions with the Soviets would have increased in 1943 or 1944 and war seemed likely with Russia as well, an invasion would have been planned from Italy or N. Africa into the Nazi held Baltic area to claim this land, and moved up from there into Germany.

Under any scenario the Soviets would have to fight not only the U.S., but all Allied forces, maybe even some surviving Wermarcht elements who would gladly surrendor to the west and work in cooperation with the Allies. So I still say the Soviets would have been crushed at least if the goal was to drive them back to the Russian border and have a peace settlement. If needed the U.S. would postpone an invasion of the Japanese homeland, keeping the Pacific theather in check, and shifted forces to the European theather. And also - I have no doubt that the focus of the atom bomb would have changed from using it on the Japanese to using it tactically on concentrated Russian forces once developed. No doubt at all. The European theater would be the priority.

I was playing a PC war game called "Strategic Command" with a "Patton drives East" scenario add-on to it. I haven't tried it yet but now perhaps I have to get into it. Several other PC war games very accurately portray the forces on the ground at that time (The classic "Operation Art of War" series for instance). So if you are really interested you can simulate this war.
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Old 01-02-2009, 01:23 PM
 
7,041 posts, read 9,739,995 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6 FOOT 3 View Post
Dd714.......about the ''Atomic Bomb''......even if we had it by may 1945 where do you think we would have dropped it?? Surely not anywhere in east germany or eastern europe? Did the soviets have the capability to shoot down one of our long range bomber's over Moscow etc.

Thoughts?
See post above - I do believe the priority would have been Europe and it would have been used against the Nazi's, or Soviet's under the OPs scenario.
I think they would have used it tactically, against front line Russian troops in this case. Yes it would have been difficult and risky to reach Moscow with a long range bomber even with fighter support.
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Old 01-02-2009, 02:27 PM
 
Location: Peoples Republic of Cali
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One thing you must remember is that we (The United States) were tired of war by 1945, There were several calls for accepting a conditional surrender ( rather than Unconditional) in the Pacific theatre.. Our troops were along way from home and just wanted it to be over....
By the time of D-Day the German's were allready losing on the Eastern Front,
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Old 01-02-2009, 02:58 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
38,755 posts, read 39,181,351 times
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DD714, keeping the Japanese in check while diverting force to the European theatre for a new front might have been dodgy. I presume you meant Balkans, not Baltic, in your North Africa approach.
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Old 01-02-2009, 06:14 PM
 
Location: Tropical Florida
13,024 posts, read 24,442,181 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dd714 View Post
So if you are really interested you can simulate this war.
Let us know what happens .

Anyway great postings as yourself and Tony T are tops on the history forums when it comes to WWII history. Here's 4 rep points for you man .

6/3
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