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Old 02-21-2010, 09:00 AM
 
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Originally Posted by dazzleman View Post
I think that the British guaranty for Poland was against German aggression. At the time the guarantee was given, the Soviet Union was a nominal ally with Britain and France against Germany. Part of the reason the alliance fell apart and the Russians signed a pact with the Germans was that the Poles refused to allow the Russians access to their country to push back the Germans if they invaded. While the British gave the guaranty, only the Russians were in a position geographically to directly help the Poles. The British and the French could only have attacked Germany from the west, and they declined to do even that.

The answer is pretty simple, actually. They barely had the will to fight Germany, and were surely in no position to take on another major power. The French folded in a few weeks once their actual fighting with Germany started, and the British were forced to quickly retreat beyond the protection of the English Channel. To think they could have taken on Russia too is too much to contemplate. We were lucky that Hitler attacked Russia because we barely beat him even with the Russians on our side.

Don't forget that Russia also attacked Finland in 1939 and absorbed the Baltic States in 1940. The US in particular was outraged by Finland attack, but characteristically provided little effective help. The Finnish foreign minister commented at the time that "the sympathy of the United States was so great that it nearly suffocated us."

But the thinking was the Germany was the greater threat and I think that was correct.
Right, the OVERWHELMING emotions from the British and French was to avoid war at all costs. Even after the Germans finally started the Western attack, Churchill had to fight tooth and nail to convince the British that they had a huge interest in stopping this before it was too late.


The British had a common defense of Poland, and the French had a pact with the British.

Even after Germany attacked Poland and the British declared war because of their pact - the last thing they wanted to do was get in a physical fight. Hence why everyone declared war, and then went and sat back down as Germany did what they wanted. It was only when Germany was ready for another fight in May 1940 and attacked the low countries and straight on into France that everyone got involved. By that point it was brought to them, and there was nothing they could really do to avoid it anymore.
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Old 02-21-2010, 09:38 AM
 
Location: Fairfield, CT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicago60614 View Post
Right, the OVERWHELMING emotions from the British and French was to avoid war at all costs. Even after the Germans finally started the Western attack, Churchill had to fight tooth and nail to convince the British that they had a huge interest in stopping this before it was too late.


The British had a common defense of Poland, and the French had a pact with the British.

Even after Germany attacked Poland and the British declared war because of their pact - the last thing they wanted to do was get in a physical fight. Hence why everyone declared war, and then went and sat back down as Germany did what they wanted. It was only when Germany was ready for another fight in May 1940 and attacked the low countries and straight on into France that everyone got involved. By that point it was brought to them, and there was nothing they could really do to avoid it anymore.
The maddening thing was that if the British and French had moved in September 1939 while Germany was bogged down in Poland, they could have gone right to Berlin and taken Germany from behind. Then the war would have been confined to Eastern Europe and would perhaps have ended a lot sooner. Instead, they stood aside while the Huns snuffed out Poland, whom they had guaranteed to defend, and tamely waited until the Germans moved their armies into position to attack the west with overwhelming force. It's hard to imagine a bigger idiocy.

The Russians were also stupid. They had to know that Hitler would eventually attack them. It seems they miscalculated, hoping that the allies would put up a major fight in the west and at least weaken Germany, even if they lost. Instead, France collapsed like a house of cards and the war in the west was over quickly. That was the worst possible outcome for the Russians, who then had to confront Germany at the peak of its strength.

Hitler manipulated his enemies quite well, getting them to stand aside while he brought them down one by one, rather than fighting them all at once, which would have been impossible. If he had finished England off before attacking Russia, he probably would have won the war, because it would have been nearly impossible to aid Russia effectively in that situation, and there would have been no British base from which to re-invade Europe from the west. The US was very late to the game, and would have suffered grievously if the British had gone down. We'd have been left alone and without allies, with the Germans possibly coming up through the countries in South America that were friendly to them.

Of course, over the longer run, the Huns would have been unable to hold these gains, but there would have been more death and suffering created with every German success. Threats like the Nazis are best strangled in their crib. The allies let so many opportunities to do it at lower cost slip by, and we ended up with a conflagration that we barely won.
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Old 02-21-2010, 04:02 PM
 
Location: Peterborough, England
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Originally Posted by dazzleman View Post
Threats like the Nazis are best strangled in their crib. The allies let so many opportunities to do it at lower cost slip by, and we ended up with a conflagration that we barely won.

Trouble is, doing that would have served no purpose if it just resulted in Russia taking Germany's place. With no A-bomb in sight, and no likelihood of US participation in the short run, this probably leads to a WW2 just as bloody as the actual one (maybe worse) the only difference being that it's against Stalin instead of Hitler.

The trick was to juggle things so that Hitler lost without Stalin winning too big. In the event, this was achieved, but more by luck than judgement.
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Old 02-21-2010, 04:19 PM
 
Location: Fairfield, CT
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Originally Posted by Mikestone8 View Post
Trouble is, doing that would have served no purpose if it just resulted in Russia taking Germany's place. With no A-bomb in sight, and no likelihood of US participation in the short run, this probably leads to a WW2 just as bloody as the actual one (maybe worse) the only difference being that it's against Stalin instead of Hitler.

The trick was to juggle things so that Hitler lost without Stalin winning too big. In the event, this was achieved, but more by luck than judgement.
Russia gained a lot of their power as a result of the mobilization caused by World War II. Before the war, they were not considered a major military power. A de-Nazified Germany, not destroyed by war, could possibly have held the Russians back.
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Old 02-21-2010, 08:33 PM
 
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Actaully what germany feared more than anyhting was russian and its revolutionary communist polices. They wanted a quickly war and negoaited peace wit england and land from france much has had occured in the armistice of WWI. Which they always viwed they had accept sureender on Wilsn fouteen points and then the allies cahnge those trems.In that they were right IMO but WWI was really more like a contiuation of a europaan civil war as was the contuation in WWII.It only became a world war because of the colonial holdings of the european coutries really.one of teh probelms for england was the washington naval pact that while limiting other did not give them the navy to protect their interest that were so wide spread.
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Old 02-21-2010, 09:09 PM
 
Location: NC
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The British and French were loathed to go to war with Germany even after that. On top of that by the 1939 it was fairly clear that the Japanese were probably going to make a move against Hong Kong and the British in Asia sooner or later. I think they would have been insane to pick a fight with Japan, Germany, and the Soviet Union all at the same time.
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Old 02-22-2010, 02:23 AM
 
Location: Peterborough, England
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Originally Posted by dazzleman View Post
Russia gained a lot of their power as a result of the mobilization caused by World War II. Before the war, they were not considered a major military power. A de-Nazified Germany, not destroyed by war, could possibly have held the Russians back.

Trouble is, it can't do that unless it's allowed to rearm - whereupon (absent the A-bomb or any US presence in Europe) it once again becomes a danger to Britain and France.

And once rearmed, what stops it reverting to Nazism, or pre-1914 sttyle militarism, under another name?
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Old 02-22-2010, 06:27 AM
 
Location: Fairfield, CT
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Originally Posted by Mikestone8 View Post
Trouble is, it can't do that unless it's allowed to rearm - whereupon (absent the A-bomb or any US presence in Europe) it once again becomes a danger to Britain and France.

And once rearmed, what stops it reverting to Nazism, or pre-1914 sttyle militarism, under another name?
I can't argue. The only thing that would have helped would have been a political change within Germany, as a result of its defeat. But that's highly speculative and probably unlikely. They wouldn't have been beaten badly enough at that point.
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Old 02-22-2010, 09:22 AM
 
Location: Peterborough, England
467 posts, read 364,741 times
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Originally Posted by dazzleman View Post
I can't argue. The only thing that would have helped would have been a political change within Germany, as a result of its defeat. But that's highly speculative and probably unlikely. They wouldn't have been beaten badly enough at that point.

I know how you feel.

Unfortunately, this is the fundamental problem with all "what-ifs" on this theme. What their authors tend to want is the result of WW2 - ie the destruction of Hitler and Nazism - but without the frightful cost which it entailed. Unfortunately, the cost - the devastation and carnage - was precisely what made WW2 so effective in scotching them. If you defeat Hitler "on the cheap" my gut feeling is that you won't really have defeated him. Under one name or another, he'll revive.
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Old 02-23-2010, 04:49 AM
 
Location: Turn right at the stop sign
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dazzleman
The maddening thing was that if the British and French had moved in September 1939 while Germany was bogged down in Poland, they could have gone right to Berlin and taken Germany from behind. Then the war would have been confined to Eastern Europe and would perhaps have ended a lot sooner. Instead, they stood aside while the Huns snuffed out Poland, whom they had guaranteed to defend, and tamely waited until the Germans moved their armies into position to attack the west with overwhelming force. It's hard to imagine a bigger idiocy.
Actually, on September 7, 1939, the same day the British Expeditionary Force landed in France, the French launched “Operation Saar”, an invasion of the German region of the Saarland. The French met little resistance, largely because the Germans had considered the possibility that France might take such action, and had evacuated their forces from the area. The thirteen under strength divisions Germany had in the Saar had taken up positions behind the Siegfried Line, the German's junior version of the Maginot Line. By September 9th, the French had two motorized divisions, five tank battalions, and artillery, occupying German territory. Minefields and scattered resistance by German forces, slowed the French advance to a snail’s pace, and by September 15th, the French found themselves occupying a meager five miles of German soil.

Though the Siegfried Line fortifications directly in front of them appeared to be abandoned, the French general in charge of the operation, Maurice Gamelin, was suspicious that it might be some sort of German trap. Unwilling to chance it, he ordered his forces not to test the Siegfried Line, and instead be prepared to withdraw back into France should the Germans launch a counterattack. When the Soviets invaded Poland on September 17th, Germany was able to begin shifting armor and planes back to the Western Front. The French realized that the military situation had changed dramatically, and their momentary superiority in force over the Germans was at an end. Gamelin called a halt to the offensive on September 20th, and by September 30th, the French began to withdraw back behind the Maginot Line.

Despite the fact that the majority of Germany’s forces were tied up in Poland, realistically speaking, the French had no more than a two week window in which to mount a successful operation against the Germans. The assessment on both the French and German side was that the French could have advanced at least to the Rhine and possibly retaken the whole of the Rhineland within two weeks time had they pressed on. By then though, Germany would have been able to have enough forces assembled to halt any further French incursions into German territory.

To actually try to go further and march on Berlin was simply not possible at that point in the war. In order for the French to accomplish something like that would have required an additional two months of mobilization to gather the necessary men and equipment. Obviously, during those two months, the Germans likely would not have been sitting around doing nothing and may well have launched their own counterattack against France before the French could make a move. And even if the Germans didn’t make a move and waited for a renewed French attack, air supremacy would have ruled the day, and on that score, the Germans had the definite advantage.

If “Operation Saar” proved anything, it was not what the French could have done, but rather what they wouldn’t do. It clearly demonstrated the belief among the majority of the French military establishment that taking a purely defensive posture toward the German threat was the preferable course of action. And in the end, the dogged commitment to this doctrine did nothing more than ensure France’s ultimate defeat.
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