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Old 01-10-2015, 09:00 AM   #1
Husker
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Outcome of World War 2. What if....

I'm currently working my way through Albert Speer's book 'Inside the 3rd Reich'. Having read a couple of other books by German generals in the past it's got me wondering how long WW2 would have gone on if Hitler had been replaced or assassinated in 1942.

It seems that Germany could've had the ME262 in large numbers if Hitler hadn't bizarrely decided that it should instead be developed as a bomber, thereby greatly delaying it's introduction. Along with this German scientists were developing 2 rocket missiles, one heat seeking and one guided by a beam as well as a ground to air missile. All of these projects however were low priority due to Hitler's favoured V2 project (which consumed enormous resources) as he seems to have been obsessed with vengance attacks against Britain rather than working on projects that could have possible won them the air war over Germany. An example of this folly is that Hitler demanded 5000 V2's be ready for 'wholesale commitment'. This is 5 months worth of production and would still deliver a total payload less than the allies were capable of dropping on a single night on bombing raids. These are just a few examples but there are many more where his meddling in tank design etc greatly hindered their war effort.

In addition to the above it's clear that the German high command was also dysfunctional due to Hitler's role as Commender in Chief and the impact this had on those in his inner circle. So if we take into account the huge military losses due to his repeated military failures, such as allowing armies to withdraw to more favourable defensive positions, as well as the negative impact of his leadership on armarment production and weapons programs, how long would it have been possible for Germany to continue fighting?

* In considering this I'm looking to disregard any politicial considerations and instead assume that Germany would still be looking to fight till the end basically.
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Old 01-12-2015, 03:48 AM   #2
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Re: Outcome of World War 2. What if....

Why doesn't the A bomb make this academic?
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Old 01-12-2015, 08:52 AM   #3
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Re: Outcome of World War 2. What if....

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Originally Posted by David Sklansky View Post
Why doesn't the A bomb make this academic?
Are you suggesting the bomb would have been used on Germany?

Also, OP is talking about events in '42 and bomb didn't come along until a few years later. If Hitler was gone in '42, would the new leadership have continued the war?
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Old 01-12-2015, 12:22 PM   #4
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Re: Outcome of World War 2. What if....

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* In considering this I'm looking to disregard any politicial considerations and instead assume that Germany would still be looking to fight till the end basically.
Pretty much impossible to do this as the first political consideration is:
Who takes over ?

Goering is Deputy Leader and Hitler's chosen successor but was despised by Himmler and the General Staff and had no political power base to support his claim.

By 1942, the SS has infiltrated every level of German society with prominent people and business leaders being given honorary SS ranks to bind them to Himmler's wishes. Acceptance of the honorary rank meant that you were then subject to the SS 'code of honour' and trial in SS courts which were independent of the German judiciary.
The SS also controls large scale military formations, the SD, the Gestapo and the criminal police (even the fire brigades have been incorporated and formed into SS units).
So Himmler looks favourite to takeover, although even he is vulnerable to some of his deputies e.g. Heydrich - assuming this is before his assassination.

I would guess a takeover by Himmler followed by a purge of both the top tier of the Nazi party and the Wehrmacht generals with their replacement by SS men of equivalent rank, although not necessarily equivalent expertise.

So now we have a Germany headed by Himmler but without Goering, Admiral Raeder and the top tier of Field Marshals and Generals.



This is a major problem with wide ranged 'what if?' scenarios in that they have too many variables to be able to construct a credible alternative.
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Old 01-12-2015, 06:26 PM   #5
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Re: Outcome of World War 2. What if....

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Pretty much impossible to do this as the first political consideration is:
Who takes over ?

Goering is Deputy Leader and Hitler's chosen successor but was despised by Himmler and the General Staff and had no political power base to support his claim.

By 1942, the SS has infiltrated every level of German society with prominent people and business leaders being given honorary SS ranks to bind them to Himmler's wishes. Acceptance of the honorary rank meant that you were then subject to the SS 'code of honour' and trial in SS courts which were independent of the German judiciary.
The SS also controls large scale military formations, the SD, the Gestapo and the criminal police (even the fire brigades have been incorporated and formed into SS units).
So Himmler looks favourite to takeover, although even he is vulnerable to some of his deputies e.g. Heydrich - assuming this is before his assassination.

I would guess a takeover by Himmler followed by a purge of both the top tier of the Nazi party and the Wehrmacht generals with their replacement by SS men of equivalent rank, although not necessarily equivalent expertise.

So now we have a Germany headed by Himmler but without Goering, Admiral Raeder and the top tier of Field Marshals and Generals.



This is a major problem with wide ranged 'what if?' scenarios in that they have too many variables to be able to construct a credible alternative.
Himmler is the obvious one to take over, but lets assume in this case the Wermacht gain control and arrest/ kill the senior Nazi membership (Himmler, Boorman, Goebbels etc). According to Speer the 20th July plot was very close to success and if they had done something as simple as cutting off communications to Goebbels at the time it may have worked. Himmler seems to have disappeared for a bit while all this was going on...

So basically I'm looking at a scenario where there is a more competent military command going forward, however one that is willing to continue the fight.
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Old 01-12-2015, 06:43 PM   #6
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Re: Outcome of World War 2. What if....

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Himmler is the obvious one to take over, but lets assume in this case the Wermacht gain control and arrest/ kill the senior Nazi membership (Himmler, Boorman, Goebbels etc). According to Speer the 20th July plot was very close to success and if they had done something as simple as cutting off communications to Goebbels at the time it may have worked. Himmler seems to have disappeared for a bit while all this was going on...

So basically I'm looking at a scenario where there is a more competent military command going forward, however one that is willing to continue the fight.
If it's just the Wehrmacht, I see massive overtures to Churchill made for a negotiated peace and an attempt to turn the war against the Soviets. And with Hitler and the Nazi leadership out of the way, I'm not sure Churchill doesn't go for it.
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Old 01-13-2015, 10:29 AM   #7
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Re: Outcome of World War 2. What if....

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If it's just the Wehrmacht, I see massive overtures to Churchill made for a negotiated peace and an attempt to turn the war against the Soviets. And with Hitler and the Nazi leadership out of the way, I'm not sure Churchill doesn't go for it.
Even with Hitler and the Nazi leadership gone it's unlikely that the Germans get a separate peace in 1942.

The US is in the war, answering Churchill's prayers, and the ARCADIA conference in early Jan had agreed a Germany first strategy.

I just can't see the UK making a separate peace that leaves Germany in possession of Western Europe and North Africa. That would cede too much strategic advantage to them for any rematch.

Equally, I can't see the Germans withdrawing from Western Europe without major concessions from the UK. It the UK doesn't do it in 1940 when it '*stands alone' then it doesn't go for it in 1942 when the US is on board.

The German don't have a great track record of making concessions from a position of strength - as evidenced by the WW1 September Program and the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.
http://http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septemberprogramm#War_goals
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Brest-Litovsk

'*stands alone' is a British myth that discounts the massive contribution of the Empire and Commonwealth nations.
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Old 01-14-2015, 07:21 AM   #8
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Re: Outcome of World War 2. What if....

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According to Speer the 20th July plot was very close to success and if they had done something as simple as cutting off communications to Goebbels at the time it may have worked. Himmler seems to have disappeared for a bit while all this was going on...
The 20th July plot was in 1944 and by then the Allies were in Normandy preparing to break out and Germany had lost regardless of who takes over.
The plot itself was poorly organised and executed. Stauffenberg failed to prime one of the 2 bombs and left before confirming Hitler was dead. The communications between the various plotter groups were poor, so many of them chose to wait until Hitler's death was confirmed before acting.
A better plan imo would have been for Stauffenberg to shoot him and take the consequences.

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So basically I'm looking at a scenario where there is a more competent military command going forward, however one that is willing to continue the fight.
Thinking on this, I still think Germany loses.
On the plus side they get a better fighter earlier, Stalingrad and Kursk are lesser disasters if they still happen. Perhaps more Ukrainians switch to the German side willingly.

Operation Overlord becomes a riskier proposition although Manstein and Guderian disagreed with Rommel and both supported holding the Panzers back away from the coast.


Germany gets a superior fighter aircraft ME262 earlier for use in the air defence of Germany. This could certainly save thousands of civilian lives as daylight bombing is abandoned, but the Allies probably continue the night raids

On the other side of the ledger.
Rommel still loses at El Alamein as North Africa is seen by the bulk of the General Staff as a sideshow and so is still starved of resources.

German policy is still to establish lebensraum in the East with large areas depopulated and repopulated by Volksdeutche. This has been a foreign policy objective since the early 1900's and unlikely to be abandoned when it seems to be coming true. No basis for a peace there.

Germany has no heavy long range bombers so can't reach the Soviet factories east of the Urals. In my view, this means the war in East continues with Soviet forces gradually increasing in strength.

Germany's production problems don't go away. The German economy is poorly organised and reliant on looting the occupied countries and a slave labour force. Many of the armament factories were established and run by the SS, using slave labour from concentration camps, POW camps and the occupied countries.


The more I think about it, I can see your proposed scenario extending the war in Europe but it leads inevitably to the atomic bombing of German cities in August 1945 instead of Hiroshima/Nagasaki ( as per the David Sklansky's post).
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Old 01-18-2015, 10:44 AM   #9
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Re: Outcome of World War 2. What if....

I think you watched the same documentary I watched 8 years ago. The Germans did have some next gen aircraft in the works that could have definitely allowed them to regain air-supremacy. Does the Trifluegal and Horton x wing ring a bell?

However I think Hilters biggest mistakes had to be losing armies left. right and center. It wasn't just the 6th he lost, he lost the entirety of Army group North, the 4th army, the Afrika Korps, whatever he threw at Sicily, and the army in the west when he ordered a counter strike against Kluge's advice. There are probably a few more but I don#t seem to remember them.

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Why doesn't the A bomb make this academic?
I see your point, but you kind of need some level of air supremacy to drop the nuke. Had Hitler not delayed the ME262 and others till 1944 then that air supremacy might well have been German.

Has OP considered that ordering Guderians 3rd panzer army to turn on Kiev instead of simply advancing on Moscow was probably the real game loser for Germany?
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Old 01-22-2015, 04:01 AM   #10
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Re: Outcome of World War 2. What if....

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I see your point, but you kind of need some level of air supremacy to drop the nuke. Had Hitler not delayed the ME262 and others till 1944 then that air supremacy might well have been German.
???
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Old 01-22-2015, 03:30 PM   #11
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Re: Outcome of World War 2. What if....

Hows your B-29 going to drop it's nuke on Berlin if it's been shot down over the Baltic Sea?

Bear in mind that the Allies were not even close to developing ballistic missiles let alone ICBM.

I suppose you can do a night raid and hope I guess. It's not like you have to be amazingly accurate with a nuke anyway.
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Old 01-23-2015, 12:07 AM   #12
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Re: Outcome of World War 2. What if....

You don't have to be accurate with a nuke, and how hard can it be for a couple planes to get through at night even if the Germans have air supremacy?
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Old 01-23-2015, 12:01 PM   #13
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Re: Outcome of World War 2. What if....

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You don't have to be accurate with a nuke, and how hard can it be for a couple planes to get through at night even if the Germans have air supremacy?
i did kind of concede that at the end of the post. But by the end of the war there were certainly fighters which were designed to operate at night. I still stand by air superiority would be REALLY handy for dropping a nuke.
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Old 01-25-2015, 08:52 PM   #14
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Re: Outcome of World War 2. What if....

I'd say the only win Germany had is if Hitler is replaced between the fall of France and the invasion of Russia. If Germany never invades Russia France is never invaded.
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Old 01-28-2015, 05:08 AM   #15
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Re: Outcome of World War 2. What if....

There is a movie pilot on Amazon called, The Man in the High Castle which is an alternate history to WWII where USA is 1/2 owned by Japanese and Germany. I also noticed it is on youtube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWXTEuTr7sY

Anyways it was written by Philip K. Dick who is wrote many many movies that I love. The movie is produced by Ridley Scott.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_K._Dick

This movie is very good and hope they finish they series. Never knew who Dick was but the guy even has documentaries about him out. Which is kind of strange as I have had similar experiences.
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Old 01-28-2015, 02:23 PM   #16
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Re: Outcome of World War 2. What if....

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There is a movie pilot on Amazon called, The Man in the High Castle which is an alternate history to WWII where USA is 1/2 owned by Japanese and Germany. I also noticed it is on youtube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWXTEuTr7sY

Anyways it was written by Philip K. Dick who is wrote many many movies that I love. The movie is produced by Ridley Scott.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_K._Dick

This movie is very good and hope they finish they series. Never knew who Dick was but the guy even has documentaries about him out. Which is kind of strange as I have had similar experiences.
I seen this mentioned the other day on a different site so I'll check it out. I read the book a few years ago as I'm a fan of Dick's work (think I have about 20 of his novels by now)
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Old 02-14-2015, 01:07 PM   #17
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Re: Outcome of World War 2. What if....

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I'd say the only win Germany had is if Hitler is replaced between the fall of France and the invasion of Russia. If Germany never invades Russia France is never invaded.
What do you think the USSR does between summer 1941 and Spring 1942 if Germany doesn't invade?

I'd suggest the only potential win for Germany is if, after the Rhineland, Austria and Sudatenland, Germany plays kiss and make up with France and the UK to form common cause against the Commies. Perhaps in the Baltic/Finland area. This pretty well means cutting the Italians loose, and may involve a mountain campaign to regain parts of Austrian Tyrolia lost to Italy after WWI.

The invasion of Russia wasn't the supreme mistake. Conflict with the USSR was pretty much inevitable. Germany had just won a proxy war with Russia in Spain. The mistake was to alienate potential allies for the war against Russia by invading Poland.
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Old 04-17-2015, 08:53 PM   #18
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Re: Outcome of World War 2. What if....

Nuke wouldn't have worked on Germany. They were already committed to national suicide. And there wasn't anything significant enough to bomb. By the time it was ready they were already doing suicide by cop on a grand scale.
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