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Old March 21st, 2015, 02:17 PM   #1

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A Very Large World War II Dilemma for Britain and France


OK--here is the scenario:

Due to France keeping its strategic reserve at Rheims (as per the original plan) instead of sending it to the Low Countries, the German attack through the Ardennes fails in 1940. Thus, the Manstein Plan fails and the Germans become bogged down in Belgium and in northern France. In 1941-1942, the French and British very slowly begin to advance in Belgium and in northern France, but with an enormous number of French and British military deaths and casualties; meanwhile, during this time, Germany is rapidly continuing its work on the Siegfried Line and also begins the Holocaust in the areas which are under its control in an effort to kill as many Jews as it can. In 1942 or 1943, opponents of Hitler and the Nazis in the German military and elsewhere successfully stage a coup against Hitler and the Nazis.

Afterwards, these successful coup plotters immediately stop the Holocaust and secretly offer Britain and France a peace deal: There would be a status quo ante bellum in the West, a restoration of Germany's 1914 borders in the East, and a German retention of both Austria and the Sudetenland (as well as a German retention of its Czech and Slovak puppet states, though Germany might be willing to compromise on this specific part of its peace offer); also, Germany would allow the restoration of an independent Polish state on the parts of Poland which are beyond Germany's 1914 borders and which are currently occupied by Germany. Both Britain and France reject this German peace deal and instead decide to continue fighting.

In response to this, the new, non-Nazi German government decides to "play hardball" with Britain and France by unilaterally withdrawing to Germany's 1914 borders in the east; in turn, this causes Stalin to occupy the parts of Poland which Germany withdrew from and to create a pro-Soviet Polish puppet state there. Afterwards, the new German government once again offers Britain and France the very same peace deal which they have previously rejected (well, other than the part about a restoration of a genuinely independent Poland), hoping that Britain and France would reconsider this offer now that a genuinely independent Poland is impossible to restore (Stalin's new Polish puppet state is certainly not genuinely independent).

Now--do Britain and France reconsider and accept this German peace deal, or do they decide to endure an additional massive number of (British and French) military deaths and casualties in order to get Germany to withdraw back to its pre-World War II borders in the east?

Remember--Britain and France will probably eventually defeat Germany in this scenario, but it will require an even greater number of military deaths and casualties on their part and any areas which Germany will withdraw from will simply be occupied by the Soviet Union afterwards. Are Britain and France genuinely willing to endure several hundred thousand or more additional military deaths on their side just so that Stalin's puppet Polish state, rather than Germany, will be the one who is controlling Danzig, the Polish Corridor, Posen, and eastern Upper Silesia? Or are Britain and France likely to simply say "Screw it!" in this scenario and accept this German peace deal (possibly with a clause which will open the door to a re-negotiation of Germany's border with Poland if/after Poland ever breaks free from Soviet control/rule (in order for Britain and France to "save face" in front of both their public and the Polish public who is now living under Soviet control/rule))?

Thoughts on this? Yes, in this scenario Britain and France really do appear to be stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Last edited by Futurist; March 21st, 2015 at 04:08 PM.
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Old March 21st, 2015, 03:47 PM   #2

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Damn tough question.

I think they will have to accept the peace offer.
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Old March 21st, 2015, 04:23 PM   #3

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawnmowerman View Post
Damn tough question.

I think they will have to accept the peace offer.
Yeah, that's what I think as well. After all, Hitler and the Nazis are already overthrown and the new German government appears to be less aggressive than Hitler and the Nazis were. Plus, in this scenario, the Germans still have a lot of fight left in them in 1942-1943 (in part due to the resources which Stalin continues to provide for them as a result of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact). Thus, it appears that Britain and France have three choices in this scenario:

1. Try offering Stalin a free hand in Eastern Europe in exchange for him agreeing to stop delivering resources to Germany and join the war against Germany on Britain's and France's side; the problem with this is that while FDR might have been more-or-less okay with letting Stalin control Eastern Europe, Britain and/or France might not have the same view on this as FDR appears to have had.

2. Continue the war against Germany on their own without any Soviet help; however, this will result in an additional massive number of British and French military casualties before Germany is defeated and it will still result in a strengthening of the Soviet Union by allowing it to occupy even more territories after Germany withdraws from them.

3. Accept Germany's peace offer/deal. This will reward Germany for its aggression against Poland and be perceived as stabbing Poland in the back, but at the same time, it will also ensure that the Soviet Union will not be able to get any additional territories. If Britain's and France's main goals are the overthrow of Hitler and the Nazis (which has already been accomplished by now) and preventing the expansion of Bolshevism/Communism, then Britain and France might prefer to hold their noses and extremely reluctantly accept this German peace deal/offer with the hope that Germany's new government won't be anywhere near as aggressive as Hitler and the Nazis were (after all, this new, non-Nazi German government has already stated that it certainly does not want any Lebensraum in the east but rather only wants to restore Germany to its 1914 borders in the east and for Germany to keep ethnic-German majority areas such as Austria and the Sudetenland which it more-or-less peacefully acquired under Hitler's rule).

Last edited by Futurist; March 21st, 2015 at 04:31 PM.
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Old March 21st, 2015, 04:32 PM   #4
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Total surrender would be required. If the French/British had slogged through years of warfare in France the casualties would have been massive. I thin the reaction would have been we putting Germany down for good this time. I would expect an insistence on Total surrender and the something approaching the complete destruction of Germany as a major power. Incredibly harsh terms. The WW2 butchers bill for Britain and France was relatively low, if it was huge and 3 year of ww2 heavy warfare it would have been huge. Having been through ww1 at huge coast then fighting Germany again in this different huge cost ww2 I thin there would have been much more bitterness and a need to finish Germany.
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Old March 21st, 2015, 04:39 PM   #5

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Originally Posted by pugsville View Post
Total surrender would be required.
That might require an enormous number of additional British and French military deaths and casualties, though; are Britain and France willing to endure that many additional military deaths and casualties?

After all, in this scenario, unlike in real life, the Soviet Union is not going to be doing the overwhelming majority of the bleeding for the West in this scenario; plus, the U.S. is not involved in World War II (yet, at least) in this scenario (though it is willing to sell large amounts of weapons, supplies, and resources to Britain and France for their war effort in this scenario).

Quote:
If the French/British had slogged through years of warfare in France the casualties would have been massive. I thin the reaction would have been we putting Germany down for good this time. I would expect an insistence on Total surrender and the something approaching the complete destruction of Germany as a major power. Incredibly harsh terms. The WW2 butchers bill for Britain and France was relatively low, if it was huge and 3 year of ww2 heavy warfare it would have been huge. Having been through ww1 at huge coast then fighting Germany again in this different huge cost ww2 I thin there would have been much more bitterness and a need to finish Germany.
If Britain and France were so committed to destroying Germany as a major power (as opposed to simply overthrowing Hitler and the Nazis and getting Germany to withdraw from Poland), then why exactly did they refuse to create an alliance with the Soviet Union in 1939?

After all, an Anglo-French-Soviet alliance in 1939 would have certainly helped Britain and France to defeat Germany in World War II. Plus, as far as I know, Britain and France already expected the war with Germany to be a long one even before the Fall of France; thus, why not acquire all of the allies which they can get?

Last edited by Futurist; March 21st, 2015 at 04:43 PM.
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Old March 21st, 2015, 04:40 PM   #6

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By accepting the peace deal they are creating a counter to Soviet aggression in the East as well. By continuing the war they're weakening themselves and Germany whilst Stalin (potentially) plans an invasion from the East.

They have to accept the peace offer or they will exhaust themselves only to be over run by the Communists
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Old March 21st, 2015, 04:48 PM   #7

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawnmowerman View Post
By accepting the peace deal they are creating a counter to Soviet aggression in the East as well.
Bingo! This peace deal will ensure that Communism does not expand anywhere else in Europe.

Quote:
By continuing the war they're weakening themselves and Germany whilst Stalin (potentially) plans an invasion from the East.
Correct! If they want to avoid bleeding themselves much more and to prevent the Soviet Union from expanding Communism even further, then they will probably have to hold their noses and accept this peace deal.

Quote:
They have to accept the peace offer or they will exhaust themselves only to be over run by the Communists
Bingo! Also, I think that Britain's and France's unwillingness to create an alliance with Stalin in 1939 shows how unwilling they were to allow the Soviet Union and Communism to expand even when having the Soviet Union as an ally would have helped them in their fight against Germany.
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Old March 21st, 2015, 04:52 PM   #8

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As far as I know, FDR appears to have had something of a "soft spot" for Stalin (plus a dislike of German Junkers and "Prussian militarism") in real life; however, I am skeptical that Britain and France would have had the same attitude towards Stalin in this scenario in comparison to FDR's attitude towards Stalin in real life.

Last edited by Futurist; March 21st, 2015 at 04:56 PM.
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Old March 21st, 2015, 05:08 PM   #9

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Yeah--it appears that, in this scenario, the new, non-Nazi German government is in a very good position to play "hardball" with Britain and France; in other words, they can use Britain's and France's dislike of Bolshevism/Communism to their own advantage by threatening to allow Bolshevism/Communism to spread if Britain and France are unwilling to give the Germans what they want; in other words, it would probably be a form/type of blackmail on the part of the German government.
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Old March 21st, 2015, 11:18 PM   #10

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Is early here and while I had t read through a few times, please excuse me if I get the wrong end up the stick.. and put it down to a lack of Coffee

So do Britain and Russia still invade Iran, which I have always felt was the moment the Allies encircled the Axis nations.. if so have Britain and Russia also split Iran in two? so Russia gets Poland and 1/2 of Iran etc, while Britain the other half of Iran and some other territory?

So some pluses there, not to mention, I can't see Britain not wanting to do a deal with Russia given how many deals the pair have actually got up to in the past (France/Britain offering Russia Constantinople in 1915 for instance),

That kind of historical backstage dealing in my mind would tip the balance towards peace, thus freeing up valuable troops/kit to maintain empire, especially towards the East.

This is might annoy some, but I see the promise to Poland as a promise that deliberately put Britain in a position to threaten Hitler, if you invade and we are at war, thus less around the independence of Poland and more attempt to block the war.

If there really was depth to the agreement to protect Polish independence then logically shouldn't the allies, specifically France and Britain have pursued that post WW2? So if they didn't pursue it post WW2, I wouldn't think they would pursue post a WW2 ending earlier.

I hope that made some small sense... off to get more coffee
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