Could Weimar Germany have created an EU-style union in Central and Eastern Europe had it survived?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,321
SoCal
Could Weimar Germany have created an EU-style union in Central and Eastern Europe had it survived?

Weimar Germany could have survived had Wilhelm Marx won the 1925 German presidential election and won reelection in 1932; by 1939, the Great Depression should be significantly reduced--if not completely over--in Germany, thus eliminating any possibility of a Nazi seizure of power in Germany. However, could a surviving Weimar Germany have eventually used its economic power to lure other Central and Eastern European countries into an EU-style union?

I'm thinking of having a surviving Weimar Germany drop its territorial claims against Poland (and Danzig as well) in exchange for getting Poland (and also Danzig) to join an EU-style union. Likewise, I am thinking of having a surviving Weimar Germany push the Germans in Czechoslovakia to push for joining this EU-style union. (Czechoslovak Germans were a formidable political force and if they will embrace this idea, perhaps other Czechoslovak parties would also eventually take this idea seriously). Poland, the Baltic countries, Finland, and Romania could likewise be attracted to this idea if Germany will make their acceptance of this a precondition for security guarantees from Germany against the Soviet Union (assuming that, of course, Germany would have already began rearming by that point in time; IMHO, eventual German rearmament was inevitable with or without Hitler). Given that Germany is the big dog in Europe, it's possible that some or all of these countries would view entry into an EU-style union as an acceptable price to pay for German security guarantees against the Soviet Union--with at least some of these countries viewing a partial loss of sovereignty to Germany as being superior to the risk of a complete loss of sovereignty to the Soviet Union.

Anyway, what are your thoughts on this?
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,321
SoCal
Also, I forgot to mention that Germany could also give security guarantees to Yugoslavia against Italian and Bulgarian aggression in exchange for having Yugoslavia agree to join an EU-style union.

Basically, this idea would essentially be a German version of Intermarium:

Intermarium - Wikipedia

In other words, Intermarium plus Germany--with Germany being the top dog.
 
Jun 2017
2,976
Connecticut
No.

WWII and the complete destruction of every European great powers ambitions both on the continent and colonially was required for European unity. While WWI took out Austria-Hungary, before WWII you still had a concert of competing European great powers that WWII destroyed. France, Italy and Germany all wouldn't have been willing to work together without the WWII experience. The UK has never and still doesn't see itself as part of Europe and we can talk about Brexit being a fundamental change but fact of the matter is their refusal to join the Eurozone meant they always had a foot out the door.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Futurist

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,321
SoCal
No.

WWII and the complete destruction of every European great powers ambitions both on the continent and colonially was required for European unity. While WWI took out Austria-Hungary, before WWII you still had a concert of competing European great powers that WWII destroyed. France, Italy and Germany all wouldn't have been willing to work together without the WWII experience. The UK has never and still doesn't see itself as part of Europe and we can talk about Brexit being a fundamental change but fact of the matter is their refusal to join the Eurozone meant they always had a foot out the door.
Actually, I was talking about Germany excluding France, the UK, and possibly Italy as well from an EU-style union so that it won't have much competition for being the top dog in such a union.
 
Dec 2018
103
Australia
Wouldn't the other states disagree violently with such a union as it would give the Germans huge leverage over the smaller states.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,321
SoCal
Possibly, but it's hard to say for certain. I mean, would German domination really be much more objectionable than, say, Polish domination--let alone Soviet domination--would be?
 
Dec 2018
103
Australia
Possibly, but it's hard to say for certain. I mean, would German domination really be much more objectionable than, say, Polish domination--let alone Soviet domination--would be?
In either of the later two the other powers would have intervened so why not for Germany?
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,321
SoCal
Actually, I don't think that the other powers would have intervened had Poland attempted to do something similar just as long as it would have been voluntary.
 
Apr 2017
1,662
U.S.A.
France wouldn't have allowed it as it would make Germany stronger, they would use their influence to prevent its creation.
The prototype for the European union (of a sort) was envisioned by both imperial and Nazi Germany by dominating central and eastern Europe's economies under german leadership.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Futurist
Jun 2017
2,976
Connecticut
Actually, I was talking about Germany excluding France, the UK, and possibly Italy as well from an EU-style union so that it won't have much competition for being the top dog in such a union.
Well without WWII most of Eastern Europe are French proxy's who'd owe their existence to French involvement during the war, so they'd be out because the Germans would have to interfere with an already existing relationship there. Czechslovaks in particular after centuries of unhappiness being a member of a German dominated union would have no desire to be put back into a similar situation. They were the most vocally unhappy of the Austro-Hungarian minority's and are for the holdest period. That unhappiness was directed at the Austrians and the reason there were Germans in Czechoslovakia was because the Austrians had settled them there long ago(don't recall the details of that, seems like an Ulsterish situation which was happening around the same time). Romania and Yugoslavia also owed a great deal to the Allied victory in WWI, the Serbs in particular had the Kaiser's blank check in 1914 to thank for the war that caused a death toll that rivalled the Soviets in WWII per percentage of population. In our timeline Hungary were natural allies with the Germans for a reason. Poland might be a possibility post Pidulski and the alliance against the Soviets would be greater leverage there but you've got some of the same issues arising with them as well. The Polish also had beaten the Soviets in their previous fight and without the threat of being hit on both sides there wouldn't be the same desperation.

With the Scandinavians they'd be a better chance but even today with the nuclear deterrent, Russia is making noise about that, without a nuclear deterrent(which lessens the desperation with which Russia would want the Scandinavian and Baltics in the first place since they don't need a buffer against conventional assault). Must be remembered that even early in Hitler's regime, France was not the only anti German force in Europe but the Italians as well. Hitler tried to engineer the seizure of Austria in 1934 and Mussolini sent troops forcing Hitler to back down. Hitler got an alliance with Italy by making vast secret promises about the post war world that enabled him to freely annex Austria the following year. Under a Weimar regime this wouldn't happen.

Finally under the Weimar Republic you'd still have to deal with the disarmament of the Treaty of Versailles and the Treaty would not be repudiated and it's unlikely we see a democratically elected government taking the steps to secretly rearm that Hitler did. Germany as a result has little military pull in terms of making alliances. In terms of economics, the Rhineland is still in French control and Hitler's rearmament was a major boost to the German economy. The German depression was overrated(my most trusted history professor went as far as calling it a myth) but France had just created a post war European order where the goal was to keep Germany isolated, much of the continent owed their political existence to that order, I don't see that changing.

The only candidates I realistically see are Hungary(which was uniquely effected by trade borders given it lost access to it's Slovak industrial heartland and who'd jump at the chance for a trade union to help compensate) and Finland maybe(there it'd be the Soviet thing). Remember during WWII the Nazis created their alliance basically out of dissatisfied minority's in Versialles created states and the humilated victors Italy and Japan. Without conquering said countries and giving said minorities independence, the map of Europe is devoid of countries sympathetic to German interests. I know the Weimar Republic isn't Nazi Germany but in terms of finding aligned countries that doesn't necessarily matter. France were attempting to police Europe at this time and they had a lot invested in keeping the Germans down.

In terms of the IRL EU, the EU/Eurozones real strength is in the unity of the largest European countries. Just the three or four most numerous European countries(say Germany, France, Italy, Poland maybe Spain) would more or less have the same effect(those five countries have well over half the people in the Eurozone) . If anything expanding membership to the smaller states has created most of the EU's problems. The power behind any trade deal is how large the market is and if you take out the Great Powers you are removing the point of said enterprise. The Eurasian Union today shows how minor an impact a large country creating an economic union with a bunch of minor satellites has.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Futurist