Was there a realistic way for Germany to quickly lose WWI?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
15,559
SoCal
#1
Was there a realistic way for Germany to quickly lose World War I?

I personally think that a quick Entente victory followed by one moderate revolution in Russia would have been the best-case scenario in World War I. However, was there ever actually a realistic way for the Entente to win a quick victory in WWI?

In real life, WWII broke out as a result of the Entente winning WWI but becoming exhausted in the process and also as a result of two Entente powers (Russia and the US) disengaging from Europe either during the war or after the war. A quick Entente victory would have eliminated these problems and might have also possibly resulted in a less harsh peace treaty for Germany and the other Central Powers.

What are your thoughts on my question here?
 
Mar 2019
53
Victoria, Australia
#2
Mhmm. I think that if the battle of Tannenberg had been a decisive Russian victory, they could have well encircled the VIII Army and destroyed it, resulting in at least the loss of ~150'000 men and East-Prussia. Plus, I think it would have probably resulted in a Russian able to move into Prussia itself, possibly through Stettin/Pomerania and force a victory. That does, however, assume that the Russian I and II army would have taken advantage of the mayhem caused by their victory and moved on (The plan originally was to move through that area). Sometimes the allied armies, especially the British, failed to take advantage of.

Austria-Hungary was a joke at the time, having repeatedly lost again the serbian army (a vastly inferior army in numbers and weaponry). With Germany out of the war, Russia could have easily defeated the Austro-Hungarians. Especially if the same scenario developpes wherein the Austro-Hungarian lunch countless offensive in attempts to take bake Premysil Fortress. The Russian in real life almost broke through, and only with the intervention of the German did they get stopped. Something that would not have happened in this scenario.

It is also likely that the Ottomans never joins World War I following Germany's defeat in August 1914 following Tannenberg (they joined in November 1914). Same with Bulgaria.

That's effectively the only scenario I can think of that would legitimately have ended world war I early. At least, not if we include the possibility of an "insane" victory by the French in early 1914 wherein they are able to open up a huge gap in German defences and enter Germany proper. But that, I find, is unlikely as the German army, at the onset of the war, was superior to that of the French - in addition, that the Germans had placed everything they could on an early knock-out of France. Meaning France would have to defeat the majority of the cream of the German army, then defeat all other resistance whilst defending from a well-executed German attack.
 
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pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
8,497
#3
Was there a realistic way for Germany to quickly lose World War I?

I personally think that a quick Entente victory followed by one moderate revolution in Russia would have been the best-case scenario in World War I. However, was there ever actually a realistic way for the Entente to win a quick victory in WWI?

In real life, WWII broke out as a result of the Entente winning WWI but becoming exhausted in the process and also as a result of two Entente powers (Russia and the US) disengaging from Europe either during the war or after the war. A quick Entente victory would have eliminated these problems and might have also possibly resulted in a less harsh peace treaty for Germany and the other Central Powers.

What are your thoughts on my question here?
Quick collapse of AH under Russian attack. the AH did not do well in 1914, seems the most likely way for the Central Powers to be defeated quickly. Perhaps if the Russians did NOT attack East prussia.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
15,559
SoCal
#4
Quick collapse of AH under Russian attack. the AH did not do well in 1914, seems the most likely way for the Central Powers to be defeated quickly. Perhaps if the Russians did NOT attack East prussia.
I'm just wondering if that would have been feasible, though. I mean, A-H was greatly weakened by the 1916 Brusilov Offensive, but it pulled through thanks to German help.

I am skeptical that Russia would have actually had the logistics to advance onto either Vienna or Budapest at the start of the war. Plus, even in the unlikely event that Russia could have actually pulled this off, Germany could simply occupy the rest of Austria-Hungary and put A-H's young men into military units under its own command--with Germany and these units subsequently aiming to liberate Vienna and/or Budapest.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
15,559
SoCal
#5
What we do know is that in real life, during WWII, the Allies were capable of sustaining huge losses and yet were still able and willing to continue the fight. Britain didn't quit after the Fall of France and the Soviet Union didn't quit or collapse after Operation Barbarossa and after the 1942 German offensives. Thus, even with A-H getting wrecked, I would suspect that it would take more than that to result in a quick German defeat and collapse in WWI.
 
Mar 2019
53
Victoria, Australia
#6
That's possible Pugsville. But I do not see the Russians being able to break through the Carpathian mountains and then force the Austro-Hungarians into defeat.

The Austro-Hungarian main problem was offensives, which it regularly failed to achieve to a capable level or comparable level to that of the Germans. However, they did prove themselves very well, especially against the Italians, to defend themselves even in poor terrain against superior numbers. It seems to me that the Russians may not have been able to defeat the Austro-Hungarians so quickly or so easily.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
15,559
SoCal
#7
Mhmm. I think that if the battle of Tannenberg had been a decisive Russian victory, they could have well encircled the VIII Army and destroyed it, resulting in at least the loss of ~150'000 men and East-Prussia. Plus, I think it would have probably resulted in a Russian able to move into Prussia itself, possibly through Stettin/Pomerania and force a victory. That does, however, assume that the Russian I and II army would have taken advantage of the mayhem caused by their victory and moved on (The plan originally was to move through that area). Sometimes the allied armies, especially the British, failed to take advantage of.

Austria-Hungary was a joke at the time, having repeatedly lost again the serbian army (a vastly inferior army in numbers and weaponry). With Germany out of the war, Russia could have easily defeated the Austro-Hungarians. Especially if the same scenario developpes wherein the Austro-Hungarian lunch countless offensive in attempts to take bake Premysil Fortress. The Russian in real life almost broke through, and only with the intervention of the German did they get stopped. Something that would not have happened in this scenario.

It is also likely that the Ottomans never joins World War I following Germany's defeat in August 1914 following Tannenberg (they joined in November 1914). Same with Bulgaria.

That's effectively the only scenario I can think of that would legitimately have ended world war I early. At least, not if we include the possibility of an "insane" victory by the French in early 1914 wherein they are able to open up a huge gap in German defences and enter Germany proper. But that, I find, is unlikely as the German army, at the onset of the war, was superior to that of the French - in addition, that the Germans had placed everything they could on an early knock-out of France. Meaning France would have to defeat the majority of the cream of the German army, then defeat all other resistance whilst defending from a well-executed German attack.
A Russian victory at Tannenberg is very unlikely due to the lack of coordination among their generals and also the fact that the Russian military sent messages on unencrypted wires. Plus, even if Russia managed to win a miraculous victory at Tannenberg, wouldn't Germany still be able to hold the Russians off at the Vistula?
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
15,559
SoCal
#8
That's possible Pugsville. But I do not see the Russians being able to break through the Carpathian mountains and then force the Austro-Hungarians into defeat.

The Austro-Hungarian main problem was offensives, which it regularly failed to achieve to a capable level or comparable level to that of the Germans. However, they did prove themselves very well, especially against the Italians, to defend themselves even in poor terrain against superior numbers. It seems to me that the Russians may not have been able to defeat the Austro-Hungarians so quickly or so easily.
Yeah, getting through the Carpathians would have definitely been a challenge--and successfully and quickly taking both Budapest and Vienna would have been an even bigger challenge.
 
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Mar 2019
53
Victoria, Australia
#9
A Russian victory at Tannenberg is very unlikely due to the lack of coordination among their generals and also the fact that the Russian military sent messages on unencrypted wires. Plus, even if Russia managed to win a miraculous victory at Tannenberg, wouldn't Germany still be able to hold the Russians off at the Vistula?
Well, we are talking of an "if" scenario. So a Russian victory at Tannenberg would necessarily have demanded better coordination and possibly encrypted messages and so on. Alternatively, it could simply be a result of a German mistake.

So in short, yes, I think it is possible. Certainly assuming that a few decisions where made differently, then yes.

As for breaking through the Vistula. I think it is possible. Especially if they do capture the VIII army or they might be able to make it to the Vistula and the defensive line there before it can be fully reinforced.

As I said. This victory requires the russians to proceed immediately to the Vistula and attack before the German can adequately redeploy their troops (they would need to take them from central lines in Poland or from the western front. Either scenario would take some time given the terrain and the railways -- there was no easy railway at the time from the Central front to the northern one near Danzig. They would have the go back to Berlin or nearby, then go north).
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
15,559
SoCal
#10
Well, we are talking of an "if" scenario. So a Russian victory at Tannenberg would necessarily have demanded better coordination and possibly encrypted messages and so on. Alternatively, it could simply be a result of a German mistake.

So in short, yes, I think it is possible. Certainly assuming that a few decisions where made differently, then yes.

As for breaking through the Vistula. I think it is possible. Especially if they do capture the VIII army or they might be able to make it to the Vistula and the defensive line there before it can be fully reinforced.

As I said. This victory requires the russians to proceed immediately to the Vistula and attack before the German can adequately redeploy their troops (they would need to take them from central lines in Poland or from the western front. Either scenario would take some time given the terrain and the railways -- there was no easy railway at the time from the Central front to the northern one near Danzig. They would have the go back to Berlin or nearby, then go north).
If Russia can advance beyond the Vistula, can it also advance beyond the Oder--or would logistics not allow that?