What is the largest that Germany can realistically become?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
16,869
SoCal
#1
What is the largest size that a non-Nazi Germany can realistically become? (I'm specifically excluding the Nazis here given their propensity to engage in genocide, mass murder, and mass ethnic cleansing/mass expulsions.)

Note: I am excluding German puppet states from my calculation here. Rather, I am only talking about direct German annexations here. Also, I am obviously thinking of granting German citizenship to all of the residents of the annexed territories if they are not expelled and not move away from these territories.

Anyway, here are my own thoughts on this:

Germany can try annexing more French territory in either 1871 or in the 1910s if it manages to win WWI in the West. Specifically, I am thinking of Belfort and the rest of Lorraine here--including iron ore-rich Briey and Longwy. I also suppose that Germany could try annexing parts of Belgium--such as the Liege region--though this might be harder for Germany to get away with.

In the East, Germany can probably outright annex the Polish Border Strip, the Baltic states, and Belarus if it wants to get extremely ambitious. Unlike Ukraine and the rest of Poland, these territories have a low population density and thus could theoretically be annexed by an uber-expansionist Germany even if settling Germans in these territories afterwards is going to be extremely difficult (of course, this could change if Germany is able to keep control of these territories for hundreds of years, but what are the odds of a non-Nazi Germany actually successfully pulling this off?).

Also, if Austria-Hungary still implodes after the end of World War I and Germany's leadership isn't too afraid of putting a lot of additional Catholics into their empire, Germany can probably annex German Austria, the Sudetenland, Czechia, the Burgenland, Pressburg (Bratislava), and Slovenia.

Anyway, I think that this is it. I honestly don't see additional German territorial expansion unless Germany is outright willing to annex its colonies--and even then, Namibia is probably the only German colony with a sufficiently small population for Germany to actually successfully pull this off.

What are your thoughts on this?
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
8,676
#3
World War One is too late. Nationalists atitudes run pretty deep by 1914. Almost no annexation after ww1 is going to stick. Certinaly not German ones. Diplomatically/governance skills of non German areas teh German Empire was without a clue heavy handed stumblers.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
16,869
SoCal
#4
World War One is too late. Nationalists atitudes run pretty deep by 1914. Almost no annexation after ww1 is going to stick. Certinaly not German ones. Diplomatically/governance skills of non German areas teh German Empire was without a clue heavy handed stumblers.
What about a more tolerant minorities policy?

Also, it's interesting that a significant number of Poles moved to the Ruhr and stayed there to the present-day in spite of the Polonophobia that previously existed in Germany.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
8,676
#5
What about a more tolerant minorities policy?

Also, it's interesting that a significant number of Poles moved to the Ruhr and stayed there to the present-day in spite of the Polonophobia that previously existed in Germany.
How would such a policy come about? The powers in control of Germany were simply not going to go there.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
16,869
SoCal
#7
Also, I want to make a point here--in spite of its inefficient economic system, the Soviet Union was able to hold onto its Eastern European empire until 1989 and might have been capable of doing so longer if it hasn't lost the political will to maintain control of Eastern Europe. Thus, why couldn't even a ham-fisted Imperial Germany have done the same thing?
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
16,869
SoCal
#9
Simply not that powerful, nor that understanding about social and cultural change.

The factors are pretty deep seated.,
What about the German Reichstag if the German Kaiser will push to give them more power and if Germany's electoral laws are reformed in order to make them fairer?
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
2,943
Las Vegas, NV USA
#10
Drang nach Osten (Push to the East) was the German policy in 1914 . No longer was Bismarck's policy of a "sated" Germany in effect. In fact the Kaiser's power ended in 1914. The General Staff (dominated by Hindenburg and Ludendorff by September) took over and told him to go home and stay there until called for. When Germany made peace with Russia in January, 1918 it gained control of Poland, the Baltic states and effectively of the the Ukraine. I would guess that the Baltic States, adjacent to East Prussia, would be annexed. Poland and Ukraine would become vassal states. In the west the annexations specified in the September Program would occur and all Europe would become part of a customs union dominated by Germany.

Postwar the Kaiser would remain reduced to a figurehead and H&L would choose the chancellor. The structure of a democracy would therefore exist, but General Staff would have ultimate control of the country for some time.
 

Similar History Discussions