Would an alliance of Britain, France, Austria-Hungary, and Poland have been enough to stop Nazi Germany?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
16,687
SoCal
#1
If Austria-Hungary would have survived WWI as a result of making a separate peace early enough (even if this separate peace would have resulted in German occupation of A-H, possible German attempts at regime change in A-H, et cetera), would an alliance of Britain, France, Austria-Hungary (which would have been a bit smaller in size due to losing Galicia, some or all of Transylvania, Vojvodina, Bosnia, and probably Dalmatia as well), and Poland have been enough to stop Nazi Germany in the late 1930s?

A bonus of this alliance would be that Britain and France could send supplies by ship to A-H ports--which could then be put on trains and sent to Poland using A-H's railroads.

Any thoughts on this?
 
Jul 2018
497
Hong Kong
#2
No, even such an alliance had been forged, it doesn't mean those countries would unanimously adopt the "hardlined stance" towards Germany. And due to split of benefits, the alliance might end up on paper and not operating.

The great game of diplomacy is largely based on the "balance of power". What would they gain if they focus so much on antagonizing with Germany ? Even such an alliance had been forged, it was more likely a "deterrent force", rather than the real military alliance taking concrete actions in halting or undermining Nazis — such provoking act risk another costly great European War.

Czechoslovakia once had Britain, France, Italy and the Soviet Union as his allies, but none of them proved useful in against Nazi Germany. Treaties and alliance meant nothing if the implementation of terms violate those signatory states' essential benefit — the international situation is always in complexity and unpredictable. Just think that setting up a powerful alliance would be able to do anything at your will completely ignores the factor of "mankind" — those allied states are not simply a puppet under manipulation — think about how Belgium refused Britain and France to garrison troops in his territories even in early AD 1940 seriously obstructed the plan of strategic defense. Alliance is one thing, co-operation and practicality are another things.
 
Likes: Futurist

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
16,687
SoCal
#3
A-H might be harder for Britain and France to abandon in comparison to Czechoslovakia due to A-H's much larger size/population, though.
 
Oct 2015
735
Virginia
#4
There were far too many conflicts and disparate national objectives. Even Poland and Czechoslovakia could not act in common in 1938 because of the rivalry over Teschen.
 
Likes: Futurist

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,642
Dispargum
#5
1. So Germany does not annex Austria in 1938. There is no sequence of concessions from the Rhineland through Munich to bolster Hitler's confidence and get the Allies into the habit of giving up before the fighting even starts.
2. When does Hitler make his move? 1938? Against who? Both Austria and Czechoslovakia at the same time?
3. The problem with such overwhelming numbers surrounding Germany is that it feeds Hitler's paranoia and persecution complex. It would be very easy for him to sell the German people on the argument that the whole world was out to get Germany.
4. There will also be division of effort among the Allies and difficulty in coordinating their attacks. Germany has the advantage of interior lines. Just as it was difficult for the Western Allies to later coordinate their attacks with the Soviets, Britain/France would find it difficult to coordinate with Poland. I suspect Poland has little ability to project power beyond its own borders. A-H may have a similar problem. Which means that as long as Germany does not invade these countries, they can pretty much ignore them while Germany knocks out France first then comes back to clean up Poland and A-H later.
5. The biggest problem is still Britain's and France's reluctance and unpreparedness to fight as early as 1938. Number of infantry divisions in the coalition mean nothing without the will to use them.
6. Germany could easily neutralize Poland by allying with the Soviets who want Eastern Poland anyway. Poland will not invade Germany if they have to watch their eastern border.
 
Likes: Futurist
Jul 2018
497
Hong Kong
#6
A-H might be harder for Britain and France to abandon in comparison to Czechoslovakia due to A-H's much larger size/population, though.
You utterly simplified the great game of diplomacy — every country has their own agenda and goal, and there're probably at least two or three major factions within these countries in exerting influence on foreign affair, and these countries might change their policies constantly due to various situation for fitting their interest.

It's not like playing against AI in single-player video game, your opponents (whether allies, potential foes or enemies) are the "living being" with brains like you. Remember this.

And most importantly, what would they gain after they weaken or even destroy Nazi Germany ? If other powers rather than self-country will benefit much and perhaps grow even being your stronger threat, what's the meaning of such sort of intensifing strangle against Germany ?
 
Last edited:
Likes: Futurist

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
16,687
SoCal
#7
You utterly simplified the great game of diplomacy — every country has their own agenda and goal, and there're probably at least two or three major factions within these countries in exerting influence on foreign affair, and these countries might change their policies constantly due to various situation for fitting their interest.

It's not like playing against AI in single-player video game, your opponents (whether allies, potential foes or enemies) are the "living being" with brains like you. Remember this.

And most importantly, what would they gain after they weaken or even destroy Nazi Germany ? If other powers rather than self-country will benefit much and perhaps grow even being your stronger threat, what's the meaning of such sort of intensifing strangle against Germany ?
Are you asking what Britain and France would gain from a defeat of Nazi Germany or what A-H and/or Poland would gain from a defeat of Nazi Germany?

1. So Germany does not annex Austria in 1938. There is no sequence of concessions from the Rhineland through Munich to bolster Hitler's confidence and get the Allies into the habit of giving up before the fighting even starts.
2. When does Hitler make his move? 1938? Against who? Both Austria and Czechoslovakia at the same time?
3. The problem with such overwhelming numbers surrounding Germany is that it feeds Hitler's paranoia and persecution complex. It would be very easy for him to sell the German people on the argument that the whole world was out to get Germany.
4. There will also be division of effort among the Allies and difficulty in coordinating their attacks. Germany has the advantage of interior lines. Just as it was difficult for the Western Allies to later coordinate their attacks with the Soviets, Britain/France would find it difficult to coordinate with Poland. I suspect Poland has little ability to project power beyond its own borders. A-H may have a similar problem. Which means that as long as Germany does not invade these countries, they can pretty much ignore them while Germany knocks out France first then comes back to clean up Poland and A-H later.
5. The biggest problem is still Britain's and France's reluctance and unpreparedness to fight as early as 1938. Number of infantry divisions in the coalition mean nothing without the will to use them.
6. Germany could easily neutralize Poland by allying with the Soviets who want Eastern Poland anyway. Poland will not invade Germany if they have to watch their eastern border.
Hitler didn't actually want to go to war with France--did he?
 
Oct 2015
735
Virginia
#9
But what on earth would hold the peoples of a rump Austria-Hungary together? They were deeply divided ethnically, linguistically and culturally. Hungary only accepted its association with Austria in the 19th century because of the dynastic union and to get Austrian help in suppressing Romanian and Polish minorities. The Hapsburgs wanted Hungarian help in keeping down the nationalistic ambitions of the Italians, Slavs and Croats. Elements among the Croats and Bosnians et al probably wanted to keep free of the Serbs.

The Hapsburg State was an anachronism and was doomed by the power of the idea of NATIONALISM (which is still strong: vid Brexit, ex-Yugoslavia, Scottish independence, immigration problems etc). There were some security and economic benefits to a Danubian state, but the main thing that held the old Empire together was suppression of non-Austrian and Hungarian Nationalities. Strip these away (along with the dynasty) and there is no reason for a union strong enough to balance the separate and disparate Nationalistic ambitions of Austria and Hungary.

And(!) All that aside (to argue in the alternative) why would a theoretical Austro-Hungarian state oppose German ambitions in 1938 or 39? Neither the Austrians nor Hungarians had any love for the Poles, Czechs or Rumanians, all of whom had (or would have) gained territory from them after world war 1; and the Austrians felt a greater affinity for Germany than for the democracies. Such a state was more likely to gain territorially by friendship with Germany than by opposition.
 
Last edited:
Likes: Futurist
Feb 2019
318
Pennsylvania, US
#10
You utterly simplified the great game of diplomacy — every country has their own agenda and goal, and there're probably at least two or three major factions within these countries in exerting influence on foreign affair, and these countries might change their policies constantly due to various situation for fitting their interest.

It's not like playing against AI in single-player video game, your opponents (whether allies, potential foes or enemies) are the "living being" with brains like you. Remember this.

And most importantly, what would they gain after they weaken or even destroy Nazi Germany ? If other powers rather than self-country will benefit much and perhaps grow even being your stronger threat, what's the meaning of such sort of intensifing strangle against Germany ?
I love this response. I also feel like the same reasoning could be applied to anytime a person narrows a differing vantage point to fit the "good vs. bad" mold, when things really are in flux to a large degree... and the influences (sometimes as little as a person's individual "wiring" or experiences that shape responses to stimuli) on the situation are multi-faceted to a level where they feel unpredictable at times.

Such a good statement - sorry to get a bit off topic.
 
Likes: Futurist

Similar History Discussions