If Germany had won World War I

April 21st, 2010  

Topic: If Germany had won World War I

Let’s assume that Germany had won World War I, what would the world have looked like

If we take into account that the French and British also were exhausted, strained and at the breaking point, then German victory was actually a possibility.

The Germans was planning on an autumn invasion in 1918, but by then the Empire was under serious internal pressure. If the invasion had been a success, that might have broken Britain or France’s back.

What about the US, in the war by then, providing lots of manpower and resources that the Germans couldn’t match. Well, yes but Russia was out of the war by then and the German divisions was not transferred to the Western front before the war ended. If so, they might have had the manpower they needed, even with the US in the war.

If Germany had won, then what..?

It's original goal had been to vault itself onto the world stage as a major power. Most likely, Germany would have wanted to increase colonial possessions in Africa and Asia. Germany might also have made the same demands on Britain that the British would make on Germany, that being unrestricted access to world waterways for their navy, maybe even trying to force the British to dismantle part of their fleet.

What about Germany´s allies..?

Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire would still have fallen, I think. The Turkish had already lost control of most of their former territories by 1918, and even most Turks wanted the Empire dead. Also, by 1918, many nations within Austria-Hungary had already declared their independence. Most likely the Germans would have tried to ensure these governments remained friendly.

Would the Nazis have ever come to power if Germany had won WW1?

There were already many groups within the Empire pushing for revolt, and some provinces trying to break away. German victory might not have stopped this. Nor would it have stopped the severe economic depression that came in the next decades. Just look at Italy, victorious in WW1, still saw the onset of Facism and Mussolini.

So something similar to the Nazi party could have eventually come to power, even if it wasn't led by Adolf Hitler.

What do you think…?
April 21st, 2010  
Germany would have had the same problem in 1918 that the French had 100 years previous (well a bit more) and still had 30 years later in WW2, until it could have matched the Royal Navy at sea it was always going to be held in check as a continental power only.

Until such times as the Royal Navy was neutralised (which was light years from happening) Britain would never have simply surrendered I think a negotiated peace would have been possible in 1918-19 that was more favourable to Germany than actually happened but outside that I can't see much change, I think it more likely that the best Germany could have hoped for was a return to the start lines on the Western front and perhaps the planned French chunks of Russian territory (as Western allies were already engaged with the Bolsheviks at the time and had plans for French/British zones).

As far as the Nazi's and WW2 went had Hitler survived the extended war he probably would have retired from the army as a corporal and been forgotten as without the unrest and ill feeling gained from the Treaty of Versailles there would have been nothing for the Nazis to garner appeal from.
April 21st, 2010  
Originally Posted by MontyB
As far as the Nazi's and WW2 went had Hitler survived the extended war he probably would have retired from the army as a corporal and been forgotten as without the unrest and ill feeling gained from the Treaty of Versailles there would have been nothing for the Nazis to garner appeal from.
All the bad things which happened in Germany in the 1920s are conventionally blamed on the harsh terms of the Versailles treaty. However, the practical effect of these terms was really very limited. The diplomatic disabilities on Germany were eliminated by the Locarno Pact of 1925. The great Weimar inflation, which was engineered by the government to defeat French attempts to extract reparations, was ended in 1923.

I would go so far as to say this: something very like the Nazi Party would still have come to power in Germany, even if that country had won the First World War.

Weimar culture would have happened even if there had been no Weimar Republic, since all the major themes of the Weimar period, the new art and revolutionary politics and sexual liberation, all began before the war. These things were simply extensions of the trends that had dominated German culture for a generation. The Nazi Party was other things besides a right wing populist group with a penchant for snazzy uniforms. It was a millenarian movement. Hitler was only secondarily interested in revenge for the First World War; his primary goal had always been geopolitical expansion into Eastern Europe and western Asia. This would have given Germany the Lebensraum to become a world power. His ideas on the subject were perfectly coherent, and not original with him: they were almost truisms. There is no reason to think that the heirs of a German victory in 1918 (or 1919, or 1920) would have been less likely to pursue these objectives.

I think that the big difference would have been that Germany would been immensely stronger and more competent by the late 1930s than it was in the history we know.
April 21st, 2010  
I don't agree because either:
A: The depression would have lowered Germany's economy just as it did everyone elses.
B: Had there been no depression everyone else's economy would have been just as high.

In either instance all countries would have had to rebuild after WW1 and Britain would still have been the worlds foremost maritime power.

I will be honest here and say that I do not believe Germany could have won WW1 I certainly think they could have defeated France and Britain on the Continent but like Napoleon the Kaiser would have been trapped on the Continent with Britain controlling the seas and as such German industrial capacity.

I think the best outcome for Germany would have been a repeat of the 1870-71 Franco-Prussian war outside that defeat was the only outcome given the array and mass of forces opposed to them.
April 21st, 2010  
Well; regarding the depression.

In November 1923, a currency reform was undertaken. A new bank, the Rentenbank, was created to issue a new currency--the Rentenmark. This money was exchangeable for bonds supposedly backed up by land and industrial plant A total of 2.4 billion Rentenmarks was created, and each Rentenmark was valued at one trillion old paper marks. From that moment on the depreciation stopped--the Rentenmarks held their value; even the old paper marks held stable. Inflation ceased.

In August 1924 the reform was completed by introduction of a new Reichsmark, equal in value to the Rentenmark. The Reichsmark has a 30% gold backing. It was not redeemable in gold, but the government undertook to support it by buying in the foreign exchange markets as necessary. Drastic new taxes were imposed, and with the inflation ended, tax receipts increased impressively. In 1924-1925 the government had a surplus.

The only major wartime confrontation between the Royal Navy and the German High Seas Fleet was The Battle of Jutland (known as the Battle of Skagerrak in Germany),on 31st May 1916. The British lost three battlecruisers, three cruisers, eight destroyers and suffered 6,100 casualties; the Germans lost one battleship, one battlecruiser. Four cruisers and five destroyers, with 2,550 casualties. The Royal Navy was shocked by the outcome considering that it clearly outnumbered German forces. A heavy defeat for the British could quite easily result in Britain being knocked out of the war.

Well; at least we can agree that we disagree.

Cheers mate
April 21st, 2010  
Regarding the Royal Navy I will disagree again as even had the British lost in a major naval battle in the North Sea it could still replace its losses from the various fleets it had around the world where as Germany could not.

The battle of Jutland was a tactical loss for the British but it could easily have been a crushing defeat for the Germans and they knew it which is a reason the German High Seas Fleet never put to sea again.

Regarding losses yes the British did lose more ships but many German ships were badly damaged and not capable of putting to sea to exploit any gains made over the Royal Navy at the time so given the situation after Jutland it was a strategic victory for the British as they still had their battleships at sea and in full operational readiness.
April 22nd, 2010  
The British navy had the key task of blockading Germany so that attrition could eventually wreack its havoc on the German ability to produce enough for the war effort. If Jellico followed too aggressive a policy and lost too many ships, the ability of the British navy to perform this task could be compromised.
April 22nd, 2010  
Yes but what I am saying is that the Royal Navy was so much bigger than the German High Seas Fleet (approximately 10 times the size) that it could sustain and replace its losses where as Germany did not have that capacity so no matter what the outcome of the battle for France Britain was secure as an island and could still strike back elsewhere (as I have mentioned there were British, French and American troops in Russia).

This is not a matter of quality in troops, material or technology as German equipment and training was at least as good as its Allied equivalent it is simply a case of resources, the Allies had the resources and Germany did not.

Anyway back to the original topic I guess, had Germany won WW1 it is unlikely Hitler would have achieved power as that still would have rested in the German monarchy and without the angst of Versailles there would have been nothing for the Nazi's to use as a driving force to power.
April 22nd, 2010  
But while you have a good point, I'm not certain the rise of Hitler would have been prevented. Bear in mind that the key factor which propelled the Nazis to power was the depression. I suspect that even if the German monarchy was somewhat strengthened by victory, the depression could have led to a revolutionary situation and Hitler could have capitalized on that to rise to power. This could have been likely if the monarchy fell by 1931-33 and there was a good opportunity for someone to rally the rightist forces to oppose the "Bolsheviks."
April 23rd, 2010  
Korean Seaboy
The Nazis couldn't have risen because their rise were primarily built on the hatred of the Versailles Treaty and the humilitation the German people faced.

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