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  #101  
Old October 12th, 2011, 04:17 PM
abc123 abc123 is offline
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Nothing specific. The vote on war was already very close OTL. The fact that Hitler is no longer alive, a bit more ascertive Mannerheim and Paasikivi cause defence minister and interior minister to reconsider. The vote could have gone either way and ITTL it does.
Too bad. I would like to see British, French and German intervention on Finnish side in Winter war.
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  #102  
Old October 12th, 2011, 07:21 PM
Eurofed Eurofed is offline
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Interesting. It seems like Goering going to get some fairly good press in the West. This may only help to bring his foreign policy platform to fulfillment. The coming purge of the SS might influence this but as long as Nazi hardliners get to be the victims it is not likely going to be bad publicity.

Finnish submission to Soviet demands is another interesting butterfly. No Winter War means that the flaws of the Red Army that it revealed shall remain unknown and uncorrected, but the Soviet military shall be thought of as more powerful than it actually is.

Stalin has peacefully won what IOTL took a war to accomplish, a receipt for greater boldness and confidence. If I understand it correcty, the USSR already moved to occupy the Baltic countries (the update made reference to Latvia and Estonia, I'd expect Lithuania too gets swallowed, since after the post-Poland revision of the M-R Pact it was included in the Soviet sphere of influence).

I'd therefore expect that Stalin turns soon to acquire the other gains awarded him by the M-R Pact. As it concerns Finland, before the fiasco of early Winter War, the original Soviet objective was occupation and annexation or Sovietization of the country. So it is actually quite possible that despite Finnish acquiescence to initial Soviet demands, the USSR actually still tries to escalate the crisis and occupy Finland with one pretext or another.

The other possible objective is Bessarabia, and Stalin may soon send an ultimatum to Romania for it if he leaves cowed Finland alone. There was an Entente guarantee on Romania, and Germany is dependent on its oil (less so after the peace, of course), but neither side can do much to defend Romania against the Soviets till the peace treaty is finalized. It might be an interesting butterfly if Finland does not fight, but Romania does.

Last edited by Eurofed; October 12th, 2011 at 08:32 PM..
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  #103  
Old October 12th, 2011, 07:54 PM
DrakonFin DrakonFin is offline
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Stalin has peacefully won what IOTL took a war to accomplish, a receipt for greater boldness and confidence..
Well, not quite. The border changes are much smaller than what the OTL Moscow Treaty imposed on Finland. Assuming the Soviet demands mirror those of November 1940 IOTL, Viipuri and much of the northern Isthmus are retained, as are parts of Salla-Kuusamo and a part of Petsamo. Finland even keeps the bigger part of the Mannerheim Line. And possibly gains new territory in Repola and Porajärvi.

A bigger problem is the possible hit Finnish national morale has taken. After the Winter War most people realized that the heavy peace had to be made to retain independence, now many will think that the government just chickened out, lost face and betrayed the people. The parliament as well as popular opinion were heavily against accepting the Soviet demands.


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I'd therefore expect that Stalin turns soon to acuqire the other gains awarded him by the M-R Pact. As it concerns Finland, before the fiasco of early Winter War, the original Soviet objective was occupation and annexation or Sovietization of the country. So it is actually quite possible that despite Finnish acquiescence, the USSR actually tries to occupy Finland with one pretext or another.
I have no doubt that Stalin would use the same playbook as against the Baltic states, first slowly eroding the subject state's sovereignty and then occupying the demoralised country. Winter War was a massively unifying event, and without that the Finnish government has a huge task in maintaining national cohesion and the integrity of the armed forces as Stalin begins to turn the vise. Due to the territorial losses, Cajander's government must go in December 1939, even if for a different reason than IOTL. President Kallio himself might succumb to his health problems earlier than IOTL, and with that also a change in presidency might be in order in early-to-middle 1940. Uncertainty all around.

Finland would look to Germany for help. And Sweden, of course, even if to no avail. Like during OTL's Interim Peace, the Finnish government will feverishly buy any weapons from anyone willing to sell them. Some of these deals would be made even as the negotiations with the Soviets were still ongoing, for example Italy would most likely sell planes to Finland regardless of the war. IOTL, Hitler blocked their transport through Germany.

What would Göring do with Finland? IOTL, he acted as one of the first avatars of future German help, already during the Winter War.
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Last edited by DrakonFin; October 12th, 2011 at 08:02 PM..
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  #104  
Old October 12th, 2011, 08:47 PM
Eurofed Eurofed is offline
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Well, Goering is going to have to lay low with Stalin and stick to the M-R Pact as long as the war with the Entente continues and some time afterwards. As soon as a peace treaty can be signed, we may expect him to gradualy switch back to anti-Communism and Soviet containtment, the sooner and more decisively the more and swifter he can entrench a detente with the West. He did fear a war with the USSR as much as he did the one with the Entente, so he would not seek a war with the Soviets unless he has secured an alliance with Britain and France.

Therefore, it much depends on how quickly Germany and the Entente can go back to friendly terms. I dunno whether in the near future Stalin is going to focus on applying the methods used on the Baltics to Finland, turn his attention to Romania, or try and do both at the same time. We may expect that the swifter the Entente and the Germans can disentangle from theri clash, they can turn their energies back to contain Soviet expansionism, which is going to stiffen the spine of and provide some help to the Finns and the Romanians at least somewhat.
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  #105  
Old October 13th, 2011, 12:54 PM
Shaby Shaby is offline
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November 18th, 1118, Rome, Pallazio Il Duce

Mussolini was sitting in his spacious office, lost in thought. 'It seems that this entire war is winding down. Just as well, considering the report Badoglio gave me on the 'mighty machine of war' he presents me on paper. All I can see here is his wishful thinking!' he thought. Grabbing the red pen, he scribbled '200.000 regular troops?!?! Unacceptable' on the margins of the report. After careful study of the report he realised that Italian Army was not ready for war. They lacked almost all forms of modern equipment. The artillery has barely moved away from the Great War technology. Airforce was even worse. 'At this time and age we are condemned to using biplane fighters? Even Poland was able to field more modern airforce.' raged Mussolini inwardly. The only area he could be reasonably happy with was Regia Marina. The navy boasted 6 capital ships, of which 4 were among most modern in the World. In addition 19 cruisers, 59 destroyers and more than 100 submarines could be counted on. However impressive, these numbers were almost totally overwhelmed by French and British Mediterranian fleets. Also, Italy lacked any aircraft carriers, of which one was under construction. Position of Italy was exasperated further by the fact that sea was its natural medium of attack and defense. Numerous ports and entire coast of Italian penninsula were at once her strength and weakness. They could base their navy almost anywhere down the length of Italian boot, but also enemy might strike at any point outnumbering anything Italy could put to sea. If Britain and France were both to join the war against Italy, it would be mad to try anything against them. Further complication for Italian situation was its ambiguous relation with Germany. While Hitler was at helm, Mussolini could rely that Germany was Italian friend. Even then, he was frequently kept in dark as to the real intentions of his northern neighbour. He played his part in capture of Austria, feeling indebted for support received during the Ethiopian crisis. He helped settle Czech affair peacefully. His attempts to mediate Polish affairs were brushed off by Hitler and Allies alike. German request to join the war in 1939 caught him entirely by surprise. After all the discussions with his fellow dictator, during which war was planned for 1942, Hitler just blundered into the war.

The day he was killed during that foolish ceremony, Mussolini was still angry with him. He allowed his rage to vent aloud to Ciano and Badoglio. He ordered mobilization without really knowing what to do or whom to attack. Now, having seen the state of Italian forces he was sure that no action from Italy will come this year. Instead, he will try to improve Italian forces and prepare the invasion of Yugoslavia on spring. The country to his east was ripe for picking. It was a conglomerate of nationalities under domination of Serbia. Though friendly with French, it was by no means guaranteed by them or Britain. Mussolini had the means to destabilize the country from within and to break it up from outside. He decided to send Ciano to Hungary to try and get their help to dismember the country. Bulgaria was one of the other candidates whose help Italy could enlist. Both countries fostered teritorial ambitions toward Yugoslavia, had reasonably strong military and could be expected to cooperate with Italy given some diplomatic foreplay. Italy herself had established bridgeheads on the coast, as cities of Fiume and Zara belonged to Italy giving Italian forces two supply ports for advances up and down the coast, as well in hinterland. The only problem with the plan, aside the fact that Yugoslavia having military force large enough to present a significant challenge in the difficult terrain (a problem Mussolini hoped to address by fostering internal division), was that France and Britain seemed to be closing down their hostilities with Germany. If the war on the west is over, they would have ample time and forces to take care with any unwanted disturbance in Europe. Mussolini hoped that internal unrest might disuade them from interfering in the conflict, presented to them as indigenous. Anyway, as decision time was long and before the commiting to the policy irretriveably there were many bridges to be crossed, Mussolini decided to take chances and began writing memos to his subordinates immediately. Once preparations were complete, he will stop and carefully reconsider the idea again. In the meantime he will follow aged maxima of Romans "Divide et Impera."
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Last edited by Shaby; October 14th, 2011 at 08:35 AM.. Reason: The date was wrong, 17th instead of 18th
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  #106  
Old October 13th, 2011, 01:40 PM
abc123 abc123 is offline
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the fact that Yugoslavia had large and well equipped military
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  #107  
Old October 13th, 2011, 01:45 PM
Shaby Shaby is offline
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Relative to Italy, of course. In absolute terms I agree.
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  #108  
Old October 13th, 2011, 01:50 PM
abc123 abc123 is offline
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Relative to Italy, of course. In absolute terms I agree.
Not even that. Even Italian Army was better equipped than Yugoslavian.
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  #109  
Old October 13th, 2011, 02:02 PM
Shaby Shaby is offline
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OK. Changed to better reflect reality. I choose somewhat clumsy way to convey my thoughts.
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  #110  
Old October 13th, 2011, 05:14 PM
Eurofed Eurofed is offline
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Yes, given the new international situation, Yugoslavia is pretty much the only way Mussolini can do some expansion. Neither Goering nor the Entente are going to mind much. And for various reasons (the is the war the Italian army has been preparing for a long time; no logistic bottleneck and strategic contiguity to Italy; no British support; Hungarian and Bulgarian intervention) Italy is going to fare much better in this war than in OTL Greece.
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  #111  
Old October 13th, 2011, 05:46 PM
abc123 abc123 is offline
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Yes, given the new international situation, Yugoslavia is pretty much the only way Mussolini can do some expansion. Neither Goering nor the Entente are going to mind much. And for various reasons (the is the war the Italian army has been preparing for a long time; no logistic bottleneck and strategic contiguity to Italy; no British support; Hungarian and Bulgarian intervention) Italy is going to fare much better in this war than in OTL Greece.
I agree. Only, Mussolini's behaviour here seems to me as too prudent and calculated....
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  #112  
Old October 13th, 2011, 06:12 PM
Eurofed Eurofed is offline
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I agree. Only, Mussolini's behaviour here seems to me as too prudent and calculated....
Perhaps because he feels he's treading in unknown waters.
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  #113  
Old October 13th, 2011, 11:55 PM
Shaby Shaby is offline
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I agree. Only, Mussolini's behaviour here seems to me as too prudent and calculated....
Well it is not like he has a big brother northward to cover for his mistakes, and there if war on the west winds down, he must worry about France and Britain. They can squish Italy like a bug if only they decide to.
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  #114  
Old October 14th, 2011, 12:17 PM
Shaby Shaby is offline
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November 18th, 2025, Berlin Anhalter Bahnhof

Konstantin von Neurath got off the train that brought him from Prague to Berlin. That morning he received an order to report to Reichspraesident next morning. He hastily organized the trip, and eight hours after boarding train he arrived to Berlin. The trip, which normally took 6 hours at most was delayed by numerous troop transports as train approached Berlin. Having finally arrived and exhausted by trip, he proceded to the Kaiserhof, to get a good night sleep. As one of the most capable diplomats in Germany, Neurath had a general idea why he was invited to Berlin in such haste. He knew that negotiations were about to start and he guessed he'd have prominent role in the peace process. Neurath, through his contacts at foreing ministry has gathered that, after disposing of Ribbentrop few days earlier, Goering took over Foreign affairs ministry personally.

November 19th, 0900

Neurath came to the office of the Praesident. The guards inspected him and his briefcase rather thoroughly and he was allowed to proceed inside. Goering greeted him cordially "Good morning Herr Neurath. I hope you were able to catch some rest." Neurath nodded, saying "Yes herr Prasident, I caught some sleep. Berlin is a lot more peaceful than Prague in the last couple of days." "I heard about the demonstrations, herr Neurath. Good job in dispersing the crowd. I just hope you took precautions to stop the news spreading to the outside world. It would be embarassing if information on this leaked out at this moment." observed Goering and continued "I presume you guess the reason I invited you over. As you know, I have decided to try and end this conflict in diplomatic manner. We are alone here--- Oh, don't pay attention to Konrad. Nothing we say will get out of this room. We will talk openly and as frankly as possible. You must know as much as I do in order to negotiate successfuly. My conclusion after reviewing entire situation is that present war exposes our country to an extreme danger. On the battlefield our forces face numerically equal if not somewhat superior forces. Technologically we are more or less on equal terms with the enemy. We were able to overcome Poland, but I am afraid this success is more due to Polish failings than our own prowess. After action report I received from General staff paint a bleak image in some aspects of our forces. I am not at all confident in the posibility of overcoming French and English forces. However, our greatest failing so far is on economic front. Germany is simply not able to undertake a prolonged, large scale war which is necessarry to defeat French army. Late Fuehrer never understood economic facts, although I tried to convey to him that waiting just a few years would enable us to confidently tackle any power in Europe. Fortunately, it seems our enemies are just as unwilling to fight us and we have started negotiations. Predictably, their starting terms are harsh, but not on the scale of November 1918. I have decided to appoint you as German Plenipotentiary at the Peace convention. Next session is in two days, and in this time you are to pick your staff. I expect you to be ready to leave to The Hague early on the 20th. I will authorize you to negotiate in the name of Greater German Reich. You must make it clear that maximum concessions we will accept is creation of independent Poland, demilitarized zone up to 5 kilometers wide on both sides of Franco-German frontier. Any reduction of Wehrmacht, Luftwaffe or Kriegsmarine is acceptable only in case equal restrictions are enforced to English and French. We will not accept unilateral control of German armed forces. We seek recognition and guarantee of final borders of Reich by all involved powers. We will in turn sign non-agression treaties with all neighbouring countries. Do you have any questions, herr Neurath?"

Neurath was surprised with Goerings monologue. He knew that Reichs foreign policy was changing, but this... Neurath inability to make Hitler moderate his ambition was exactly the thing that caused the gap between them to rise. More compliant Ribbentrop was placed on his place, and the current disaster ensued. He immediately asked "Herr Praesident, will I have full freedom in negotiations?" "Naturally herr Neurath!" was the answer. "Well, I would like to have herr Pappen on my staff if it is possible and herr Weizsaecker as well. As for, negotiations, I cannot make any plan now, until I hear demands of the enemies. Then, we will plan our negotiation tactic." concluded Neurath. "Herr Praesident, I will need to talk to her von Welczek. I will need to gain some insight in thinking of the enemies prior to the conflagration."
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Last edited by Shaby; October 14th, 2011 at 04:41 PM.. Reason: Correction thanks to my friend
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  #115  
Old October 14th, 2011, 01:47 PM
abc123 abc123 is offline
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I will need to talk to her von Dirksen and herr Abetz. "
I wonder why he decided to speak with them. Especially with Dirksen that fooled Hitler that Britain will not declare war. I was under impression that after that Dirksen's career was effectivly over. About Abetz, I'm surprised, because Abetz was just a minor diplomatic oficial before the war, I don't see what important he can say to Neurath?
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  #116  
Old October 14th, 2011, 02:02 PM
Shaby Shaby is offline
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I wonder why he decided to speak with them. Especially with Dirksen that fooled Hitler that Britain will not declare war. I was under impression that after that Dirksen's career was effectivly over. About Abetz, I'm surprised, because Abetz was just a minor diplomatic oficial before the war, I don't see what important he can say to Neurath?
Well, Dirksen was the last German diplomat in Britain before war broke out. He was there for a year and Neurath (I figured) might want to shake out as much knowledge about it as he could. Of Abetz, well frankly, I couldn't find who replaced that guy in France after his eviction from France. Did Germany have no ambassador in France from July till war?
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  #117  
Old October 14th, 2011, 02:26 PM
abc123 abc123 is offline
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Well, Dirksen was the last German diplomat in Britain before war broke out. He was there for a year and Neurath (I figured) might want to shake out as much knowledge about it as he could. Of Abetz, well frankly, I couldn't find who replaced that guy in France after his eviction from France. Did Germany have no ambassador in France from July till war?
Try rather with this man:

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johannes_von_Welczeck

About Dirksen, I don't see why he would e a good person to ask for advice, because of his previous advice about Poland..
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  #118  
Old October 14th, 2011, 04:42 PM
Shaby Shaby is offline
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Try rather with this man:

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johannes_von_Welczeck

About Dirksen, I don't see why he would e a good person to ask for advice, because of his previous advice about Poland..
Corrected in post. Thanks a bunch.
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  #119  
Old October 14th, 2011, 07:31 PM
GamingWeasel GamingWeasel is offline
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Definitely enjoying your timeline Shaby. I find everything in it to be reasonably plausible.

The only specific thing I would take issue with is the overly smooth transition to a new sort of governement. I'd think that there would have been more chaos and disorder.

Keep up the good work.
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  #120  
Old October 14th, 2011, 09:53 PM
Shaby Shaby is offline
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Thanks. Keep reading.
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