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Old January 11th, 2007, 07:40 PM
talonbear01 talonbear01 is offline
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The Red Baron, the German Chancelor

OK heres an interesting thought, and I'd love to hear some ideas about it.

Manfred von Richthofen, aka the Red Baron was without a doubt the most popular German hero from the First World War. During his war years, his picture was in almost every German home and his name was praised by all Germans. His popularity today is largely due to his incredible popularity, both in German and all across Europe.

My question is this.... Before his death, many had wanted to take him out of combat and use him as a moral booster. If Richthofen had surivied, either by being pulled out of combat, or simple not being shot down, could he have been popular enought to have assumed a leadership role in German politics after the end of the war?

Could he have been the man, who was beloved and respected by all Germans, that could have brought Germany together as Hitler did, only without the goal of European domination? His demanor suggests that he could have had wide spread support from the other European leaders and peoples, thus making it easier for him to have risen and taken the Chancelorship.... as opposted to Hitler, whos rise was built on violence and racial blame for his nation's troubles.
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Old January 11th, 2007, 08:00 PM
Max Sinister Max Sinister is offline
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Difficult. You know more about his personality? He certainly was a very proud man - under other circumstances, one could rate his behavior even primadonna-like.
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Old January 11th, 2007, 08:19 PM
talonbear01 talonbear01 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Sinister View Post
Difficult. You know more about his personality? He certainly was a very proud man - under other circumstances, one could rate his behavior even primadonna-like.


He is often discribed as distant, and humorless. I've never really heard of him as a primadonna, in fact just the opposite. He was a strong leader, who taught his men and led by example. He was a born hunter and a keen warrior. His actions through out the war showed a man that was cautious, but aggressive. He considered his every move and acted when nessasary. His tactics and lessons to the pilots under his command, helped to shape the way all pilots are or should be trained today. The German government wanted him to retire, being afraid that the death of such a popluar hero would be a major blow to moral, but he refused. He was a man that wanted to do his duty and serve his country, not bask in the glory that he'd earned.

So in a post-war Germany, I don't see him as the type that would have relished the limelight, but rather would have moved on to find a new arena to fight in... such as politics where he could have made a big difference.

But his attitude towards war suggest that he'd not have taken Germany down the road to a future war..... and considering that he had Jewish accestory, I don't hink he'd have been likely to play the anti-semite card that Hitler so loved to use.
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Old January 11th, 2007, 08:25 PM
Max Sinister Max Sinister is offline
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Well, I got the impression that he was a bit primadonna-like because he said "I don't want to collect cheese and eggs" for why he wanted to join the airforce. And there's this anecdote when he was told to paint his plane in camouflage color he still painted it red and claimed he didn't know that red wasn't exactly camouflage.
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Old January 11th, 2007, 08:44 PM
talonbear01 talonbear01 is offline
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Originally Posted by Max Sinister View Post
Well, I got the impression that he was a bit primadonna-like because he said "I don't want to collect cheese and eggs" for why he wanted to join the airforce. And there's this anecdote when he was told to paint his plane in camouflage color he still painted it red and claimed he didn't know that red wasn't exactly camouflage.

OK, well you gotta like the guy for wanting to stand out. BUt the Cheese and Egg part.... I saw a documentary on him a while back. He'd made that statement not long after he'd gotten in to the military, because they had him doing supply and later doing recon flights. This is a man that was a hunter.... he wanted to be in the action and couldn't stand having a job where he just did a job.... he wanted and needed to be in the thick of the action and managed to find a way in to a flighter group and showed his abilities from then on...
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Old January 11th, 2007, 08:49 PM
Jammy Jammy is offline
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Originally Posted by talonbear01 View Post
OK, well you gotta like the guy for wanting to stand out.
Agreed, this looks like it would make a good TL
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Old January 11th, 2007, 09:09 PM
Readman Readman is offline
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Actually as a matter of fact I had a thought along these lines but not vR as chancellor; rather lets say instead of the Baron being shot down he survives the war (and maybe Goring doesnt) and ends up as head of Luftwaffe in the 3rd Reich. interesting concept; would make a good TL i think
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Old January 11th, 2007, 09:11 PM
Nosb Nosb is offline
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Originally Posted by talonbear01 View Post
...considering that he had Jewish accestory, I don't hink he'd have been likely to play the anti-semite card that Hitler so loved to use.
He had Jewish ancestry? For some reason that strikes me as odd that a Baron, who's brother started at in the cavalry which would have been exceedingly difficult for someone with Jewish heritage, was in office and a pilot, a highly respected combat position in Germany at the time, in the Prussian-dominated German army. All wikipedia says is that he was descended from a line nobleman with Jewish heritage, but there is a possibility he didn't know of his Jewish heritage - like the head of the National Party in German, the party that that help gain power, had a Jewish grandfather, but didn't know it until it was used against him by the Nazis in the '30s - which means he could have played the anti-Semite card since it was very popular during the post-war period.
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Old January 11th, 2007, 09:17 PM
David S Poepoe David S Poepoe is offline
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I could see him being a slightly less animated relic of the Ancient Regime than Hindenburg.
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Old January 11th, 2007, 10:34 PM
Wendell Wendell is offline
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Not having a desire to conquer the world is not the same as not having a desire to "redeem" Germany. There could still be another war, albeit smaller than the WWII of OTL.
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Old January 11th, 2007, 11:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Wendell View Post
Not having a desire to conquer the world is not the same as not having a desire to "redeem" Germany. There could still be another war, albeit smaller than the WWII of OTL.
Why?

OTL, The west bent over backwards for Hitler, and only went to war after Munich, when it was clear he couldn't be trusted.

Compare to this OTL, where the leader of Germany is the Red Baron. He's flashy; as everyone in the west knows, he's a gentleman; and he's the guardian of Europe against the Bolsheveiks.

So, you see Anschluss. I doubt you see a Sudeten crisis, as that seems a Hitler thing. But he was the one who pushed for all of czechoslovakia.

Then, come 1939, maybe a brief war with Poland over the Danzig Corridor, but that's all I can see.
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Don't take this the wrong way, it's mean in a more neutral, observational manner, but you sort of have the general look of a young politician.
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Old January 12th, 2007, 10:56 AM
carlton_bach carlton_bach is offline
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He had Jewish ancestry? For some reason that strikes me as odd that a Baron, who's brother started at in the cavalry which would have been exceedingly difficult for someone with Jewish heritage, was in office and a pilot, a highly respected combat position in Germany at the time, in the Prussian-dominated German army.
He would never have been commissioned as a Jew, but the limitations on Jews in the military and state service at the time were religious, not racial. So he could well have had - and consciously had - what the Nazis would have called Jewish ancestry, but never have considered it a problem because they had converted.

Admittedly, it was unusual for converted Jews to make their careers in the military - they were more commonly found in the civil service and judiciary - but I don't think anyone would have raised an eyebrow about the grandson or great-grandson of a baptised Jew (and a proper 'von' - that was more important).

Quote:
All wikipedia says is that he was descended from a line nobleman with Jewish heritage, but there is a possibility he didn't know of his Jewish heritage - like the head of the National Party in German, the party that that help gain power, had a Jewish grandfather, but didn't know it until it was used against him by the Nazis in the '30s - which means he could have played the anti-Semite card since it was very popular during the post-war period.
There are many forms of antisemitism, and he would quite probably have played that card, not only because it was popular but because he must have shared some of those beliefs. BUt I doubt he would have gone to the genocidal lengths of Hitler. Many old-school officers found that distasteful.

By way of an offhand idea - one of the odder streams of antisemitic thought held that the Jews were an example of a degenerate race. A government espousing this view might well take measures to rectify that, on the assumption that Germany can not tolerate a race of tradesmen and idlers in its midst. Jews could find themselves excluded from the civil service and higher education, but at the same time encouraged, even forced to do extended military service or farm.
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Old January 12th, 2007, 02:43 PM
aktarian aktarian is offline
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Actually as a matter of fact I had a thought along these lines but not vR as chancellor; rather lets say instead of the Baron being shot down he survives the war (and maybe Goring doesnt) and ends up as head of Luftwaffe in the 3rd Reich. interesting concept; would make a good TL i think
yes, I think him being a version of goring is more likely. War hero being used by ANzis to gain support.
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Old January 12th, 2007, 06:47 PM
Wendell Wendell is offline
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Why?

OTL, The west bent over backwards for Hitler, and only went to war after Munich, when it was clear he couldn't be trusted.

Compare to this OTL, where the leader of Germany is the Red Baron. He's flashy; as everyone in the west knows, he's a gentleman; and he's the guardian of Europe against the Bolsheveiks.

So, you see Anschluss. I doubt you see a Sudeten crisis, as that seems a Hitler thing. But he was the one who pushed for all of czechoslovakia.

Then, come 1939, maybe a brief war with Poland over the Danzig Corridor, but that's all I can see.
I'm not disagreeing. Except, I'm not sure about him trying Anschluss.
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Old January 12th, 2007, 07:02 PM
ninebucks ninebucks is offline
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I'm not disagreeing. Except, I'm not sure about him trying Anschluss.
I agree, I was under the impression that Anschluss was specifically a pet-project of Hitler, who was himself Austrian. I would think the Prussian establishment, of which von Richthoven was part, would rather not have united with Austria, and thus off-setting the Reich's demography against their favour.
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Old January 12th, 2007, 07:05 PM
Faeelin Faeelin is online now
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I agree, I was under the impression that Anschluss was specifically a pet-project of Hitler, who was himself Austrian. I would think the Prussian establishment, of which von Richthoven was part, would rather not have united with Austria, and thus off-setting the Reich's demography against their favour.
I dunno. The Austrians wanted it as early as 1919, and it'd be perfect for any German government that wanted to bolster support.
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Don't take this the wrong way, it's mean in a more neutral, observational manner, but you sort of have the general look of a young politician.
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Old January 12th, 2007, 10:06 PM
Max Sinister Max Sinister is offline
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Exactly. The Alldeutschen (pan-Germans) who wanted Großdeutschland were around since the 19th century.
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Old January 12th, 2007, 10:09 PM
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Besides, the North Germany-South Germany divide gets heavily overstated. Prussian establishment? Bah, Prussianity would be no reason against the Anschluss.

And the Sudeten Lands, I dont see that as a Hitler proehjct, either. Its ust that for any otehr German government, the territories lost to Poland would by far take priority over the Sudeten territories, so they would try their luck with Poland first. Doesnt mean they wouldnt then, if they suceed, try their luck with Czechoslovakia, too
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Old January 13th, 2007, 02:14 AM
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I wrote a time-line on this for the soc.history.what-if newsgroup. Look for "A Man and a Dog . . . uh Plane".

Then, I expanded it into a novel. No one wants to bite, though.
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Old January 13th, 2007, 03:09 AM
Chengar Qordath Chengar Qordath is offline
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Besides, the North Germany-South Germany divide gets heavily overstated. Prussian establishment? Bah, Prussianity would be no reason against the Anschluss.

And the Sudeten Lands, I dont see that as a Hitler proehjct, either. Its ust that for any otehr German government, the territories lost to Poland would by far take priority over the Sudeten territories, so they would try their luck with Poland first. Doesnt mean they wouldnt then, if they suceed, try their luck with Czechoslovakia, too
Anschluss is almost certainly going to happen; it was too popular an idea on both sides of the border, and I would think that a traditional conservative Germany would be even more appeased by the Western Allies than the Nazis were, just because they would be less odd and worrying.

I could even see the Red Baron finishing off Czechoslovakia after taking the Sudetenland; Czechia has plenty of industrial resources like the Skoda Works to tempt the Germans, and without the Sudetenland there is pretty much nothing the Czechs could do to stop a determined German invasion. Poland probably would take priority though, as I would think a nationist regime would want to regain territories lost by the Second Reich before pursuing pan-German projects. A war with the Western Allies is probably inevitable as well, unless the French could somehow be convinced to cede Alsace-Lorraine without a fight (Probably ASB). Eupen-Malmedy, North Schleiswig, and Memel are probably also sought after, but I doubt the Germans would risk a major conflict over those fairly small and unimportant bits of land.

Is a restoration of the Kaiser in the cards at some point? As I recall Hindenburg was in favor of this, as were many other members of the military establishment.
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