1941: Hitler's Mediterranean strategy

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In the late spring of 1941, many people in Germany and elsewhere thought that Hitler (after having conquered Yugoslavia, Greece and Crete and with Rommel advancing in Egypt) would try to further proceed in this area, i.e. conquering Malta (no problem - unless Mussolini would insist that *his* soldiers must be the ones who take the island, then it could take longer), Cyprus (the Royal Navy suffered much from the fights around Greece and couldn't have prevented it - at least I read that), and Egypt; after that, he could decide whether to attack through the Nile valley (Sudan; Ethiopia, where some Italian troops were still fighting; Somalia; Uganda, Kenya?) or Palestine, Syria (where de Gaulle's Free French troops fought against Vichy; forgot when they won) and Iraq (remember the rebellion there). Not to forget the oil of Persia and Saudi Arabia... Even worse, since the Brits and Free French don't have the strongest army on Earth, the chances of the Germans seem to be pretty good. And without the Suez canal, Britain would be in trouble defending India (or Arabia, or East Africa).

Of course, there's the big question: What would Russia do? Though they had acquired a lot of territory in the two years before (Eastern Poland, Baltic states, Bessarabia, parts of Karelia), Stalin had even more demands which included making Bulgaria a Soviet satellite (and that would've meant that they'd have Romania and its oil in a pinch). Hitler knew about that. If he wanted to spend a year in the Med, he would've to stop Stalin somehow. (He had proposed Stalin to form an anti-British alliance, planning to give Persia and India to Russia, but Stalin had other demands.) I don't think that Stalin would've attacked Germany in 1941 since the Red Army still suffered from the purges (I know some people claim he would, but too many of these people only want to make up an excuse for Hitler, so I'm careful). The relations between Germany and Russia could become worse, though.

It's July 1941. Hitler has just defeated Yugoslavia and Greece. Crete is in German hands (but they lost a lot of good paratroopers there). Tobruq is besieged, Rommel is standing at Sidi Barrani. Now Hitler makes the important decision: Barbarossa is delayed until 1942, he'll attack in the Med first.

Since the troops are already in the right place (in the Balcans), they only have to transport them to the other side of the Med. At the same time, the attacks against Malta become stronger. Everywhere in the Eastern Med, the Luftwaffe attacks RN ships.

In August, the Axis troops in North Africa are strong enough to attack and take Tobruq. Now the way from Tripolis to the front is free. Rommel who's impatient attacks the Brits even before all of his troops have arrived. Still successful, the Brits are driven back to El Alamein.
In September, Rommel is ready for the final attack. He know has 10 divisions ready, plus some Italians, against 7+ (I guess Churchill would send them some, too, after they can guess what the Germans are up to) of the Empire, plus a few others. Numerical superiority and Rommel's strategic talent are too much, before the battle becomes hopeless, they start to retreat. At the banks of the Nile, they are ready for the next stand. Fighting in the fertile river valleys and big cities is a completely new situation for Rommel (so I had to make things up). However, after a big battle end of September, Alexandria is taken. The Brits destroy the bridges, but that's nothing that can't be repaired. Middle of October, Cairo and all of the Nile delta are in Axis hands. A few days later, the remaining British troops are behind the Suez canal.

Rommel's victory in the Nile delta made the situation for the empire difficult. Their troops in Africa and the Middle East now are disconnected from each other, the Germans control the important harbor of Alexandria, and without the Suez canal, the most important connection from Britain to India is cut. They managed to bring some support troops from India, but at the same time, since they control Egypt's biggest cities, the Nazis start to recruit Arabs willing to fight against the Brits. There's even unrest in Churchill's war cabinet. Some ministers and MPs around Halifax point out that Britain can't fight this war alone forever. Churchill resists: "It's not over yet!"

Hitler now has to make a decision: Attack in the South, through the Nile valley, aiming for Sudan and Ethiopia, or East? Since he wants the gulf oil, he quickly decides for the East. Rommel crosses the Suez canal and conquers the Sinai peninsula. The Italians and Arabs attack in the South, but are stopped at the height of El Faiyum and Beni Suef. At the end of October, the Germans stand near the little city of Gaza.
Now, Churchill exchanges several messages with Jewish leaders like Ben Gurion. The Jews now may officially form an army to fight against the Germans. Since he mustn't anger the Arabs too much, he makes Ben Gurion promise that Arabs have to keep full rights in case a state of Israel should be founded after the war. As fast as possible, the Jews raise troops. They don't exactly have the best arms, but are eager to fight against the Nazis. Southern Palestine (the Negev desert) is conquered by Germany, but then the Brits and Jews manage to stop them somehow, often simply by bluffing (did you know that empty gas canisters pulled over the ground sound much like moving tanks? I'm not kidding, the Israelis invented that trick during their war of independence). News spread fast: Though Roosevelt doesn't declare war on Germany, he supports the Jewish brigades where it's possible. Many Jews in America (emigrates and natives) volunteer to fight in Palestine, others collect more money than ever to buy arms and transport them. Even non-Jews join their rows (many of them are veterans of the Spanish civil war or other socialists).

Middle of November, Hitler is getting furious since Rommel didn't break the lines yet. He demands a victory, or else. Rommel manages to find a way: Instead of attacking Palestine directly, he lets his troops march into Transjordania. One week later, Amman is conquered. It's easy to see what Rommel is up to: He wants to enclose the Jews and Brits in a pocket and forces them to fight on two fronts. They still manage to hold the line along the Jordan and the heights of Golan. End of November, Rommel wins a battle against Free French troops and approaches Damascus. About that time, anti-British rebellions start in Iraq (again). Hitler thinks that the time has come and orders to take Cyprus.

In the first week of December, things look bleak for Britain. Half of Cyprus and most of Syria are in German hands. On December 6th, they reach the coast of Lebanon. Palestine is cut off, while the Germans in Syria approach the rebels in Iraq. Again, Churchill exchanges messages with Ben Gurion, asking whether he wants to evacuate his troops from Palestine. Ben Gurion answers: "We're ready to die for Israel!" Churchill tells him: "I hope you know that we can't support you forever." Ben Gurion: "As long as our volunteers will run the German lines, we'll stand and fight."
What they don't know: Hitler just ordered Rommel not to attack the Palestine pocket but only to clean up Syria and Mesopotamia. "We've got the harbors of Syria, now we need the oil!" he commands. He also orders that some Luftwaffe divisions are to be stationed in the North of Syria and Iraq - for an attack against the oil fields of Baku.

End of 1941 the Italians in Ethiopia capitulate, not much later than OTL. Now Churchill finally has a victory, which does a lot for British morale.

Then, everything changes with Pearl Harbor happening...

Here's what Stalin was doing all the time:

While Rommel conquers Egypt, Stalin repeatedly bugs Hitler with new demands. He wants Romania to give up land at the Danube mouth and the Bukovina; he wants a military pact with Bulgaria; he wants Japan to give up its rights for coal and oil in North Sachalin; and he points out that the Soviet Union also needs more influence in Turkey.

Behind the stage, Hitler tries to get more time. He knows he can't attack Russia before May 1942 - and that he can't wait another year, it's now or never. But he neither wants to anger his allies nor he wants a Russia that's too strong. He tries to stall Stalin. He doesn't want to give in again, after Russia already got half of Poland, Bessarabia and the Baltic states. He also points out that he's got no influence on Japan's inner affairs. He tries again to offer Stalin Persia, Afghanistan and India for an anti-British alliance. But that's not really what Stalin wants now.

But since he doesn't want to make Stalin suddenly suspicious, he slowly agrees, piece for piece. In the fall of 1941, the Romanian border again is "corrected" a bit in Russia's favor. After Pearl Harbor, Hitler gives Stalin free hand in North Sachalin. Stalin who's sure that the Japanese will be to afraid to attack Russia after the border clash of 1939, puts his hand on the mines in Sachalin. Hitler asks the Japanese whether they would join a war against Russia under the new circumstances, but the answer is No - Japan doesn't need Siberian territory, they want SE Asia. The relationship between Germany and Japan cools down. Hitler decides not to join their war against the US - at least, not yet.

In the first six months, the war in the Pacific is pretty much as OTL - Japan conquers Hong Kong, Malaya, the Philippines, Burma, most of Indonesia and many Pacific islands. Singapur also falls in this TL. American resistance is somewhat stronger, since they don't have troops sent to North Africa, OTOH Burma is conquered faster since Britain has less troops available.

Churchill is under heavy pressure again - several people want him to make peace with Germany to be able to defend the Empire against Japan. But he resists since he's sure that the Allies will win with America's help, and the public of Britain believes him. Still, the situation is hard. During December, the Germans have won in Cyprus, swept Syria and are attacking in Mesopotamia. When the new year begins, they control Bagdad. In February, they have reached the gulf at Basra. The oil fields they conquered, however, are unusable after the Brits destroyed them. Now Hitler contacts the king of Saudi Arabia for an alliance. The king is unsure; not allying with Germany might mean a German occupation, but it's not too sure that Germany will win at the end, so he says neither yes or no. Rommel concludes his victories by conquering Kuwait. Since Saudi Arabia doesn't want German troops on its soil/sand, they can't attack the remaining British oilfields in Bahrain and Qatar directly, so they have to attack with the Luftwaffe only. But after a few weeks, the Saudi king feels too impressed by the German strength (and the pro-German faction on his court is pressing him too), so he allows German troops to cross his territory.

Meanwhile, Stalin against asks friend Adolf for a pact with Bulgaria. Finally exhausted, Hitler agrees to let him have some bases there, if Russia agrees to respect Bulgaria's sovereignity in every other way - planning to kick them out when it's time with official Bulgarian help. Stalin gives his OK and now wants to know about Turkey. Hitler lets Ribbentrop ask secretly whether Turkey would join the Axis' cause and promises them that Georgia and Armenia could become Turkish again. The Turks disagree, the new Turkey is supposed to be a national state but not an empire. Still, they don't wish for Russian troops at the Bosporus. To confuse Stalin, Hitler asks what Stalin would think about dividing the Turkey between Italy and Russia and occupying the Bosporus together. Meanwhile, Churchill wonders what the hell Hitler is up to.

In March 1942, a lucky Israeli diversion attack drives the Germans a few kilometers back; the Jews now control all of the important heights of Golan. Once again Hitler bites a carpet and threats to attack the Palestine pocket with chemical weapons. Churchill OTOH tells him that in this case he'd throw all of Britain's chemical weapons on German cities, so Hitler scraps the plan.

In other ways, the spring of 1942 around the Med is pretty quiet - except for the perpetual bombing against the remaining British oilfields and a few fights in the Nile valley. But now, the Germans have made the Suez canal usable...

During all the time before Barbarossa (June '41 - May '42) the Germans used the opportunity to destroy the resistance throughout Europe. Yugoslavia and Greece are pacified, and the French resistance also suffers greatly. Among the killed partisans also is a Croatian Communist named Josip "Tito" Broz.

Operation Barbarossa starts!

During the last year, Germany had a lot of time to produce new weapons and train new soldiers to replace the ~20 divisions fighting in Africa and the Middle East. (Their work in Germany now is being done by KZ prisoners, POWs and other foreigners forced to work for Germany.) The Russian production of weapons has increased even faster, though.

On May 1st, while the Russians celebrate their Labor Day, the attack begins. From the Baltic the the Black Sea, the Wehrmacht crosses the Russian border. Russian cities as far as Sevastopol are bombarded by the Luftwaffe. More than 2000 Russian planes are destroyed on the ground. Stalin is shocked and can't believe Hitler has traited him. Two things are different, though: 1. The Russian bases in Bulgaria are overwhelmed by the Bulgarian army. Bulgaria and Russia are officially at war, other than OTL. 2. Before the attack in Europe begins, German bombers start from their bases in northern Syria and Iraq. They aim for Baku. Though they are discovered before the bombing begins, Stalin forbids shooting down the Germans - he still believes it's nothing but a provocation. When he knows he's wrong, the oilfields of Baku are nothing more but a sea of fire. At the same day, German-Arab troops cross the Persian border, aiming for the oilfields in SW Persia and Azerbaijan. Persia starts to mobilize its army, which makes somehow a counterweight for the Arabs fighting on German side.

During the first week, Soviet defense is confused. The mass of the troops that were concentrated too near the border are encircled and defeated. Germany and its Allies proceed much as OTL.

After the few first days, Stalin is finally ready to defend his country against the Nazis. Defense is organized, inept generals are slowly exchanged, and he talks with Churchill and Roosevelt. British troops (from India) and Russians (from Turkestan) march into Persia to help defending it against Germany. They all know: If Hitler should manage to get the oilfields of Baku, he's almost unstoppable. The Russians are still better armed than in 1941 OTL, but they suffer from lacking oil after the bombing of Baku. Roosevelt promises to help.

The first month of the war is still promising for Hitler. The Baltic states are conquered, so are Minsk, the former Polish territories and Bessarabia. Some hundred thousands Red Armists are captured. Still, where they have fuel for their tanks, the Soviets manage to fight the Germans back in some places. But their reserves are running out fast.

In June, the Germans have reached the Dnepr. Some generals propose to stop at this point to preserve the German gains. Hitler declines, he wants the total victory over Russia and is sure that Russia has to break down. He isn't completely wrong: Russia already lacks oil, though they are repairing the oil rigs in Baku (now defended by as many planes as possible), building up new wells in the "second Baku" east of the Ural and start to receive lots of oil from the US via Vladivostok. (The Lend-Lease program is officially extended to the Soviet Union, so Russia can concentrate on producing arms and almost nothing else.)
The next month is going to become the toughest for Russia, though. In this situation, Churchill and Stalin agree for a special joint operation: Some Russian divisions are sent up to the North, to Murmansk, where general Dietl is attacking from Narvik. At the same time, the RN and RAF start attacks around Norway. On July 2nd, they land around Narvik. The German operations in the North are disturbed, and the route from Britain to Murmansk is secure. Hitler is furious, again.

In other places, however, Germany is still winning. SW Persia is in their hands, and only all available powers of Russia and Persia can prevent them from crossing the border in the south. They conquered Kiev and Smolensk, cut Leningrad off and made millions of POWs so far. The "Stalin line" is broken. Hitler thinks that there's enough time and makes the same strategic mistake as OTL: He orders to attack in the South, the Ukraine. However, meanwhile Russia organized enough fuel to make its T-34s running and manages to make the Germans slower. They still proceed in the Eastern Ukraine and the Krim, but time is running away. At the end of August, they finally reach the Donez. Hitler is satisfied and now orders to attack Moscow itself.

This time, the Germans are not hampered by the weather, but by the stronger Red Army. Though they still proceed, they are getting even slower. They break the first defense line from Kaluga to Kalinin, 100 kilometers before Moscow. But again, they have to see that they only come frustratingly close to Moscow without conquering it. The city of Tula with its machine factories south of Moscow is conquered, but the factories aren't usable anymore - they've been brought to somewhere east of the Ural. And now, the raining period is beginning, which is helping the Russians even more.

A few weeks later, however, the temperature is falling, and the Russian mud is freezing. This is the last chance for Hitler to win the war. Everything is thrown against Moscow. The second defense line is broken, the Germans reach the outskirts of the city. There's panic in Moscow. Even Stalin wonders whether he can hold the capital. But for now, he puts down the panic and stays in Moscow. Since he knows that Japan won't attack, Siberian troops are defending the West. Hitler doesn't dare to storm the city, so he orders to besiege it. The Wehrmacht now has reached the borders of the city in the South and the West, but they can't break through. Finally, the beginning winter makes them unable to attack anyway. Only in the South, they make some gains. Sevastopol is besieged, Rostov and the Kuban peninsula are conquered, Voronesh is reached. Then, the attack stops. The Wehrmacht is better equipped for the winter this time, but far from being as good as the Red Army. Things are going to be difficult...

So far we have the Germans conquered more territory than OTL, but still not won, but being stuck around Moscow and in Persia. But now let's take a look on what Japan has done so far.

In May 1942, the Japanese can't win the battle of the Coral sea, as in OTL. For the first time, their advance is stopped. After the Americans deciphered their code, their situation starts to get worse. Though they still advance in Burma and China and even took two Aleutian islands, they also lose at Midway and can't win at Guadalcanal.

In August, they try (desperate times...) a new strategy. Since the Germans are standing in Persia and Britain is in a more difficult situation than OTL, they try a strike against "the soft underbelly of the Allies", i.e. India. All available infantry troops are relocated to Burma.

In September, the new offensive begins. The Japanese army crosses OTL India-Burma border and invades Bengal. Their advance starts slowly, but when they leave the mountains, it gets faster. Churchill is very concerned. If India should fall, the British Empire will be reduced to a shadow of its former self, and the Germans could unite with the Japanese. Roosevelt understands the situation. After having talked with the generals, he decides to send troops to India to support Britain. Since Germany and the US aren't at war, there are many troops available. After the planning has been done, US troops are shipped to India, mostly Calcutta.

In October, there's another critical moment. Japanese troops manage to land on badly defended Ceylon, advancing slowly though. US navy presence in Indian Ocean strengthened. In November, Japanese advance in Ceylon and Bengal is stopped. Now, Operation Torch (not the same as OTL) begins. The united British-American troops attack the Japanese before Calcutta, driving them back. While Guadalcanal isn't decided yet, the Indian theater looks promising. During the winter 1942/43, Bengal and Ceylon are reconquered. Danger of the Axis powers uniting is averted, for now and forever.

In November, Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin (represented by Molotov and occasionally telephoning with him - he's got to stay in Moscow and show his people that he won't give up the city) meet at the conference of Caracas (neutral ground) to form a strategy to stop the Nazis and Japanese.

Roosevelt knows that he can't declare war on Germany as long as he's busy fighting Japan. That's why this strategy is implemented:

Britain (including Canada, India and South Africa) concentrates all its strength on the fronts in Northern Norway (where they're thrown out by the Germans during the winter, though), Egypt and Persia. Their troops fighting against the Japanese are gradually replaced by American troops.

In Russia, the fronts don't move much during the winter. At the moment, Soviet power only's good enough for pinpricks against the Wehrmacht (compared to OTL). When the full oil supply from America arrives, things slowly start to change, however. At the moment, Hitler boasts that "this enemy is already beaten and will never rise again!"
Having arrived in India, the GIs attack the over-extended Japanese, who slowly have to leave Bengal and retreat to mountainous Burma. Before they leave, however, they declare an independent Bengal republic in Dakka (early 1943).

During the winter, lots of Lend-Lease material is brought to Russia. The situation is urgent - not everyone knows it, but Russia is close to state bankruptcy - in fact, later in history people will find out that breakdown was as close as a few weeks, hadn't there been Lend-Lease.

Until June, American troops have brought all of Bengal under their control. Unfortunately, now the monsoon begins and stops all operations on this front. This means unfortunately that China is cut off from Allied help. Meanwhile, however, the GIs fight together with Australians and New Zealanders to island-hop in the Pacific. Until the end of the year, they conquer New Guinea, the Salomon Islands incl. Guadalcanal, New Britain, Gilbert Islands, Admirality Islands and Eniwetok back.

When the monsoon is over in October, US troops start an offensive in Burma. Since they're not at war with Germany, the Allies have more troops on every front in the Pacific theater. While America supplies the Chinese via the hump, the Ledo Road in North Burma is built, after an offensive let those areas in the GIs' hands.

(This part of the TL was the hardest to write. If you're dealing with a Hitler in your stories, you can be happy if there are at least some millions of dead less than OTL.)

The fate of the Jews

TTL had no Wannsee conference in 1942. Things were going well for the nazi regime, even though the Italians in Ethiopia had been defeated and the Japanese already were driven back in Bengal and the Pacific. Still, the nazis wanted to solve a "problem": What to do with the Jews.

Old plans, like deporting them all to Palestine, Angola or Madagascar had been scrapped. There was a need for another solution. Until then, the nazis "restrained" themselves to making the laws for Jews harsher and harsher and sending those of them whom they found most suspicious into KZs.

Unexpectedly, things changed. This had to do with the Germans advancing through the Arabian lands, going as far as Trucial Oman in the first half of 1942.
Still, the Arab rulers demanded something in exchange for their oil. This was a difficult situation for Germany: They hadn't exactly a lot of money left, and Hitler didn't want to risk Arab revolts. The solution was found in January 1942, after Himmler had met the Great mufti of Jerusalem, who shared the nazis' antisemitism. During their meeting, they talked about the evil British empire, western decadence (the west excluding Germany, of course), the "Jewish danger", the great history of the Arabs and also about the time after the war. And thus, the solution was found. Two birds with one stone.

It sounded crazy, but it certainly had an appeal for the nazis. During early 1942, nazi officials had some talks with Arab leaders who were nazi sympathizers, and when Barbarossa started, they had found an agreement.

They had agreed that slavery was to be reintroduced in the lands in Africa and Asia conquered by the nazis (in fact, in many places it never had died out first); and they had further decided that the nazis would provide the Arabs with slaves - Jewish slaves, to be exact. In fact, many Arabs were interested in well-educated slaves. In return, the Arabs would give the Germans the needed oil and also other goods - Egyptian cotton, oranges, and some other luxuries for the women of the nazis.

And thus, in 1942 the nazis started shipping Jews from Odessa through the Bosporus to the harbors of Aleppo and Beirut, where they were sold to Arab leaders collaborating with the nazis, who later would sell those slaved Jews to other Arabs, making a good profit. There even were talks about expanding the slave business after the war, when Germany expected to own colonies in sub-saharan Africa, selling the Arabs black slaves then. During 1942, 800,000 Jews went that way. Mostly they came from the Ukraine and Poland - the nazis expected the least resistance against the "Endlösung" here, and the way was shortest. The Jews came on freighters full of several hundred people, under conditions similar to the train passages IOTL.

The year 1943 has begun, it's the fourth year of the war.

After being replaced by the Americans, British troops (including many Indians) have been redeployed to the Persian front. The mountainous terrain makes the reconquest difficult, though, despite the fact that the Brits have gained numerical advantage against Generalfeldmarschall Rommel.

Churchill decides it's time for a strategical diversion. The right place is found soon: Trucial Oman (today known as the United Arab Emirates) with its rich oil resources.
In March 43, the British army starts to attack from Oman, with support from the sea side. The offensive starts with a success: The relatively weak German troops have to retreat, the fortress Masqat that was besieged for several months is free again.
Hitler, of course, is furious and demands from Rommel to regain the territory, no matter what. Rommel is in trouble, but does his best. Switching to pure defensive in Persia, he relocates all available troops to the South and attacks. A few weeks later, the Brits are driven back again to Oman, and the situation is basically the same as a few months before.

With one difference, however. Now that most of the Wehrmacht has to fight in Russia, Rommel can't get as many troops as he demands as he did in 1941. In fact, now the Wehrmacht is pretty strained on all fronts and can only hope that noone has the idea to attack them at an untimely moment.

Since the Allies have Alan Turing and other scientists working on deciphering the German codes, they can't hope for that. Knowing the situation as good as one can wish, the British decide that it's time for a real counterstrike. Without control over the Suez canal, it's been relatively difficult, but now they have moved enough troops to Upper Egypt, including the troops that defeated the Italians in Ethiopia, many South Africans and a few Free French and Free Belgians from the Congo.

In June, the operation begins. The attack of the Allies breaks through the Axis' lines, throws them back to Cairo (which they can't take at the moment due to lacking powers, since the nazis have organised a lot of Arabs willing to fight against the Brits - at least their propaganda says so), and is continued North-East, targeted at the Suez canal. This is the worst hit that Hitler got so far in the war, but he can't do anything now. Having control over the Red Sea, the Brits manage to land some troops at the Sinai, attacking the canal from two sides. Hitler has to defend the connection between his troops in Egypt and the Middle East respectively and orders some troops from the Palestine front (where the Jewish freedom fighters still defend their pocket on the Med) down South, calculating that the Jews are too worn out for an attack. When they break through the German lines between Jerusalem and Gaza and meet the Brits in the Negev, he learns that he was wrong.

When the Americans return from their summer holidays, strange news wait for them: All US radio and TV stations report from the Middle East, where the biggest story since long has happened: At first unable to believe it, but then getting more and more angry, the Americans listen to the stories about British officers telling live about the nazi slave trade with Jews, some Western European Jews who tell stories of their month-long suffering, like Mr. Blau serving as a secretary for some illiterate Arab slave trader, or Mrs. Grün forced to become the third wife of some emir. Some nazi sympathizers in the world try to play it down, speaking of propaganda, but generally people agree that Hitler has gone too far.

Now there's the big question: Will the USA declare war on Germany or not? They're already helping Britain and Russia in every other way, so declaration of war is the only thing left to do. Will the Americans follow FDR who certainly would like to, or will there be too much resistance? Many Americans don't want another war, let's not even talk about those who were pro-German (there aren't many Americans with Japanese origins, but many with German or Italian ancestors), antisemites or rabid anti-Communists. It's early 1943, next elections will be end of 1944.

But first back to the Russian theater; it's early 1943.

Thanks to their great human reserves, they Soviets have been able to stop the Wehrmacht. Still lacking oil, and because their railway center Moscow is being shot at by the German artillery, they couldn't throw them back very far.

During the spring, when mud makes any offensive impossible, both sides are planning what to do next. Hitler wants to take the cities of Moscow (under constant attack), Leningrad and Sevastopol. After that, he hopes, Russia will be demoralized enough and give up. Afterwards, he plans to take everything west of the Volga - other than in OTL, he wants to take the center first, to be able to bombard the Russian factories in the Urals. Stalingrad and the Caucasus are considered less important, since the oil rigs of Baku are mostly destroyed.

But meanwhile the Americans have supplied the Soviets with some million barrels of the needed oil. During the mud period, the T-34s have been made ready. And when the mud has dried up, the attacking German troops are surprised by an unexpected Russian counteroffensive...

The Russian counter-offensive breaks through the German lines around Moscow, completely unexpected. The German armies have to cancel the planned attack, regroup, stop the Russian attack, eventually retreating - the nazi propaganda, of course, calling it "shortening the front lines".

Only some weeks later, they can stop along the line of Kaluga-Kalinin, using the improvised Soviet fortifications (stormed last year) for defense. Fortunately for them, the Red Army isn't at full strength yet. Thus, Hitler can still hope that his dream of crushing Russia may become true.

In June 43, it seems that the opportunity has come. Finally Sevastopol has fallen (after being besieged about one year), and German troops (several divisions) are relocated to the North. Besides, the Wehrmacht has started since winter to recruit troops among captured Soviet soldiers - only non-Russians, though. This gives Hitler several new divisions to fight with.

On 1st August, the big German offensive against Moscow starts. Tula which was meanwhile reconquered by the Red Army falls again. Same thing happens to many little cities before Moscow. A few weeks after the offensive has started, German troops sit on the outskirts of Moscow, from the NW to the S. Hitler doesn't dare to take the city with a direct attack, though, so he tries to cut it off. The next attack goes from Tula to Kolomna, cutting of the railway Moscow-Ryazan. Now the Germans cross the Moskva river, aiming North. Hitler commands to conquer all of the area between upper Volga and Oka, for a better defense. By this way, he wants to hunger out Moscow.

Stalin has spent most of the time in his bunker - during the first time when the Germans approached Moscow, and now again. The stress is eating his nerves, too, though he tries to stay firm as steel. He knows that the Russians will lose hope if their capital would be lost. If only those Americans would declare war upon Germany...

But for the moment, they don't. The Brits had some local successes down there in the Middle East, but that was all. Hitler doesn't really care for it - he only wants Moscow, maybe more fanatical than he ever wanted something. It could still happen... his tanks now go North, take the little city of Vladimir, east of Moscow, and cut off the railroad to Nishny Novgorod. Only the rail to the North connects Moscow with the big rest of the country.

Everyone in Germany is looking at Moscow, but there's one event that nobody there could ignore - whatever people might think about it.

Having found out about Hitler's dirty slave deals - and not any kind of slavery, but with whites slaved -, the US congress has voted for a declaration of war. Even the Republicans joined FDR. Yes, even anti-Communists had to admit that Stalin being replaced by Hitler wouldn't really be a gain for the world. Nobody wants to think about what'd be possible then.

Hitler stays surprisingly calm when he hears about it. The Nazi propaganda machine is started again, to tell everybody that the Atlantikwall will stop every possible American invasion. The Atlantikwall is no Maginot line (and we know that this doesn't mean that much), but FDR knows too that this war can't be won that fast. For the moment, Stalin needs urgent help, or Moscow may be lost.

And the time is running. The US sends Stalin several hundred Sherman tanks for the battle for Moscow, this time guarded by destroyers to prevent the German wolfpacks attacking them. Those tanks have to be brought to Moscow. Because meanwhile, the Wehrmacht is close to cut off the rail to Yaroslavl, Moscow's last link to Russia. The Russians still fight, being motivated by the news that the nazis have already begun to sell people as slaves - although they don't love Stalin, they see that there are fates even worse. And the people in Moscow have heard the one or other tale about what the Germans have done in the areas they conquered back in the winter. So they continue to fight a desperate fight.

August has already passed, September's come... the Sherman tanks have been loaded off in Archangelsk and now are transported to Moscow. Time has almost run up: The Germans had severe losses too, but they've almost reached the railway line. If they succeed, Moscow can get support only by truck, and failing that, only by air. Simply impossible for a city where still several millions of people are (you can't call it living).

On the morning of 9th September, German artillery shells hit the railway line, damaging it. It's only a minor damage per se, that could be easily repaired, but if the Germans can't be stopped, they will own the line.
The Sherman tanks are in Yaroslavl now, but they can't be sent to Moscow. So, all available trained Red Army men man the tanks and start going to the battle.

The Wehrmacht officers who can already see their objective are surprised when suddenly redarmists in Sherman tanks appear, getting at them from behind. Battle ensues, being fought fiercely on both sides. It takes as long until the night has fallen, and only in the morning the survivors can see who has won now.

Only a handful of the tanks used aren't scrap metal now, but they were successful. The line Yaroslavl-Moscow can be repaired now, the German ring around Moscow wasn't closed, and in fact the Red Army now has the resources to break it up again, albeit slowly.

Later, the historians will write that only hours may have decided Moscow's fate. But the nazis didn't win. Hitler declares that the fight has to be won before the Americans can disturb the Germans (like last time), but the Wehrmacht has used up all resources. Now that Soviet war machine is running at 100%, and doesn't stop anymore. The next weeks are filled by several bitter battles around Moscow, but at the end, when the rain makes fighting impossible again, the German armies there are broken, have to retreat behind the Moskva and Oka. When the ground becomes frozen, they can't successfully attack either, let alone encircle Moscow. And when the real winter comes, the advantage is again at the Red Army.

Hitler didn't want to see it the last months, but now he can't win anymore.

After the USA declared war on Nazi Germany, Churchill is feeling more secure again. But he needs another success - the Brits are becoming tired from holding out all the time, while Hitler is still strong. At the moment, it's not even sure whether Russia can save Moscow.

During autumn 1943, plans are made for an American-British invasion in North Africa - essentially the equivalent of OTL Torch. Since there's no Dieppe in TTL, they're ready at the beginning of 1944. Morocco and Algeria fall.

Now there's the Vichy Regime. Hitler wants them to send troops (they don't have that much, only 100000 men all in all, but for Hitler it's better than nothing) to North Africa to fight against the Allies. If they don't, he'll occupy Vichy France. Similar as OTL again - but this time, Hitler's troops are standing stronger in Russia and the Middle East, and Moscow isn't saved yet.

Time to go back to the Japanese theater. Due to the different war, the Americans have more troops here (but less in Europe / North Africa - in fact, none in Europe at all, except maybe some planes stationed in England to bombard German cities).

Meanwhile many American planes are stationed in China and help them to defend against the Japanese. Japanese operations against China (like the operation Ichigo, the attack against the province of Hunan) are hampered.

Until the end of March, the Americans can conquer the Marianes (incl. Guam) back. East of the Philippines, they fight another big battle on the high sea, preparing the way for the later reconquest of the Philippines. In May, the Americans come as far as Palau archipelago, although the complete conquest will take more than one month.

But already in June - the Americans are now four months ahead compared to OTL - US marines manage to land on Leyte. Two months later, in August, they're at Luzon, and end of September, Manila is liberated. The Japanese situation is way worse - other than OTL, their offensive in China wasn't that successful (although they still managed to get Changsha), and the Americans are close to the Home Islands.

In October, the fight for Okinawa starts, after Iwo Jima fell some time earlier. The Japanese fight harder than ever, and many GIs die. The Manhattan Project unfortunately is far from finished, so that's no possibility.

In the meantime, the Allies also liberated most of Burma (Rangoon is still Japanese-occupied) and Borneo. In November, the Ledo Road is finished (two months earlier than OTL). Now the US can support Chiang Kai-shek with tanks. (Although there'll be no tank fights between GIs and Japanese before 1945.)

Before Christmas, all of Okinawa is occupied by the US. They got no further, though. The next question is: Invade the Home Islands on Kyushu or Shikoku?

Back to Europe
After Petain declares that France won't fight on the side with Hitler, the rest of France is occupied - for doing that, Hitler needs many divisions he could use otherwhere. He can't do anything; the few Nazi-sympathizers in the French army already have gone as volunteers to the Russian front.

During said operation, Tunesia has been occupied too, to defend against the approaching Americans. The situation in the North African-Middle East theater becomes more and more difficult for the Axis; Allied ships and planes make it almost impossible to support the troops with what they need (and one has to consider that the Axis have at least the Gulf oil, but not much else).

The Axis troops in Tunisia manage to fight for two months; after that, they have to retreat. The remaining sane people in the German general staff see that this theater is lost, but Hitler doesn't want to retreat and advises them to keep on fighting. In May, Tripolis is conquered; in June, the Allies are in the Cyrenaica; and in July, the fight for the Egyptian delta has begun. At the same time, troops from everywhere from the Empire attack the delta from the South. Now, unrest starts to spread among Egyptian collaborators... they know, if the nazis lose the war, they'll be in trouble, so now there'd be a good time to switch sides...

In March 1944, Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin (represented by Molotov) meet again, this time in Dakar. Stalin urges the Western Allies to open a second front in Europe. They think about a landing in Narvik, but decide to scrap the plan. So an invasion in Italy will be implemented instead.

In Russia, the Russians are busy driving the Germans out of their country. During the winter, the Wehrmacht is beaten around Moscow, which is finally free again. After the mud season is over, a big attack is started all along the East front, throwing the Germans further back.

Hitler decides to gamble, takes all the available troops and throws them against Leningrad. The city was besieged for more than a year, and he hopes that if he can take it, many German and Finn troops will be available to stop the Soviets again.

The Germans take Tichwin, making a support of the city via the ice of Lake Ladoga impossible. Then, the full attack by the Germans against the city that had to suffer so much already starts. But the population resists.

Stalin can see that the city is in danger, so he orders to stop the offensives and moves several troops to the North. In July, Tichwin is reconquered; and in August, the ring around Leningrad is finally broken up.

This is no coincidence; about at that time, American troops land in Sicily. For the moment, Mussolini can calm down his opponents; but when the first GIs set their foot on mainland Italy and combined American and British troops push the Axis behind the Suez canal, his time has run out, and he's imprisoned. Two weeks later, the new Italian government makes an armistice with the Allies. Germany manages to disarm the troops of its former ally, but when they try to occupy Rome, the Italian partisans make them so much trouble that they have to retreat further back. (ITTL, Germany has less troops available for Italy; although there has been no battle comparable with Stalingrad, the attrition of two years in Russia has hurt the Wehrmacht enough, and the theater in Africa and the Middle East took its toll either. They didn't manage to liberate imprisoned Mussolini, too, so their satellite government in Northern Italy is even weaker.)

While the Americans can't advance that fast in Italy, they still have many successes someplace else: In October, they're in Palestine and cross the border to Lebanon and Syria; and in November, Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel, cut off from any kind of support, has to capitulate with several armies. When Hitler get news of that, he almost loses what is left of his mind. Several German generals start to think of secret negotiations with the Allies. In the Middle East, the status quo ante bellum is restored. Several Arab leaders who collaborated with the nazis are hanged. Many American and especially British troops are now available for the fight in other places (although it'll probably take weeks, if not months, to send them to another front).
One big problem, though: Before the Germans capitulated, they set fire to many oilfields - it will take many months to put them out and even longer to restore everything, and the year of 1945 will be significantly colder...

Meanwhile, the Red Army advances further and further. When winter 1944/45 comes, they have thrown the Germans back behind the Dnepr; but this time, the Germans are better prepared and have made defenses behind the river. For the moment, the Red Army can't advance further. Hitler says that the "fortress Europe" will hold the line, no matter what. And at the moment, this doesn't even seem that crazy...

After the Western Allies have taken Sardinia and Corsica, FDR and Churchill decide to strike against the Balcan. Stalin isn't that happy about that (he had hopes in the past that he could make gains there after the war), but he isn't really in a position to demand it, since the Germans occupy more of Russian territory (and the Soviet Union is weakened more than OTL).
In October, Allied troops are brought from Apulia in Southern Italy to Albania (which was occupied by the Germans after Italy gave up). The mountainous land makes an advance difficult, but the local population helps the Allies against the Germans. During the winter, Albania, Greece and southern Yugoslavia are liberated. Now Bulgaria fears the worst, and after the Allies reach their border, the government makes an armistice and declares war on the Axis shortly after.

The Balcan offensive was necessary for the Allies, especially Churchill, because in '44 the Germans started to send V-rockets (the so-called Wunderwaffen) against London and other places in Britain. The damage is not that high, but no trifle either. And since a landing in France isn't possible now and the Germans manage to hold in Italy along the Apennin, the Allies need a victory.

After Bulgaria switched sides, the Germans destroyed most bridges over the Danube, so Romania is still secure; only the Dobrudsha is conquered. Stopped before Belgrad, the Allies move their Balcan offensive west, into Bosnia, which is part of fascist Croatia under Ante Pavelic. The oppressed Serbs join the Allies in masses. Dalmatia is conquered too during that time.

In January, president Roosevelt died (for him, especially the time when Hitler conquered half of Europe and he couldn't act against him, was harder than OTL). Hitler is glad and believes that the tides of war may turn, just like 1762 for Frederick the Great. In one way, that's true: New president Harry S Truman is more anti-Communist than FDR. Of course, the US stay in the war.

After they liberated Leningrad and repaired the rails leading there, the Soviets start a new offensive against Finland. The Fins see that they've lost and capitulate in February '45. In Norway, the Germans continue to hold out under general Dietl. At the same time, the Soviets have also advanced in Northern Russia, where they drove the Germans back to the Baltic states, and in the South, where they took the Crimea.

In the spring, GIs land on Shikoku. The following fight is very hard; the Japanese are almost lost, but fight the invaders to the last man, don't surrender at all, and make kamikaze attacks on US ships. Truman decides that it might be a better idea to help the Chinese, supports them with tanks. Since you can only squeeze so many soldiers on a little island, he doesn't need them all for island-hopping and can spare some for China. Now the Japanese are driven back in China.

In April, the Allied attack on Zagreb is successful, and Croatia capitulates too. The Germans occupy Slavonia to continue the hopeless fight. But now, the Allies have reached the border of the "Greater German Reich".

May '45 is relatively quiet. In the East, mud prevents the Soviets from attacks, and everywhere else, the Germans hold out against the Western Allies. But the Allies have other plans...

In June, D-Day happens (one year later than OTL). At the same time, the Red Army manages to cross the Dnepr in the Ukraine. Truman fears that Stalin may swallow half of Eastern Europe, urges his scientists to work harder. Meanwhile, some German officers come to the conclusion that obviously everything is lost and think about killing Hitler.

But Truman decides otherwise. On the 22nd of July, the first nuke is dropped on the Northern German city of Oldenburg. For a while, nobody in Germany knows what really happened - not only half, but all of the city is destroyed, and there are barely any survivors (the city is smaller than Hiroshima). It takes some time until everyone in Germany understands what happened. Hitler seems not capable to understand that one city was completely eradicated. Even the conspirators against him are confused. They wait too long, and on July 26th the second bomb is dropped on the Austrian city of Graz. (There were many in America who protested, since the city was a cultural center, but it didn't help.)

Now the conspirators decide to act. Not by killing Hitler - there's not always the right opportunity, since Hitler has become more paranoid than ever - but by spreading mouth propaganda around in the Wehrmacht, discretely, what the officers think about ending the war. And other than Hitler, the generals agree that they don't want any more German cities not only bombed but eradicated - on every day, they get to hear more and more frightening stories from Oldenburg and Graz, although Hitler has strictly ordered not to spread such stories.

On the 9th of August, they start to act. Loyal Wehrmacht troops occupy radio stations in Berlin and other places, arrest Hitler and other nazi bigwigs, including nazi generals like Keitel and Jodl and strike against the SS. Major Otto Remer is among the killed.

Two weeks later, a provisional government is formed and starts to negotiate with the Western Allies - not with Stalin. In France, Italy and on the Balcans, the Wehrmacht retreats and gives the Allies control over the lands; in Russia, however, they continue to fight. Romania and Hungary let the Allies enter too, and the Slovakian government is toppled.

At the beginning, some men of the new German government don't seem to grasp the situation and seriously try to arrange that Germany may keep Austria, Sudetenland and parts of its conquests, but Churchill and Truman disagree. They demand that Germany is punished and aren't willing to make a compromise, although the Germans even offer to fight for the Allies against Soviet Russia. So the negotiations between Germany and the Western Allies start. The new government offers to leave the western countries and make a one-sided capitulation (only with the US and the Empire), which is declined too. The situation is so difficult because Truman and Churchill weren't really ready for the war in Europe ending before they know what to do with it. And Stalin is in the confusing situation that the Germans still have much territory of his country under their control, but stopped fighting the Western Allies - and were even able to transport troops to the East. And the new president Truman isn't that fond of Stalin - the conference in Moscow in February '45 didn't work out so well, and at Ankara in April the two of them didn't manage to find a compromise for the post-war Europe either. He even seems to have more sympathy for a collaboration against the Soviets. Stalin has to watch in anger how the Germans retreat from France, Italy and Bohemia. The Wehrmacht gives control over these countries to the Allies in an orderly fashion.

In October, what everyone would've considered unbelievable even three months ago becomes true: The Americans and Brits enter German territory, the local garrisons hand them over command, and hunt together with them for resisting SS men and other nazis. In the same month, Poland (in the borders of 1939!) and the Baltic states are occupied by the Western Allies. Stalin is almost mad, accuses Truman to be a traitor. But Truman points out the American strength and the bomb that has knocked out Germany and Japan (more about that later), and tells Stalin to be content or get nothing at all. Stalin, grumbling, has to give in. Now Germany and the Soviet Union make an armistice, the Wehrmacht retreats (yes, Stalin can't even make prisoners), and the negotiations with all sides can begin.

The end of the war in Asia and the Pacific
The fights in Shikoku are indecisive. Although the American tanks can smash the Japanese army in every battle in the countryside, in the cities the Japanese fight for every house and inflict high losses on the GIs. In China, however, the Americans are more successful and help Chiang Kai-Shek to drive the Japanese back in the valleys of Yangtze and the Yellow river. In the South, Hankau is reconquered, and more important, the harbor of Canton is liberated. Now the Americans can send even more help along the railroad to Changsha.
In July, when the first nukes are dropped on Germany, the Allies hope that Japan might give up. This is not the case. While in Europe Hitler is toppled, Germany makes peace and is occupied, the fighting goes on. In September, the scientists have finished two more nukes, which are dropped on the Japanese cities of Niigata and Nagasaki (after seeing the effects in Germany, it's decided that the GIs are too close to Hiroshima). Now the Japanese government, urged by the emperor, is finally willing to surrender unconditionally. Stalin used the opportunity again to invade Manchuria (where he helps Mao's Communists to take power), South Sachalin and the Kuriles. After the Japanese army in China has surrendered, some American troops are stationed in China, north-east of Beijing - Truman is too suspicious of Stalin and doesn't trust the corrupt Guomindang to defend China properly against the Communists.

In 1946, the surviving Nazi leaders are on trial in Nürnberg (that's Nuremberg). Hitler, Goebbels, general Keitel and Himmler committed suicide before (the last one, before the Wehrmacht could arrest him), but Bormann, Göring and Ley survived. The world is in horror when they learn about the full details of German slave trade, and even worse, the mass killings of more than 4 million Jews. (I couldn't make it much better than OTL, with the nazis standing that strong, but at least it's almost 2 million more survivors.) Although Truman wants the Germans as potential allies against Stalin, he can't but decide that a denazification and reeducation of Germany is necessary, so it happens similar to OTL. Or maybe not exactly - the Wehrmacht wants to shift the blame to the SS and the NSDAP and helps the Allies finding many nazis.

Sorting out the situation in Germany takes longer, while Germany's other allies in Europe make peace treaties in 1946 already, with same results as OTL. Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia are restituted meanwhile. Stalin demands territorial acquisitions (means: More than the lands won from Finland and Romania) and participating in the German occupation. And the French and Poles demand dismemberment of Germany. Finally a compromise is found. Poland gives Wilna back to Lithuania and most of the area east of the Curzon line to Russia (except Lemberg), but receives all of East Prussia and the Eastern half of Pomerania and Silesia. When the British government pleads for Stalin, Truman agrees, but under the prerequisition that the US can monitor the Russian occupied zone. The new government protests against Stalin's occupation, but has to let Soviet troops occupy Germany. (But it's less bad than OTL: The Germans are forewarned by the Americans, and many rich people - and former nazis - can flee to the west.) In fall 1946, Germany is divided in four zones - Brits in West and NW Germany and Eastern Austria, Americans in Hesse, Bavaria and the rest of Austria, French in Baden, Württemberg and the Palatinate, and the Soviet Union in Eastern Germany. The Red Army had to be transported via the Baltic Sea, since the other nations wouldn't allow them to cross their territory. Stalin still grumbles because his country had the highest toll to pay and receives almost nothing in return. (He has Finland, however. And the opportunity to strip his part of Germany of factories, rails, and everything valuable.)

Meanwhile the Marshall plan has been implemented and includes the Eastern European countries (except the Soviet Union, Finland, and East Germany). In Southern Germany, Ludwig Erhard started the Social Market Economy, helping the state to take off.

In 1948, the situation in Europe is still tensed. In the German länder, elections have been held - and in the lands under Soviet control (Saxony, Thuringia, Saxony-Anhalt, Brandenburg, Silesia, Mecklenburg and Pomerania), the united lists of Social Democrats and Communists got the majority. The liberated Eastern European states fear for their freedom, if they're wedged between a Communist Germany and the Soviet Union. Truman wants to clear the situation, tells Stalin to row back, which is declined. Historians agree that the situation might have gone awry, with a war between East and West breaking out and the fifth bomb maybe dropped on a Russian city - but fortunately for the world, in May Stalin dies. (ITTL the stress during the years when the Germans were close to Moscow was too much.) The new Soviet government is more interested in a compromise, and they agree to retreat from East Germany over the next years, except for the soldiers needed to implement reeducation. The elections in East Germany have to be repeated, too.

In 1949, Germany is split into three states: One South German state (including Austria), one state in NW Germany, and Russian-occupied East Germany. Germany will stay split, since the peace treaty explicitly forbids them reunification. There are three states now: The Federal German Republic in the South, where the single states (Hesse, Baden, Württemberg, Bavaria, Austria) have many rights; here, the government is made of the three main parties, being the Liberals (strongest in Baden and Württemberg, being a very mixed party), the Social Democrats (unificated party, strongest in Franconia, Hesse and big cities of Austria), and the strong German people's party (uniting Catholics and Conservatives; in Austria, it's called the *Austrian* people's party, of course); then the German Democratic Republic in NW Germany, with its capital in Cologne, governed by the Social Democrats and the Christian Zentrum party (being more pro-state than OTL Christian-Democratic Union, since Ludwig Erhard is in South Germany); and the German People's Republic, who still have a left majority, although the non-Socialist parties were readmitted.

And now a bit about post-war Germany:
Although many Germans hope for a reunification, at the moment the Allies forbid it. And besides, the different politics are driving the three states - the decentralized, conservative, free-market FRG, the Socialist SRG and the left-wing, centralized, but decidedly anti-Communist GDR farther and farther away from each other.
The three states even are looking into different directions internationally:
The FRG to the US, France and Italy; the SRG to the Soviet Union (they have to); and the GDR to Great Britain under Attlee (Churchill lost the election of 1945, although not as badly as OTL, and Attlee took over, but Churchill stayed in the government until the war was over).

The new German states and their governments:

Federal Republic of Germany (capital: Salzburg, as a compromise between Bavaria and Austria)
The Bundeskanzler (federal chancellor) is the head of state and leads the government. His power is quite limited, though, since the central government has only a few more rights than during the time of 1871-1918.
The five states (Hesse, Baden, Württemberg, Bavaria and Austria), i.e. their respective governments are represented in the second chamber of the parliament, the Bundesrat, which can block every law made in the Bundestag, the first chamber. Elections to the Bundestag are once in five years, starting in 1949. A party that wants to gain seats has to gain 5% of the votes in one state or win a constituency. Since Ludwig Erhard's reforms started in 1948, the economy is free-market.

Christliche Volkspartei (CVP) / Österreichische Volkspartei (ÖVP) (christian-conservative), led by Josef "Ochsensepp" Müller / Leopold Figl
Deutsche Volkspartei (DVP) (liberal-national), led by Theodor Heuss
Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (SPD), led by Karl Renner
Bund der Heimatvertriebenen und Entrechteten (BHE) (refugee party), led by Theodor Oberländer
Bayernpartei (BP), led by Josef Baumgartner
Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands (KPD), led by Johann Koplenig
Verband der Unabhängigen (VdU) (right-wing), led by Herbert Kraus

Results of the first nation-wide election:
DVP: 14 (but strongest party in Württemberg)
SPD: 28
BHE: 7
BP: 5
KPD: 4
VdU: 3
Others (not represented): 6

Chancellor: Leopold Figl (ÖVP)
Exterior (since 1951): Leopold Figl (ÖVP)
Finances: Fritz Schäffer (CVP)
Justice: Thomas Dehler (DVP)
Defense: -
Social security: Wilhelm Hoegner (SPD, Bavaria)
Economy: Ludwig Erhard (no party, closest to CVP)
Traffic and Railroads: Josef Afritsch (SPD, Austria)
Post: Eberhard Wildermuth (DVP)
Inner-German affairs: Carlo Schmid (SPD)
Refugees: Hans Lukaschek (CVP)

(Yes, the central government isn't really powerful - agronomy, labor, police, culture, education from elementary schools to universities, and buildings are all state rights.)

Minister presidents:
Hesse: Werner Hilpert (CVP)
Baden: Leo Wohleb (CVP)
Württemberg: Reinhold Maier (DVP)
Bavaria: Hans Ehard (CVP)
Austria: Julius Raab (ÖVP)


German Democratic Republic (capital: Cologne)
The Kanzler (chancellor) is the head of state and leads the government, like the US president, and thus quite powerful. He's elected by the first chamber of the parliament, the Nationalrat. The second chamber, the Länderrat, isn't very influential. Elections to the Nationalrat are once in four years, starting in 1949. A party that wants to gain seats has to gain 5% of the votes in the whole state. The economy is similar as in Labor Britain: Banks, hospitals and mining were nationalized, other branches of economy are free.

Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (SPD), led by Kurt Schumacher/Erich Ollenhauer
Christlich-Demokratische Union (CDU) (christian-conservative, but weaker), led by Konrad Adenauer
Deutsche Partei (DP) (conservative to right-wing), led by Hans-Christoph Seebohm
Bund der Heimatvertriebenen und Entrechteten (BHE) (refugee party), led by Waldemar Kraft
Zentrum (left-catholic), led by Rudolf Amelunxen
Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands (KPD), led by Max Reimann
Freie Demokratische Partei (FDP) (liberal-national), led by Franz Blücher

Results of the first nation-wide election:
SPD: 38
CDU: 20
DP: 11
BHE (Allies forbad a participation): -
Z: 8
KPD: 7
FDP: 6
Other parties (not represented): 10

Chancellor: Kurt Schumacher (SPD)
Exterior (since 1951): Erich Ollenhauer (SPD)
Interior: Rudolf Amelunxen (Z)
Defense: -
Justice: Gustav Heinemann (Z)
Labor and social security: Hermann Lüdemann (SPD)
Finances: Erik Nölting (SPD)
Trade: Karl Schiller (SPD)
Montan industry and energy: Fritz Steinhoff (SPD)
Other industry: Alfred Kubel (SPD)
Agronomy: Hinrich Kopf (SPD)
Traffic and Railroads: Max Brauer (SPD)
Post: Bruno Diekmann (SPD)
Education and Culture: Adolf Grimme (SPD)
Science and Universities: Carl Spiecker (Z)
Buildings: Fritz Kassmann (SPD)
Inner-German affairs: Walter Menzel (SPD)
And the only woman, responsible for Health, Youth, Families: Annemarie Renger (SPD)


Socialist Republic of Germany (capital: Berlin):
The president (current: Wilhelm Pieck) is the head of state. The government is the Ministerrat, its head simply the Vorsitzender des Ministerrats (Otto Grotewohl), who appoints the ministers. The parliament, the Volkskammer, is elected once in five years (first free election was in 1950); they make the laws and have to approve the appointed government. Until the US interfered in 1949, the government was really controlled by the leaders of the Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands (SED) under Walter Ulbricht. The SED was founded in 1946 when the SPD was forced to unite with the KPD. In 1949, the parties split again, and Ulbricht (meanwhile "the most-hated man of Germany") also had to resign as the head of the KPD.
Most of the economy is nationalized - only small firms and farmers with less than 100 hectars land weren't expropriated. The new government didn't change those decisions, although they promised that there won't be any further expropriations. They also didn't change the structure of the government with its many ministeries (one for each branch of the nationalized economy).

Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (SPD), led by Ernst Reuter
Christlich-Demokratische Union (CDU) (christian-conservative), led by Otto Nuschke
Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands (KPD), led by Wilhelm Pieck
Liberaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands (LDPD) (liberal), led by Karl Hamann
Demokratische Bauernpartei Deutschlands (DBD) (farmers), led by Ernst Goldenbaum

Results of the first nation-wide and free election:
SPD: 39
CDU: 29
KPD: 13
LDPD: 16
DBD: 3

The new government is a coalition of SPD, KPD and DBD. It has the following
Post and Telephone

Staatssicherheit (secret service)

Economy ministeries:
Ore mining, metallurgy and kali
Electrotechnics and electronics
Coal and energy
Chemical industry
Building / construction
Glass and ceramic industries
Material industries
Vehicle industries
Machine tool industries
Heavy machines and constructions
Light industries
Food industries

And now the last news: In 1952, in both West and East Germany the centralist government dissolved the länder and replaced them by Regierungsbezirke ("administrative districts"). It's probably only coincidental, but both countries have 17 each.

Supranational organizations - a sketch

The Marshall plan (since 1947) also helps the Eastern European nations ITTL (except Finland, which the Soviet Union forbids, and for a while East Germany).

In 1949, the NATO is founded to deter the Soviet Union. At the beginning it's made of the same states as OTL; after waiting a few months, the Eastern European states including the Baltic states (despite Soviet protests) join too. Greece and Turkey join in 1952, and in 1955 even South Germany is allowed.

The EEC is founded in 1957, having the members France, South Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and Italy. After South German chancellor Figl and Austrian chancellor Raab negotiate, it's extended in 1963 to Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Yugoslavia.

Great Britain founds the EFTA as a counterpart in 1960, consisting of the Scandinavian states, GB, West Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Portugal. When the EEC extends, the EFTA in return lets the Baltic states join in 1966.

East Germany doesn't trust capitalist organizations and thus keeps out, like Finland mostly trading with the Soviet Union (under better conditions than OTL, however); fascist Spain isn't welcome in either organization; and the other states in SE Europe are considered to be too backwards. The EEC makes associational treaties with Greece, Turkey, Romania, Albania and Bulgaria, though.

The aftermath of WW2:

After Stalin's death in 1948, Malenkov becomes new leader of the Soviet Union. Beria is purged, similar as OTL. Shdanov is already dead. The new government is in a weaker situation than IOTL, and historians write that this contributed to Mao Zedong's defeat in the Chinese Civil War. Russia gets the bomb in 1950, and doesn't manage to start the first satellite, lacking German scientists. They still try to undermine America's influence by supporting Communist parties in the West, resistance organizations in the restituted kingdoms of SE Europe, and in the colonies - not always successful, although the sometimes corrupt regimes aren't popular.

The Saarland was seperated from Germany (the French demanded it); in 1955, a plebiscite would decide whether they wanted to 1) join France, 2) join South Germany, 3) join West Germany or 4) stay independent. The SPD propagated for West Germany, the CVP for South Germany, the liberals for independence. When the first plebiscite didn't turn out a clear majority, it was repeated, leaving only the two most-voted options: West or South Germany. In the end, the pro-South faction won 58:42.

Israel was founded in 1948, after the Brits decided to give control of Palestine to the United Nations. The collaboration of the Arabs with the nazis didn't make many people in the West sympathize with them, and so, it's decided to give the Jews all of Palestine including Gaza. Most Arabs leave the country, settle in Egypt or Transjordan, which becomes the republic of Jordan in the same year. As revenge for the loss of Palestine, the Arabs kick out the Jews from their countries. Israel ends up with a higher population than OTL (more than one million people more) and has a better strategic position for the future.

India was split in 1943; we remember, when the Japanese had to retreat from Bengal, they declared Bengal's independence. The artificial division wasn't long-lasting, though; after Bengal was reconquered, Gandhi did the necessary negotiations, and Bengal returned to India. The new British government gave India independence in 1947; the split into India and Pakistan was unavoidable, though.

Japan was allowed to stay an empire, but had to give up all the colonies, Okinawa, Sachalin and the Kuriles and accept the American occupation.

In China, the position of the nationalists was a bit stronger thanks to the fact that the Americans helped them conquer many areas in the North back before the Japanese surrendered. After the US mission (who wanted the nationalists and Communists to form a coalition government) had failed, Mao defeated the Chinese nationalists several times; but OTOH, he never managed to break out from Manchuria. The American threat to throw a bomb on Harbin also didn't help the Communists. Neither did the fact that Stalin died in 1948 and the following months were spent in Moscow by in-fighting for his succession, which prevented Russia interfering. The war dragged on until the cease-fire in 1952.

Korea was occupied by the US after the Japanese left it. The stronger position of the Americans in Japan and China helped them to take control of the whole country, which was never split. The Communist resistance under Kim Il Sung, supported by Russia and Mao, meant a lot a trouble for the new government, but never could take control of Korea.
German expansion (note the pocket of Jewish freedom fighters in North Palestine and the British thrust from the Sinai to rescue them):

Allied reconquests in the European theater (note the radioactive symbols):

(Areas reconquered/liberated by the Allies are in light grey for the Western Allies, dark grey for the Soviet Union.)

Here's the map of post-war Europe.

Red = Communist (duh)
light Red = minor Communist / Socialist countries
Dark Green = Founding members of EFTA
Light Green = Joining EFTA later
Dark Blue = Founding members of EEC
Light Blue = Joining EEC later

R = republic of
K = kingdom of
FRG = Federal Republic of Germany
GDR = German Democratic Republic
SPRG = Socialist People's Republic of Germany
CSR = Czechoslovakian Republic
K Gr = Kingdom of Greece
KA = Kingdom of Albania
S = Saarland (later joins FRG)
T = Free city of Triest (later divided between Italy and Yugoslavia, as OTL)

One late addition

One late addition: The two western German states (FRG and GDR) aren't allowed to reunificate. This was made clear in the treaties with the Allies.

Edit: Just because it happened a few times - if you want to discuss the TL, do it in the proper thread, which is behind [thread=7962]this link[/thread]. Thx.

Posts moved to discussion thread, BTW.
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