AHC: Germany starts WWII in the west, with Poland as a neutral barrage keeping the Soviets away

raharris1973

Gone Fishin'
What it says in the tin. [Note: See edited title. The original title was open to gross misinterpretation of my intention for this thread. I meant after WWI, after Versailles, after 1919, a WWII, meaning a war *starting* anytime in the 1920s or a later decade.]

Somehow a revanchist Germany ends up being able to count on Franco-Polish diplomatic separation and Polish neutrality, and ends up fighting France with Poland neutral, but gets to enjoy that there is no border with the Soviet Union.
 
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????
Poland mattered very little in OTL's collapse of 1918! Yes, if fighting had gone on into 1919, it could have become another front. But I see no way without an earlier PoD for fighting to go on into 1919.
The Hindenburg Line was broken, Anglo-French and US forces advanced on a broad line towards the empire's borders while German units didn't retreat orderly into some new defensive position, no, they hurried back Eastwards, with tens of thousands of deserters disappearing from the front in the process and much valuable materiel left behind.
Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire had collapsed. Not only could they no longer distract any Entente forces and draw them towards them. But also, their surrender meant that the Entente didn't even have to push on from the West only. They could just take the train to Salzburg and roll up Germany from its unprotected South-Eastern flank. Or take the train to Decin and march through the Elbe gorge and onwards to Berlin.
You don't need a Polish front for Germany not to be able to fight on into 1919.
And that's not even taking the Revolution into account. You'd at least need to remove the Kiel Mutiny and the subsequent revolution to keep the German Empire in the war in any shape. (A very bad one indeed.)
 
The German government at the time actually had pretty good relations with the Soviet Union, something that would continue through the 1920s, and if anything were more worried about the Poles.
 
Meh the only really realistic way for Germany to win world war 1 is to keep out Britain from the war in the first place or stop unrestricted submarine warfare
 

nbcman

Donor
The Germans still lose as the Entente is already occupying the Rhineland by late 1918, the HSF had been interned in Scapa Flow, and the German Army had already began surrendering weapons. How would the Germans be able to fight when they've surrendered a large portion of German territory in the west as well as beginning to surrender heavy weapons - not to mention facing revolution in the streets of Germany.
 
The Entente smash Germany through the south invading Bavaria as A-H is already history, plus there is the little fact that the population lacked food
 

raharris1973

Gone Fishin'
????
Poland mattered very little in OTL's collapse of 1918! Yes, if fighting had gone on into 1919, it could have become another front. But I see no way without an earlier PoD for fighting to go on into 1919.
The Hindenburg Line was broken, Anglo-French and US forces advanced on a broad line towards the empire's borders while German units didn't retreat orderly into some new defensive position, no, they hurried back Eastwards, with tens of thousands of deserters disappearing from the front in the process and much valuable materiel left behind.
Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire had collapsed. Not only could they no longer distract any Entente forces and draw them towards them. But also, their surrender meant that the Entente didn't even have to push on from the West only. They could just take the train to Salzburg and roll up Germany from its unprotected South-Eastern flank. Or take the train to Decin and march through the Elbe gorge and onwards to Berlin.
You don't need a Polish front for Germany not to be able to fight on into 1919.
And that's not even taking the Revolution into account. You'd at least need to remove the Kiel Mutiny and the subsequent revolution to keep the German Empire in the war in any shape. (A very bad one indeed.)
The German government at the time actually had pretty good relations with the Soviet Union, something that would continue through the 1920s, and if anything were more worried about the Poles.
Meh the only really realistic way for Germany to win world war 1 is to keep out Britain from the war in the first place or stop unrestricted submarine warfare
The Germans still lose as the Entente is already occupying the Rhineland by late 1918, the HSF had been interned in Scapa Flow, and the German Army had already began surrendering weapons. How would the Germans be able to fight when they've surrendered a large portion of German territory in the west as well as beginning to surrender heavy weapons - not to mention facing revolution in the streets of Germany.
The Entente smash Germany through the south invading Bavaria as A-H is already history, plus there is the little fact that the population lacked food
All valid responses if you believe I was talking about a continuation of WWI into WWI, but I wasn't. But such confusion was understandable. OP now edited.
 
What it says in the tin. [Note: See edited title. The original title was open to gross misinterpretation of my intention for this thread. I meant after WWI, after Versailles, after 1919, a WWII, meaning a war *starting* anytime in the 1920s or a later decade.]

Somehow a revanchist Germany ends up being able to count on Franco-Polish diplomatic separation and Polish neutrality, and ends up fighting France with Poland neutral, but gets to enjoy that there is no border with the Soviet Union.
There are two possibilities.

1) The Germans attempt this without the stepping-stones method of OTL. They don't annex Austria, the Sudeten, Memel, don't turn the remaining Czechoslovakia into a Protectorate plus a puppet state, and go straight for France at some point. Result: they lack the strength and wherewithal, the French win, presumably with the help of other players. In the best case, the Germans make some inroads, and then are stymied, also because of the usual British solution, the blockade.

2) The Germans do all the above prep work. This shows they are flighty, untrustworthy scoundrels as per OTL, their signature being as worthy as that of Hitler, and the Poles, who can read the writing on the wall, step back from their detachment from France. When the Germans attack West, the Poles attack Eastern Prussia. The premise of the thread falls through the floor.
 

raharris1973

Gone Fishin'
Hm, probably requires a Notler.
Actually Hitler for the years 1934-1938 had a better relationship with Poland than the Weimar Republic and Reichswehr did, and was more open to pragmatic deadlings with them than the Prussian military establishment. This doesn't so much require a Notler, as it requires Hitler to keep his 1938 attitude going on longer until he has taken care of France.

The Germans do all the above prep work. This shows they are flighty, untrustworthy scoundrels as per OTL, their signature being as worthy as that of Hitler, and the Poles, who can read the writing on the wall, step back from their detachment from France. When the Germans attack West, the Poles attack Eastern Prussia.
But is this anything that 16-18 Divisions and a Nonaggression Pact cannot deter, or failing that, stop? Hitler was content to guard the east during his 1940 campaign in the west with 16-18 divisions plus paper promises against the USSR. Won't that be enough to stop Poland?

If Poland attacks frontier regions, whether it gains any ground or not, but France is crushed, Poland will be mighty embarassed. Right after armistice with France, Hitler's range of options runs from a) an ultimatum to be restored all territories, disputed territories and the corridor, b) an ultimatum to provide whole 1914 border, c) a campaign to grab the 1914 border, or d) a campaign to completely destroy Poland. The potential reason to not do d) immediately is to avoid having to share any Polish territory or concede any Baltic states to the USSR. Why move out Volsdeutsch from there who will only be moved back later.
 
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Actually Hitler for the years 1934-1938 had a better relationship with Poland than the Weimar Republic and Reichswehr did, and was more open to pragmatic deadlings with them than the Prussian military establishment. This doesn't so much require a Notler, as it requires Hitler to keep his 1938 attitude going on longer until he has taken care of France.
If something requires a Hitler who doesn't behave like OTL Hitler through and through, that is the definition of a Notler, isn't it ;-)
Hitler had long sought Lebensraum in the East. Hitler without his Lebensraum-fixation is like Hitler without his Jew-fixation: a Notler.
 

raharris1973

Gone Fishin'
If something requires a Hitler who doesn't behave like OTL Hitler through and through, that is the definition of a Notler, isn't it ;-)
Hitler had long sought Lebensraum in the East. Hitler without his Lebensraum-fixation is like Hitler without his Jew-fixation: a Notler.
This isn’t permanent, it’s tactical. If that meets your definition of Notler then OTL Hitler was Notler during his period of the observance of the M-R Pact and was Notler during his period of observance of the Nazi Polish nonaggression pact 1939-1940. So Hitler was Notler was 7 of the 12 years of his regime I guess in OTL.
 
But is this anything that 16-18 Divisions and a Nonaggression Pact cannot deter, or failing that, stop? Hitler was content to guard the east during his 1940 campaign in the west with 16-18 divisions plus paper promises against the USSR. Won't that be enough to stop Poland?
No, and apart from that, I wouldn't make the mistake of thinking that the Heer and Luftwaffe of 1940 are the same as those of 1939.
16 divisions on garrison duties in Poland in 1940 is about 10% of the total of available divisions in 1940.
10% of the total available German divisions in 1939 isn't 16 divisions; it's 10 divisions.

If Poland attacks frontier regions, whether it gains any ground or not, but France is crushed, Poland will be mighty embarassed.
That's the big if. With only 10 divisions facing them, the Poles won't just gain terrain in frontier regions, they'll be heading for Stettin and Breslau within three days. Meanwhile, the Germans only have 90 divisions against France, while in OTL 1940 they used 140.
 
This isn’t permanent, it’s tactical. If that meets your definition of Notler then OTL Hitler was Notler during his period of the observance of the M-R Pact and was Notler during his period of observance of the Nazi Polish nonaggression pact 1939-1940. So Hitler was Notler was 7 of the 12 years of his regime I guess in OTL.
So his tactic is to knock the French out first so he can concentrate on the East more easily later? Mega-Schlieffen?
Apart from his experience with the real Schlieffen Plan, could he delude himself (well, he could delude himself into believing many things...) into thinking that really knocking out France for good (Vichy-style) wouldn't inevitably bring the British into the war?
And if he takes that into account, what is changed, other than the order of things (first France, then Poland, i.e. first the stronger enemy, then the weaker one)?
 
Germany defeated France in less than two months. I think that they would have done much worse if they didn't take out Poland first.

Germany in 1940 was much stronger than in 1939. While there wasn't too much a difference between 1939 France and 1940 France.

I don't think Poland backstabs Germany, but I think Germany would be less likely to steamroll France.
 
Meh the only really realistic way for Germany to win world war 1 is to keep out Britain from the war in the first place or stop unrestricted submarine warfare
IMO they could've won as late as the spring offensives, even with Wilson in the war, if they resisted the urge for a Clausewitzian all or nothing battle and instead of trying to take Paris simply drove the British into the Somme in Operation Michael, which would cripple French industry with the loss of Bethune and unleash the U Boats into the channel which would cripple Allied logistics. American troops and officers were untrained and inexperienced
 

raharris1973

Gone Fishin'
No, and apart from that, I wouldn't make the mistake of thinking that the Heer and Luftwaffe of 1940 are the same as those of 1939.
16 divisions on garrison duties in Poland in 1940 is about 10% of the total of available divisions in 1940.
10% of the total available German divisions in 1939 isn't 16 divisions; it's 10 divisions.



That's the big if. With only 10 divisions facing them, the Poles won't just gain terrain in frontier regions, they'll be heading for Stettin and Breslau within three days. Meanwhile, the Germans only have 90 divisions against France, while in OTL 1940 they used 140.
Germany defeated France in less than two months. I think that they would have done much worse if they didn't take out Poland first.

Germany in 1940 was much stronger than in 1939. While there wasn't too much a difference between 1939 France and 1940 France.

I don't think Poland backstabs Germany, but I think Germany would be less likely to steamroll France.





@ Michele and @Black - I would agree that attacking France in 1939 is not a good look for Germany, no matter what Poland does or does not do.

The German force is much smaller in summer 1939 or fall 1939, and a fall campaign leaves a shorter fighting season window.

But what if 1939 is a quiet year for the Germans after they grab Bohemia, and they just secretly build up for a surprise attack in the west in May 1940, without going to war with Poland in the meantime?

Sure the Germans don't get to loot occupied Poland, but it was not a very rich country anyway [I always had the impression that Austria and Bohemia were the financially and industrially lucrative eastern targets]. If they do not attack Poland in 1939 they are not in a declared war with Britain and France, and not under blockade, they should be able to build up to a strength of 140 divisions in the west and 16 divisions in the east by May 1940. The Germans have time to come up with a decent plan for the west. The British and French are rearming, but less mobilized, with the BEF not even in France yet.

Theoretically the Poles could attack in the east, but their odds are not as decent as in the 1939 scenario described. Keeping Poland out, and keeping the WAllies more lulled could be especially reinforced if Hitler simply communicate at any point in late '38 or through '39 or early '40 in public any urgent need to change the status of corridor or Danzig or complain about Poland.

So his tactic is to knock the French out first so he can concentrate on the East more easily later? Mega-Schlieffen?
So the operational details of the 1940 plan differed a bit from Schlieffen, but in fundamental grand strategy, this is what Hitler advocated in Mein Kampf, the Hossbach memorandum and carried out in real life. He just added an extra dance move to the east along with the nonaggression pact fake-out with Russia as well, which none of his earlier writings predicted or proposed.


Apart from his experience with the real Schlieffen Plan, could he delude himself (well, he could delude himself into believing many things...) into thinking that really knocking out France for good (Vichy-style) wouldn't inevitably bring the British into the war?
Well, he did seem delusional in his earlier writings, especially after the Anglo-French disagreement over the Ruhr, that he could separate the two and align with Britain. By the time of the Hossbach memorandum in 1937, he was convinced Britain would oppose him at some point, but also convinced they could be convinced to quit if deprived of a continental ally.



And if he takes that into account, what is changed, other than the order of things (first France, then Poland, i.e. first the stronger enemy, then the weaker one)?
This is fundamentally true - he is changing the order things more than anything else. If he's gotta move east in 1941, he will be faced the uncoordinated resistances of the Poles [assuming the Poles did not throw themselves into the fray in 1940] and Soviets in sequence. The differences will be that in addition to his Balkan allies like Hungary and Romania (which starts in possession of Bessarabia), he also likely starts with Estonia and Latvia as allies.
 
The Germans are not given competence of arms in WW2 by a gift from the gods. Their performance in France was a direct result of doctrinal lessons learned and acted upon after the Poland campaign.

Any attempt of Blitzkreig ' Mk1' against the French in 39 or even 40 without the real world lessons, particularly facing cross service comms and supply, would have been a dismal failure.
 
But what if 1939 is a quiet year for the Germans after they grab Bohemia, and they just secretly build up for a surprise attack in the west in May 1940, without going to war with Poland in the meantime?

Sure the Germans don't get to loot occupied Poland, but it was not a very rich country anyway [I always had the impression that Austria and Bohemia were the financially and industrially lucrative eastern targets]. If they do not attack Poland in 1939 they are not in a declared war with Britain and France, and not under blockade, they should be able to build up to a strength of 140 divisions in the west and 16 divisions in the east by May 1940. The Germans have time to come up with a decent plan for the west. The British and French are rearming, but less mobilized, with the BEF not even in France yet.
Well, in theory.
Note however

1) Hitler has to sell his wars to both his generals (who, at least according to what they said later, were constantly sharpening their daggers) and to his population. He cannot tell the generals, in February 1940, oh, in April we attack France. Nor can he start the propaganda campaign with less than a few months to go. The campaign has to be pretty violent - the Germans actually would have preferred peace in 1939, but could fathom a short war against a minor power, Poland. A war against France - and Britain - is entirely another matter. Such a long and rabid campaign warns the French, and, ideally, the British.

2) Germany is not under a blockade - so what do they pay South American oil with? The gold of Prague gave them some breathing space in OTL, but the economic situation was still pretty brinky. If they are not Blitzkrieging here and there, then it's harder for them to purchase Romanian oil and Swedish iron at discount prices, especially Romanian oil (France is still there, allied with Romania). What about the bonds due in 1940? Mostly held by German savers and German banks, their payment was postponed by the state: don't you know there's a war on? But if there is no war, that will be a default, at the beginning of 1940.
Still with regard to the economic side of things, Poland was not rich but it still provided food (and if you want a maximum effort in mobilization, you'll be simply short on farm boys; if you make the Poles go hungry you can make up for that) and Pomeranian coal. Note the economy is linked with #1 above as to the population's stance. As of the summer of 1939, in Berlin it was getting difficult to purchase razors, good-quality soap, leather boots. Civilians dislike that, but, again, they can get it if the country is at war (and even better if it's winning). If the country is at peace, they'll grumble.

3) A minor point, but by 1940 the Heer was recruiting Germans (not Poles yet) from the Wartheland and other new eastern Gaue, Polish territory they had directly annexed to Germany (as opposed to set aside as the General Governatorate). That's not much, but it's probably still a couple of divisions.
 
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