AHC: Western Allies conclude ceasefire with Nazi Germany

Is a ceasefire between Nazi Germany and the Western Allies at all possible?


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Is there any possible way for the United States and United Kingdom to conclude a ceasefire with Nazi Germany - or are both countries irrevocably committed to defeating Nazi Germany, whatever the consequences?

For this hypothetical, the United States has to join the war against Nazi Germany at some point (so it can't be a ceasefire only concluded between the United Kingdom and Germany)

Here are the rough contours of a scenario I've been thinking of:
-Stalin dies of a stroke in his dacha shortly after the fall of Minsk to Army Group Center
-The worst case scenario for the Soviets then unfolds. With the memory of the Great Purges still fresh in the minds of many, paranoia causes the Soviet leadership to fail come to a powersharing arrangement, and a number of ambitious individuals make a play to take power and purge potential rivals. There are multiple coup attempts (often motivated by a simple desire to take power or risk being the target of someone else's purge), some of which are successful. Some elements of the Soviet military might begin to align themselves with potential claimants to power, and there might be some degree of actual infighting between soviet units
-The Soviet War effort is thrown into complete disarray - front commanders aren't sure whose orders to follow, many military leaders are stripped of command over questions of loyalty, supplies aren't getting delivered as regularly as OTL, in the chaos much of the industry that was evacuated east IOTL falls into German hands
-Barbarossa is able to proceed according to the original plan (the diversion towards Kiev could perhaps be rendered moot if the general chaos allows Army Group South to avoid getting bogged down) by the end of 1941, Army Group North holds Leningrad, Army Group Center holds at least part of Moscow, and Army Group South holds Rostov-on-Don, ready to make a push into the Caucasus
-Japan still seems like they would have been on a collision course with the United States, so Pearl Harbor still occurs as OTL. I still feel like Germany would declare war on the United States here for the same reasons as OTL - but I suppose its possible they hold off on a DOW. Regardless of what Germany does, the undeclared war in the Atlantic is bound to bring America into the war in Europe within a few months of Pearl Harbor (it might be America declaring war after a U-boat sinks American flagged shipments of aid to the United Kingdom)
-the Soviet Union is in truly dire straights here, and looks to be on the verge of complete collapse, and begs the Western Allies to establish a Western Front
-in early 1942, the Nazis use freed up soldiers to clear out any remaining Soviet salients to shorten the front in preparation for a push to the south to secure the oil of the Caucasus
-Churchill and the British are reluctant to launch a Western Front this early (particularly because British and Commonwealth forces would supply the majority of soldiers for an invasion of Europe at this point), but are coerced into accepting the plan by Marshall and FDR
-Marshall and FDR are deeply worried about an imminent Soviet collapse that could free the German army to redeploy to the west (which would render a future invasion much more costly). German units are still mostly tied down in the east, so an invasion in 1942 presents a now or never opportunity to establish a bridgehead in Europe without massive loss of life
-the Western Allies begin to assemble forces for Operation Sledgehammer. Operation Torch is cancelled, reinforcements to Africa aren't dispatched, and Guadalcanal is delayed to provide necessary soldiers and lift for the operation
-Operation Sledgehammer is launched towards the end of the summer of 1942 (I'm admittedly unsure of how quickly the operation could be launched, so I'd be partial to the idea of delaying it if an invasion that early is simply unworkable), landing in the Cotentin peninsula with the aim of securing a bridgehead, building up a force, then undertaking a breakout in 1943.
-this invasion turns into a fiasco of unprecedented proportions, a mix of Gallipoli and Dieppe x10. It takes much longer to take Cherbourg than anticipated, and the Germans manage to wreck the port facilities before surrendering. The supply situations is tenuous at best. German units in France manage to keep the allies bottled up in the Cotentin peninsula as additional units from the East are rushed to France.
-the Luftwaffe, while not in ownership of the skies, is able to seriously contest the airspace of the allied bridgehead and inflict massive losses on the ground forces. Uboats also manage to sink some of the shipping bring supplies and reinforcements.
-a few months into the invasion, the Germans have accumulated a sufficient force in France, and begin to make an effort to dislodge the allies from the bridgehead. While the Germans suffer heavy casualties, they manage to throw the allies into the sea, with the UK and USA having to evacuate their invasion force, and many Americans and British soldiers being taken POW
-this disaster has two important political ramifications, Republicans take the House in 1942 (and pressure builds for a "Japan first" strategy), and a successful no confidence vote removes Churchill from office (assuming he doesn't resign), and he is replaced with Anthony Eden (though to be clear, this no confidence vote is more about the poor conduct of the war, rather than a desire to make peace)


Given this situation, would it be possible for some sort of ceasefire to transpire in the coming years between the Allies and Nazi Germany? Lets assume the Germans manage to finish off the Soviets in Europe, force the Soviet remnant into a ceasefire, or reach a point where the opposition faced is reduced to the point where substantial forces can be moved West.

Would a formal ceasefire be possible, or would the limit of plausibly be something akin to de facto ceasefire concluded in @CalBear 's Anglo/American Nazi War?

If my scenario is insufficient to prompt a ceasefire, are there any changes that could prompt one? or are the United States and United Kingdom destined to carry out the fight against Nazi Germany until complete victory is attained?
 
The will of the US to carry out war in Europe isn't unlimited. The will against Japan is effectively unlimited. I believe that the understanding of this is what motivated the Broad Front strategy, which is a very low-variance strategy intended to prevent the possibility of any major reverses that might blow the casualty budget that will in the US imposes on its commanders. So yeah, I could easily see a ceasefire, and perhaps even a peace treaty under such conditions. Yeah the US has the wherewithal to win, but it is unlikely to be willing to accept casualties in the millions.
 
The will of the US to carry out war in Europe isn't unlimited. The will against Japan is effectively unlimited. I believe that the understanding of this is what motivated the Broad Front strategy, which is a very low-variance strategy intended to prevent the possibility of any major reverses that might blow the casualty budget that will in the US imposes on its commanders. So yeah, I could easily see a ceasefire, and perhaps even a peace treaty under such conditions. Yeah the US has the wherewithal to win, but it is unlikely to be willing to accept casualties in the millions.

In that case, I wonder if a "Japan first" strategy that results in an invasion of Japan (and all of the casualties that entails) by, say, early-mid 1945, would help serve as a discouragement towards invading Europe.

Of course, this begs the question if the timetable for an invasion of Japan could be meaningfully moved up or not. I imagine with a primary focus on the Pacific, the United States could reach the Japanese home islands faster, but l there are probably logistical restraints that would limit just how much quicker
 
US casualties in WWII war were under 500k deaths. The American public probably would countenance a million or so to punish Japan, but it wouldn't likely countenance much more than that in Europe. Yes, going japan first might well exhaust the US public's war willingness.
 
As another aside, if there's a disaster with Operation Sledgehammer, might that convince FDR not to run for another term, and lead to someone more liable than he or Truman to conclude a ceasefire to win the Presidency in 1944?

I also wonder if in the event of a soviet collapse (or imminent collapse) if the unconditional surrender demand would still be made at Casablanca (or at a similar conference)
 
A thinkable scenario. it becomes much more thinkable, especially the peace treaty part, if Hitler dies and someone who is willing to compromise a little comes to power. For instance, Germany disgorging Western European countries (even with disarmament, neutrality, and basing rights or something) would give the WAllies a much better basis for agreeing to it. Ditto "only" taking a Brest-Litovsk portion of the Soviet Union and letting the rest remain.

A grimdark scenario in many ways, of course.
 
A thinkable scenario. it becomes much more thinkable, especially the peace treaty part, if Hitler dies and someone who is willing to compromise a little comes to power. For instance, Germany disgorging Western European countries (even with disarmament, neutrality, and basing rights or something) would give the WAllies a much better basis for agreeing to it. Ditto "only" taking a Brest-Litovsk portion of the Soviet Union and letting the rest remain.

A grimdark scenario in many ways, of course.

By 1945, Hitler wasn't in great health, and appeared to be suffering from a late stage Syphilis (or perhaps Parkinson's disease) - so I suppose it's entirely possible that he's dead within a year or two.

Granted, that leaves the Nuclear elephant in the room unaddressed. Unless Hitler dies within months of OTL - what stops the allies from using Nuclear Weapons on Germany?

I suppose its possible that any one of the other assassination attempts succeed, but that in itself presents a few other challenges. If someone kills Hitler in Paris, would Goering (whom I'd presume would be his successor here) even invade the Soviet Union? So much changes with the earlier assassination plots.

If its a post-Barbarossa plot, that has its own issues. If the war is going much better for Germany, will the plotters behind the Smolensk and Valkyrie plots even attempt or have the means to kill Hitler? If the war is going the same or worse, will the allies even care to entertain a truce?
 
@Reagent If you want a more successful Barbarossa but still have an assassination plot, I think you need the success to go to Hitler's head and have him plan even crazier stuff. Like maybe he is ordering lots of units off the front line for a wacky planned invasion of the UK or something and its hurting the German war effort but Hitler keeps ranting that the German forces should be able to prevail even with smaller numbers.
 

Geon

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While the events described in Reagent's scenario might cause Churchill's resignation I don't see any sort of peace treaty being signed. The Allies would not want Hitler or any of his successors having control of as much of Europe as they would have had given the scenario described. Lend-Lease would still continue and I could see a "warm-war" type peace existing, but just long enough for the Allies to prepare for a second invasion of Europe. Churchill or no Churchill no British PM would be able to tolerate the Germans as a perpetual "sword of Damocles" hanging over the British Isles. And Roosevelt or no Roosevelt by now there was no question in the U.S. that the Nazis were a major threat.
 
While the events described in Reagent's scenario might cause Churchill's resignation I don't see any sort of peace treaty being signed. The Allies would not want Hitler or any of his successors having control of as much of Europe as they would have had given the scenario described. Lend-Lease would still continue and I could see a "warm-war" type peace existing, but just long enough for the Allies to prepare for a second invasion of Europe. Churchill or no Churchill no British PM would be able to tolerate the Germans as a perpetual "sword of Damocles" hanging over the British Isles. And Roosevelt or no Roosevelt by now there was no question in the U.S. that the Nazis were a major threat.

I suppose the Nazis only hope then would be some sort of credible WMD deterrent to hit the United Kingdom to deter an invasion. Given the difficulties in delivering chemical weapons on the scale required, and the sorry state of the Nazi Nuclear program, Germany probably wouldn't have any chance to produce such a deterrent before a presumed Western Allied invasion (assisted by nuclear weapons used tactically) sometime in 1946 or 1947.
 
I suppose the Nazis only hope then would be some sort of credible WMD deterrent to hit the United Kingdom to deter an invasion. Given the difficulties in delivering chemical weapons on the scale required, and the sorry state of the Nazi Nuclear program, Germany probably wouldn't have any chance to produce such a deterrent before a presumed Western Allied invasion (assisted by nuclear weapons used tactically) sometime in 1946 or 1947.

According to Osprey "The 8F44G Tuman-3 was the standard chemical warhead containing a payload of 555kg of thickened VX agent. It used a proximity fuse and a burster charge to disperse the agent before impact with the ground. Depending on the burst altitude and ground wind conditions the warhead could contaminate an area up to 4km long and about 600m wide." The Scud-B had a similar size warhead to the V-2, so I'm assuming any adjustments leading to a 555kg Chemical warhead would lead to a similar one for the V-2

Modern London having a square footage of 1,583km (no idea of the historical size), it would require just over a million warheads to coat every cm of London. The Nazis averaged about 660 Rockets per month. So with just mittelwork producing V2's it would take about 133 years to get enough rockets to destroy london. Buuut, since the V2's were built using slave labor I could see multiple production lines being set up and manufacturing increasing in efficency.

I think the hardest part is figuring out how many Casualties the British would need to suffer, in order to be a potential deterrent, it may not be necessary to kill quite literally, everything that breaths in London in order to be an effective deterrent. Although I'm not sure how keen the Allies would be to potentially nuke their way into Germany, considering they be blowing up French and Benelux soil first.
 
By 1945, Hitler wasn't in great health, and appeared to be suffering from a late stage Syphilis (or perhaps Parkinson's disease)

Definitely Parkinson's disease.

so I suppose it's entirely possible that he's dead within a year or two.

A doctor who saw him just before the end said "there would be no st Helena for Adolf Hitler" and he had "one, two, maybe three years left to live."
 
I voted yes simply because nearly anything is always possible, maybe in ways I can't think of.

That said, the scenario provided here is extremely unlikely. The British, although feeling not ready for a landing in Europe, and not having air superiority, get coerced by the US decision makers? Nah. A now-or-never opportunity? Nah. These are the guys of the slow-but-sure methods. Even if the Germans reach Baku in 1942, so what, there's some 18 months before they can get the wells operational again after the Soviet scorched-earth destruction of the same. The British will be happy with a typically peripheral strategy, say Sicily; and if they're the ones providing most of the troops, the US don't have a vote as to the objective.
 
I voted yes simply because nearly anything is always possible, maybe in ways I can't think of.

That said, the scenario provided here is extremely unlikely. The British, although feeling not ready for a landing in Europe, and not having air superiority, get coerced by the US decision makers? Nah. A now-or-never opportunity? Nah. These are the guys of the slow-but-sure methods. Even if the Germans reach Baku in 1942, so what, there's some 18 months before they can get the wells operational again after the Soviet scorched-earth destruction of the same. The British will be happy with a typically peripheral strategy, say Sicily; and if they're the ones providing most of the troops, the US don't have a vote as to the objective.

So Sledgehammer being launched in 1942 is completely ASB - even if the Soviets are on the verge of collapse (which is a far bigger concern, I'd argue, than Germans capturing oil in Baku)? If that's the case, would it still be possible for the United States to push for a cross-channel invasion in 1943 when American forces will be at parity, or a larger component than the British/Commonwealth forces - and would the Germans stand any chance of defeating such an invasion?
 
So Sledgehammer being launched in 1942 is completely ASB

Didn't say that. It looks highly unlikely to me.

- even if the Soviets are on the verge of collapse (which is a far bigger concern, I'd argue, than Germans capturing oil in Baku)?

Not as different as they seem, in my opinion. If the SU entirely collapses but the Germans don't get any oil for a year or more, they still have a mighty eastern mess on their hands and little mobility.

If that's the case, would it still be possible for the United States to push for a cross-channel invasion in 1943 when American forces will be at parity, or a larger component than the British/Commonwealth forces - and would the Germans stand any chance of defeating such an invasion?

Yes and, I suppose so, yes. Note there would be an Italian campaign, and/or possibly a Greek campaign also going on.
 
Maybe because of the reasons you outlined, the USSR caves in 42, 43. The Allies take Africa but can't get into Europe (say Germany sends its Eastern veterans to the Atlantic Wall) without immense casualties and the US opts to drive back Japan while building up for a dday that never comes (allied planners unwilling and unable to land against extremely heavy German defences). Perhaps they try to hit Italy and are forced to retreat. Eventually a de facto situation develops on the continent that eventually becomes a begrudging ceasefire by 45 or 46. Granted i dunno how to reason away the a bomb
 
I don't believe you need to reason away the Atomic Bomb. By 1950 the USA had only 300 Atomic weapons, Im sure that has more to do with ability to produce them than the desire to produce them.

I imagine most of those would be roughly the same tonnage as the weapons dropped over Nagasaki and Hiroshima. They're closer to the size of weapons we consider tactical than the strategic nuclear weapons we mount on ICBMs, they wanted to use 7 in direct support of Downfall's beach landings.

So I don't think you would see Atomic bombings of Germany unless it was in support of landings/conventional operations, or B-the USA has enough Megaton sized warheads, and the ability to breach German air defenses in sufficient numbers to crush them in a single blow.
 
Maybe because of the reasons you outlined, the USSR caves in 42, 43. The Allies take Africa but can't get into Europe (say Germany sends its Eastern veterans to the Atlantic Wall)

When you dig through the statements from Germans who fought both the Red Army & the British & US in 1944 the tendency is experience fighting in the east was not full preparation for fighting in the west. They found they could not cope with the firepower & tactics that worked against Red Army got you killed in the west.

without immense casualties

By the spring of 1942 the Germans had already taken immense casualties. It takes a really extreme PoD to waive away those and later losses subduing the Red Army.

I don't believe you need to reason away the Atomic Bomb. By 1950 the USA had only 300 Atomic weapons, Im sure that has more to do with ability to produce them than the desire to produce them.

The target for the design of the Hanford Plutonium breeder reactors was enough Plutonium in 1946 for 36+ bombs. As built the initial production rate was a little lower. Since production was ceased in September 1945 we will never know for sure. Rhodes in his 'The Making of the Atomic Bomb' cites estimates at least 18 Pu bombs could have been provided in 1946. For 1945 its a bit easier to estimate. There was the test core of the TRINITY test, the Nagasaki device, a third core enroute to Tinian in August, which would have been ready for use in September. Unshaped Pu for a fourth was near ready for shipment from Haniford. At the production rates of June-September material for at least three more cores could have been ready by December.

What was available for more Uranium bombs I'm unsure. A decision was made in early 1945 to cease Uranium production & focus on the Plutonium bomb instead.

I imagine most of those would be roughly the same tonnage as the weapons dropped over Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

Yes, Parsons crew had completed assembly of a half dozen bombs in August, with no Plutonium cores. Components for 12 to 24 more were accumulated, depending on which version you read. I've never read anything indicating Parsons designed any other sized implosion devices. He was working inside what the physicists estimated the optimal minimum size device ought to be. Which was probably a guess.
 
When you dig through the statements from Germans who fought both the Red Army & the British & US in 1944 the tendency is experience fighting in the east was not full preparation for fighting in the west. They found they could not cope with the firepower & tactics that worked against Red Army got you killed in the west.

Seeing as German firepower and tactics in 1944 weren’t really working against the Red Army either, that doesn’t really say much.
 
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Seeing as German firepower and tactics in 1944 weren’t really working against the Red Army either, that doesn’t really say much.

Point. Its difficult to separated Wehrmacht competency from the deep & long runing effects of bad strategic choices. My remark leans heavily on the views of German soldiers and generals, and that the casualty ratios the Wehrmacht inflicted and received in various categories & fronts. ie: Was the destruction of AG Center the result of being placed in a impossible position, or because the German army could not fight the Red Army any longer. Similarly was the destruction of the 7th Army & the Pz Group in Normandy the result of Allied firepower of the inability of Hither to understand the bad position of that battle?
 
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