Border Fortification as reparations, rather than disarmament?

Make Germany pay for fortification in her neighbors lands, would...


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Ok, so we all know that the ToV et al; was a hot mess, and led to hatred against the Entente and a desire for revenge by the Germans, but what if, instead of taking little bits and pieces of Germany away, plus all her overseas colonies, AND disarmament of Germany as well on top of all that, the Entente had instead forced the Germany to pay to fortify the Franco-German border with something like the Maginot Line, right after the war? Makes this ATL line extend all the way to the sea, and you eliminate any reason for the Germans to invade Belgium in the future, as they cannot outflank the French border defenses by doing so anymore, and for the Belgians, also make the Germans pay to fortify their border with Germany.

Don't take Germans lands, and then try to hold them forever (not even A/L), but rather put the fortifications on foreign (non-German) soil, so we eliminate the German desire to 'take back' their lost territory and avoid many of the reasons for WWII. With respect to A/L, build the defenses on the pre-war borders, at Germany's expense, and then, in a few years time (but after the defensive line is built), hold a vote, and if A/L joins France, it is all good, and then the French can build a new line at the new border, at their own expense, but if the folks in A/L want to be independent of either France or Germany, then you will not have built fortifications on soil not French, and will have thus avoided giving the Germans one more reason for round two.

So, in addition to paying for the rebuilding of war torn regions of Belgium and France, how about building fortifications (at German expense) to keep them out in the future?
 
Don't take Germans lands, and then try to hold them forever (not even A/L)
A ToV in which France not even gains Alsace Lorraine?
I simply cannot see such a thing happening...
No way the French would accept such a thing after losing more than a million men and why would Britain and the US be super-lenient on the same Germany which made them enter the war and created a precedent for what happens to the losing side at Brest-Litovsk?

Also, why does the poll contain no 'this is a terrible idea' options?
 
A ToV in which France not even gains Alsace Lorraine?
I simply cannot see such a thing happening...
No way the French would accept such a thing after losing more than a million men and why would Britain and the US be super-lenient on the same Germany which made them enter the war and created a precedent for what happens to the losing side at Brest-Litovsk?

Also, why does the poll contain no 'this is a terrible idea' options?
I know not how to alter a poll after hitting the post button, perhaps?

Anyway, if you can suspend your disbelief long enough, can you give feedback on the idea of making the Germans pay to build the equivalent of the Maginot Line, but in 1919 onward to completion all the way to the channel coast?

Keep in mind, if France does get A/L, then they (and not Germany) must pay to run the line of forts along this border.
 
f. Is the same as demanding Germany pay France in any other ways: it doesn't really matter whether Germany pays in cash that has to be dedicated to fortifications or not, at least as long as the amount is less than France would have spent on fortifications anyway.

Plus
"in addition to paying for the rebuilding of war torn regions of Belgium and France, how about building fortifications (at German expense) to keep them out in the future?"

This implies more reparations than Germany paid in OTL, which is going to be enough to stoke resentment

Finally, the claim that "we all know that the ToV et al; was a hot mess, and led to hatred against the Entente and a desire for revenge by the Germans" isn't one everyone is going to agree with. Given Germany didn't admit it was defeated any penalties are going to be resented. Indeed, many Germans seem to have expected to gain from the peace (no reparations plus the incorporation of the German speaking elements of the Austro-Hungarian empire).
 
Ps, OTL I know of several forests in my part of Belgium that were 'replanted' by German POW's as a kind of reparation. Probably to make up for all the forests they either chopped down or blown up in artillery barrages.


I am doubtful about them rebuilding the Belgian forts however. After all, they ran over those forts already once in 1914. Just rebuilding them, even twice as strong, would just invite the Germans to try again with more modern equipment next time. The war clearly pointed out that the concept was outdated. The only defense that worked by 1918 would be several miles of trenches manned with pretty much all able-bodied men your country could muster.
 
A ToV in which France not even gains Alsace Lorraine?
I simply cannot see such a thing happening...
No way the French would accept such a thing after losing more than a million men and why would Britain and the US be super-lenient on the same Germany which made them enter the war and created a precedent for what happens to the losing side at Brest-Litovsk?

Also, why does the poll contain no 'this is a terrible idea' options?
100% agree with this. France starts trying to find a way to attack Germany for A/L in all likelihood anyways.
 
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f. Is the same as demanding Germany pay France in any other ways: it doesn't really matter whether Germany pays in cash that has to be dedicated to fortifications or not, at least as long as the amount is less than France would have spent on fortifications anyway.

Plus
"in addition to paying for the rebuilding of war torn regions of Belgium and France, how about building fortifications (at German expense) to keep them out in the future?"

This implies more reparations than Germany paid in OTL, which is going to be enough to stoke resentment
Of course it will, but when the USA publishes what France is trying to demand, and offers to mediate, this is suddenly going to look very attractive to almost all German people, as well as being fair to all parties, and if the French want to try to keep the war going, until they can achieve their desired outcome, they have to do it without UK and US support. If they were dumb enough to try that, then the peace terms would be worse and worse for France, and knowing that going in, would they be likely to keep pressing for a conquerors peace that they want to impose on Germany, but risking having the same thing imposed upon themselves instead.
Finally, the claim that "we all know that the ToV et al; was a hot mess, and led to hatred against the Entente and a desire for revenge by the Germans" isn't one everyone is going to agree with.
Granted, but then again, neither were the otl terms of the ToV et al, and they cannot argue that the history we got had nothing to do with that.
Given Germany didn't admit it was defeated any penalties are going to be resented.
My thinking is that, the USA publicly shames France for the terms they are seeking, and lets France know, if they try to go on the offensive and continue the war, they will do so alone, and at their own risk of a worse peace, the longer they chose to stubbornly drag things out. If the French to resume hostilities, and the UK asd US forces make it clear that they are staying out of the renewed fighting while France "gets it out of their system", and then realizing that they really cannot conquer Germany on their own, they are going to have to make a peace that doesn't permanently weaken Germany, and the whole world is going to be watching the war being continuing, because of France.
Indeed, many Germans seem to have expected to gain from the peace (no reparations plus the incorporation of the German speaking elements of the Austro-Hungarian empire).
No German gains against France or Belgium, but no German disarmament, either, and A/L is decided by public Plebsighte, and without any French/German occupation in the meantime, so the votes will be fair and binding on all parties, with the Honor of both the contending parties on the line if the try to interfere, or ignore the local populations wishes.

Of course, I don't know how the people there will vote, but that really is the path of least resistance and lingering, festering resentment. Who knows, maybe the folks their will come up with something else? A non-fortified, independant, and free zone perhaps? Who knows.
Ps, OTL I know of several forests in my part of Belgium that were 'replanted' by German POW's as a kind of reparation. Probably to make up for all the forests they either chopped down or blown up in artillery barrages.
Well, at least something good was historically attempted, but this thread is trying to find something more than just that.
I am doubtful about them rebuilding the Belgian forts however. After all, they ran over those forts already once in 1914. Just rebuilding them, even twice as strong, would just invite the Germans to try again with more modern equipment next time.
I don't see that, but what about the Germans having to pay for the building of the Maginot Line, extending from the Swiss border to the sea? This would make it pointless for the Germans to invade Belgium again, in an attempt to outflank the French defenses, as there would now to no gap to try to head for.
The war clearly pointed out that the concept was outdated. The only defense that worked by 1918 would be several miles of trenches manned with pretty much all able-bodied men your country could muster.
So, what would you solution be? Annexing German territory gives them the reason to try to take those lands back, not taking them in the first place prevents that excuse from ever existing.

You bring up an interesting point, what would make Belgium better, if not fortifications on their border with Germany?
100% agree with this. France starts trying to find a way to attack Germany for A/L in all likelihood anyways.
^^
This.

Let the French get this out of their system, while the world waits and watches the war being extended at France's insistence, and the blame for the continued fighting lies squarely on France, and when the French are defeated by trying to go it alone, they have to be made to face the harsh reality, that it is Germany that is the stronger, and even if they managed to take A/L, the UK and the US are not going to help them break Germany, and will not be helping them when the Germans come round for the next round.

The French cannot conquer Germany, simple as that, so any peace like OTL's conquerors peace imposed by the Entente on a defeated Germany is always going to fester hatred for the French in Germany, which will lead to a next war, sooner or later.

So, if the best that the French can get is a peace where the Germans have to pay for their Maginot Line, and A/L gets to decide for themselves which nation they want to join, or to remain independent, will France fight on (and if so, for how long) or finally come to the table and negotiate in good faith?
 
How in the world did you come to the conclusion that these things are somehow not going to be paid for by the Germans? When I say rebuilt, I;m meaning that they regions are returned to their pre-war state, with all mines and unexploded ordnance removed, and a fund set up to cover the costs, years later, for those that were missed.

And just like historically, the Americans are going to be lending Germany the money to do all of this, while making a profit off these loans , right?

You are reading the other threads on this, right?
Yes, I made the mistake of replaying to the wrong thread, I deleted my post
sorry
 
As much as border fortrifications are valuable in the interwar period they are literally as secret as the Nuclear silo's of the cold war. As such under no circumstances would a potential enemy be allowed to know the following.

1: locations of said fortrifications.
2:Cost of said fortrifications.
3:equipment contained within said fortrifications.

So for example the Germans would know how much the concrete is worth and by knowing how many cubic yards got bought roughly the size of the fortrifications.

Knowing how much soil is moved, knowing how much steel is used etc. All of this is fertile terrain for Spy operations. Made easier with the bill going to the Germans.
 
As much as border fortrifications are valuable in the interwar period they are literally as secret as the Nuclear silo's of the cold war. As such under no circumstances would a potential enemy be allowed to know the following.

1: locations of said fortrifications.
2:Cost of said fortrifications.
3:equipment contained within said fortrifications.

So for example the Germans would know how much the concrete is worth and by knowing how many cubic yards got bought roughly the size of the fortrifications.

Knowing how much soil is moved, knowing how much steel is used etc. All of this is fertile terrain for Spy operations. Made easier with the bill going to the Germans.
This is a very productive post, on topic, and bringing up valid issues that would indeed need to be addresses, thanks for your thoughts.

If your interested, how could these concerns be addressed, and what kind of oversight (by a third party --- aka the USA), help in keeping the French from padding their bills, or using the money for something else entirely?
 
Of course it will, but ....
I'm afraid we're just going to have to disagree on what German reaction to different terms would be, so let's leave that there as it is unknown.

Having said that though, I don't see any any response to my point that money is fungible, meaning it doesn't matter whether Germany pays reparations for fortification or for unspecified purposes. Sorry if I missed it.

I would also add the point that if you are suggesting larger reparations than were supposed to be paid then this is not going to be possible as they would have to be paid out of a trade surplus that just couldn't be generated without military occupation forcibly keeping wages down and workers working
 
Of course it will, but when the USA publishes what France is trying to demand, and offers to mediate, this is suddenly going to look very attractive to almost all German people, as well as being fair to all parties, and if the French want to try to keep the war going, until they can achieve their desired outcome, they have to do it without UK and US support. If they were dumb enough to try that, then the peace terms would be worse and worse for France, and knowing that going in, would they be likely to keep pressing for a conquerors peace that they want to impose on Germany, but risking having the same thing imposed upon themselves instead.

Granted, but then again, neither were the otl terms of the ToV et al, and they cannot argue that the history we got had nothing to do with that.

My thinking is that, the USA publicly shames France for the terms they are seeking, and lets France know, if they try to go on the offensive and continue the war, they will do so alone, and at their own risk of a worse peace, the longer they chose to stubbornly drag things out. If the French to resume hostilities, and the UK asd US forces make it clear that they are staying out of the renewed fighting while France "gets it out of their system", and then realizing that they really cannot conquer Germany on their own, they are going to have to make a peace that doesn't permanently weaken Germany, and the whole world is going to be watching the war being continuing, because of France.

No German gains against France or Belgium, but no German disarmament, either, and A/L is decided by public Plebsighte, and without any French/German occupation in the meantime, so the votes will be fair and binding on all parties, with the Honor of both the contending parties on the line if the try to interfere, or ignore the local populations wishes.

Of course, I don't know how the people there will vote, but that really is the path of least resistance and lingering, festering resentment. Who knows, maybe the folks their will come up with something else? A non-fortified, independant, and free zone perhaps? Who knows.

Well, at least something good was historically attempted, but this thread is trying to find something more than just that.

I don't see that, but what about the Germans having to pay for the building of the Maginot Line, extending from the Swiss border to the sea? This would make it pointless for the Germans to invade Belgium again, in an attempt to outflank the French defenses, as there would now to no gap to try to head for.

So, what would you solution be? Annexing German territory gives them the reason to try to take those lands back, not taking them in the first place prevents that excuse from ever existing.

You bring up an interesting point, what would make Belgium better, if not fortifications on their border with Germany?

^^
This.

Let the French get this out of their system, while the world waits and watches the war being extended at France's insistence, and the blame for the continued fighting lies squarely on France, and when the French are defeated by trying to go it alone, they have to be made to face the harsh reality, that it is Germany that is the stronger, and even if they managed to take A/L, the UK and the US are not going to help them break Germany, and will not be helping them when the Germans come round for the next round.

The French cannot conquer Germany, simple as that, so any peace like OTL's conquerors peace imposed by the Entente on a defeated Germany is always going to fester hatred for the French in Germany, which will lead to a next war, sooner or later.

So, if the best that the French can get is a peace where the Germans have to pay for their Maginot Line, and A/L gets to decide for themselves which nation they want to join, or to remain independent, will France fight on (and if so, for how long) or finally come to the table and negotiate in good faith?
France isn't making peace without AL and by 1918 after the armistice the German army has basically already dissolved & handed over a large amount of its weapon as collateral for the armistice it can't go back to the line and hope to hold it..... (and the fleet to RN so saving a huge amount of RN manpower/shells)
The French may find it slow to win by themselves (And really GB will help them even without the USA who is unlikely to want to leave the alliance at this stage over AL that has clearly been promised to them), but it will just lead to Germany (and maybe most of Eastern Europe) being burnt to the ground in communists revolution and starving in hunger relatively quickly.

The fighting will quickly be in Germany and will lead to Germany realizing it has lost the war to France, even if they blame internal revolution.

"Immediate evacuation of France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Alsace–Lorraine within 15 days. Sick and wounded may be left for Allies to care for"
"Surrender of matériel: 5,000 artillery pieces, 25,000 machine guns, 3,000 minenwerfer, 1,700 aircraft (including all night bombers), 5,000 railway locomotives, 150,000 railway carriages and 5,000 road trucks"
"Evacuation of territory on the west side of the Rhine plus 30 km (19 mi) radius bridgeheads of the east side of the Rhine at the cities of Mainz, Koblenz, and Cologne within 31 days"
"All minefields on land and sea to be identified"
"Immediate cessation of all hostilities at sea and surrender intact of all German submarines within 14 days.
Listed German surface vessels to be interned within 7 days and the rest disarmed"
"Immediate release of all Allied prisoners of war and interned civilians, without reciprocity"
etc they can't restart the fighting after that.....
 
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France isn't making peace without AL and by 1918 after the armistice the German army has basically already dissolved & handed over a large amount of its weapon as collateral for the armistice it can't go back to the line and hope to hold it..... (and the fleet to RN so saving a huge amount of RN manpower/shells)
The French may find it slow to win by themselves (And really GB will help them even without the USA who is unlikely to want to leave the alliance at this stage over AL that has clearly been promised to them), but it will just lead to Germany (and maybe most of Eastern Europe) being burnt to the ground in communists revolution and starving in hunger relatively quickly.

The fighting will quickly be in Germany and will lead to Germany realizing it has lost the war to France, even if they blame internal revolution.

"Immediate evacuation of France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Alsace–Lorraine within 15 days. Sick and wounded may be left for Allies to care for"
"Surrender of matériel: 5,000 artillery pieces, 25,000 machine guns, 3,000 minenwerfer, 1,700 aircraft (including all night bombers), 5,000 railway locomotives, 150,000 railway carriages and 5,000 road trucks"
"Evacuation of territory on the west side of the Rhine plus 30 km (19 mi) radius bridgeheads of the east side of the Rhine at the cities of Mainz, Koblenz, and Cologne within 31 days"
"All minefields on land and sea to be identified"
"Immediate cessation of all hostilities at sea and surrender intact of all German submarines within 14 days.
Listed German surface vessels to be interned within 7 days and the rest disarmed"
"Immediate release of all Allied prisoners of war and interned civilians, without reciprocity"
etc they can't restart the fighting after that.....
Reading up on that link now.

I would prefer the POD is after the scuttling of the High seas fleet at Scapa flow, if for no other reason than not wanted to complicate things, but historically doesn't happen until the following June IIRC, and by then it's to late for a peace better than what we got historically. if the points of the ceasefire are accurate, then the POD would need to be before that. Briefly, I did read that the Germans were offering to accept Wilson's 14 points, rather than the terms that they instead were offered, so this has to be when the USA grows a spine, and says, "woah there, we didn't agree to that", and then things need to proceed from there.
 
So, it seems that the peace process, in order to NOT make it possible for France to win on their own, needs to be before Nov 11th, and preferably ASAP once the US sees what France wants, right? So would the date that the POD comes in by be in early October?
 
Sorry I missed this, many other things going on
I'm afraid we're just going to have to disagree on what German reaction to different terms would be, so let's leave that there as it is unknown.
Ok, letting that go...
Having said that though, I don't see any any response to my point that money is fungible, meaning it doesn't matter whether Germany pays reparations for fortification or for unspecified purposes. Sorry if I missed it.
Of course, there would have to be checks and balances, both to keep the Germans honestly paying, and the French from overbilling/misusing funds.
I would also add the point that if you are suggesting larger reparations than were supposed to be paid then this is not going to be possible as they would have to be paid out of a trade surplus that just couldn't be generated without military occupation forcibly keeping wages down and workers working
I'm suggesting the USA makes more for-profit loans to Germany, not just to pay their reparations, but to get there economy back on track, the better to pay off their loans to the USA, so no, this does not depend on the British and French not limiting German exports like they did right after WWI.
 
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