CP Victory - German Annexation of Belgium and Northeastern France?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by The Eternal Aussie, Apr 27, 2019.

  1. The Eternal Aussie Member

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    During WW1 there were nationalist agitation groups in Germany such as the Pan-German League (Alldeutscher Verband) calling for the outright annexation of the entirety of Belgium and northeastern France from Verdun to Calais should Germany emerge victorious.

    My question is: If the Entente is decisively defeated is this a serious possibility?

    At first glance this seems like it would (at the expense of one nation and another's dignity) render wars in (at least continental) Western Europe a thing of the past - depriving France of so much of its industry, and all said industry and that of Belgium going to Germany. I'm surprised I haven't seen anyone asking about this.

    This would also give the German Navy somewhere other than the North Sea and the Baltic to park their fleet. Needless to say the British would lose their minds over the mere mention of something like this.

    Thoughts? I'm looking forward to this! XD This is my first post!

    german_territorial_war_claims_in_the_west_by_arminius1871_dbqjnsm-pre.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2019
  2. The Eternal Aussie Member

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    I forgot :confounded: poor Luxembourg would be annexed also. F
     
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  3. Michel Van Well-Known Member

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    In Beginn the German Empire wanted to pay the Belgium for damage made by invasion
    Several year later in occupation of Belgium, things look quite different:

    The Walloon fight The Germans were ever they could, while the Flemish help the Germans so good they could.
    The reason was that Flemish were surpresst by Walloons before the Invasion and under German occupation Flemish had more rights than before.
    This let to first federalizations of Belgium by Germans

    Because of resistance by Walloons elite against German Occupation the were several Proposal how to deal with Belgium after the War:

    1. Hand over the Belgium colony Congo to German Empire to from the Core of „Mittleafrika“
    2. Hand over all terrotries east of river Maas to Prussia (or German Empire depends who first to issue the request in Reichstag)
    3. access to Belgium Harbors for Imperial Navy and merchant fleet.
    4. installment of German Army bases on territory of Belgium.

    There were several other proposal, special by All-Deutsche Vereinigung but if they part of any official plan by German Empire is unclear.
     
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  4. The Eternal Aussie Member

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    Of course the Germans would have annexed colonial territories belonging to Belgium and France, and if they didn’t annex Belgium completely they would have essentially reduced it to a vassal state.

    What I’m asking is could this proposal for Western Europe from the Alldeutscher Verband have become reality, or was it too extreme for it to be considered? Could it have worked in the long term, or would it have crumbled due to resistance from the French, Walloons and, perhaps overtime, the Flemish?

    We'll never know for sure of course, but it's an interesting scenario, considering the insane implications this would have for Germany, Europe and the world.
     
  5. benben Well-Known Member

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    What is that BS ? The vast majority of Flemings fought the Germans very courageously. Many volunteered en masse to join the Belgian army when the country was invaded. Only a minority called the “activists” collaborated with the Germans. They were positively hated by the rest of the Flemish population.

    It is not the first time I see you posting hard right Flemish nationalist propaganda on this site. Be warned, from now on I will react to unmask your delirium.
     
  6. MichaelWest Well-Known Member

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    First we have two distinct scenarios, an early windfall victory under the "Schlieffen Plan" gone all right, and next a late(r) war victory more inline with OTL. In either scenario there is incentive to punish Belgium for resisting Germany in the face of all "reason' and for enacting a campaign of terrorism. That might be mitigated in the former but will be magnified in the later. To the victorious Germans, Belgians are terrorists and criminals, and likely subject to much ill-will. That should cement the divide between the "German" Flemish and the "French" Walloons, forever dividing Belgium not unlike its echoes to the present. One sees a parallel to Alsace-Lorraine, the Flemish are more easily assimilated and identified to Germany, the Walloons feel oppressed, alienated and under pressure to Germanize. And that is without outright annexation. That is our field and the seeds.

    The first case scenario is unpopular but compelling, with a sweep into France and seizure of Paris, the Entente faces the inevitable German logic that what was begun in 1871 needs finished in 1914. I would argue that Germany feels compelled to yet again weaken France, destroying her ability to oppose Germany and the western allies have few options to backstop it. The later scenario is more popular of the two, it also ties our hands, after years of bloody struggle Germany winning is in no mood to leave France any room to rebound. Thus in both I think it takes a lot to dissuade Germany from carving off anything its troops occupy.

    Against this there is a lot of political pressure in Germany to not absorb more French and "foreign" peoples, to not expand the Empire or upset the federal balance, but what can be offered in return? At minimum the Flemish are likely cut off and annexed as a new Duchy or such and Wallonia permanently neutralized as a buffer state. To get that Britain is handing back a lot, such as the seized colonies, maybe some French tidbits and of course the Congo. I think this is where Mittelafrike is born in concept and most plausible. If we stalemate the war and go cold peace, Germany unable to breakthrough but still winning the war at bottom, then I suspect that Northern France stays occupied. Britain can offer up colonies or keep up the blockade but if the East crumbled and drained off German forces to occupy and pacify Russia then Germany wants an outer border to hold the rump French and belligerent British "over there". Here I would argue you get something looking like post-WW2, an "iron fence" with Germany creating a puppet French state, maybe lumping in Wallonia, still annexing the Flemish, and dug in to cold war it into the future as it builds a continental focused Empire. i think that is the dream of many alt-histories and perhaps the Kaiserreich fiction.

    For me the only way to prevent Belgium being divided is to either have no genuine resistance in 1914, go "East First" and have no invasion, or have Germany perform about s it did through 1916, collapse Russia to a peaceable neutral, have the Entente hold off the big push West or have it be butterflied by a good deal to give an ante bellum status quo peace to the CP, bribing Germany out of France and Belgium with cash and prizes. That is what I chose to thread into my ATL, an improbable but less obvious German victory.
     
  7. Michel Van Well-Known Member

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    I only so good, like my sources, Belgium schoolbook, natives, Wikipedia
    if they wrong, so do i...
    And I‘m a German, not Flemish Nationalist
     
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  8. Riain Well-Known Member

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    Firstly, in my mind the most likely way for the CP to win WW1 is to occupy more of the Channel coast that OTL, using this position to tip the balance in their favour.

    Secondly, whatever deal a Silent Dictatorship puts in place will be changed when the civilian politicians return to power once the war ends the the 1851 Siege Law ceases to be in effect.

    German war aims waxed and waned during the war in line with German fortunes in the field, the September Programme wish list of early 1914 can be contrasted with the Reichstag Peace Resolution of 1917. However one main theme running through such war aims, particularly in civilian and industrial circles was that MittelEuropa was not a substitute for access to global markets. So anything that might cause Germany's enemies and unfriendly neutrals to erect punitive trade barriers had to be avoided, to this end I've even read that the Briery coal field that people on this site froth over was on the negotiating table in order to avoid this issues.

    Another issue is that the territories the OP proposed Germany annex were major colonial powers, and the threat such annexation would create is against the world largest colonial power. In 1913 Germany had discussions with Britain about carving up the Portuguese colonies and the the pre-war imperialist vision of a German Mittelafrika, Portuguese colonies, the Belgian Congo and French Equatorial Africa were to be annexed; even Nigeria might be gained in case of British defeat. Wartime aspirations grew to include strategic and economically developed regions in French West Africa. The occupied territories may be traded for colonial possessions, in particular Britain would be eager to throw some of Africa or Asia at Germany to get the KM off the Strait of Dover.

    All in all I think any territorial changes in the west would be very minor, bought with bribes of colonies and agreed to because of the German skittishness about punitive trade barriers in the post war era.
     
  9. Ariosto Populist Republican

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    This. It would have been hard for even the Germans to consider this proposal, as there'd be considerable debate over whether the extent of the proposed annexation was sensible.
     
  10. Snowstalker ...

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    [​IMG]
     
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  11. benben Well-Known Member

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    OK, well I guess it would be good to diversify your sources then. I really wonder from when your Belgian schoolbooks date; up until the seventies / eighties, quite a few Flemish nationalist myths had indeed made their way into textbooks. There has been since then a remarkable generation of Flemish historians who have done a great job to dispel many of these myths. Let me quote for instance Sophie De Schaepdrijver, Bruno De Wever or Herman Van Goethem. I would really advise you to read some of their books if you'd like to develop a more balanced and up-to-date perspective.

    Regarding Wikipedia, well, we all know it can be the best and worse of sources. Some topics may be taken hostage by "contributors" who are more keen to defend a certain opinion than to present an accurate rendition of facts. Unfortunately, this is the case for quite a few themes that are dear to a certain type of Flemish nationalists, as I have experienced myself when I have tried to correct certain biased articles. I would therefore urge strong caution when using this source when it touches sensitive topics of Belgian history.

    Now, very specifically about Flemish rights before and during WWI. While it is absolutely true that the Dutch language has been disparaged in Belgium since Independence in 1830, the so-called "Law of Equality" has been voted in 1905 (a decade before the conflict), and made Dutch equal to French as an official language and a language for the Administration. It is correct that in practice, there was still work to do to implement this law and many details were to be worked out, but real progress was being made. A sensitive point of contention was the lack of a University where classes were fully taught in Dutch.

    When the Germans invaded Belgium, they did indeed try to play on that resentment. Now, that was not an altruistic move to support their Flemish brethren in their just struggle, but rather a cynical ploy to durably weakan the Belgian State. The internal proceedings of the Von Bissing administration make that ampy clear. The two main measures were the creation of a Dutch language University in Ghent, and the split of the Belgian administration between a Flemish and a Walloon branch. Regarding the university, most Flemings, even if they thought such a measure was overdue, did not want to receive such a gift from the invader, and the "Von Bissing University" (the sneer under which it became to be known) only counted a few dozen students.

    Now against those marvelous benefits granted by the benevolent German occupier, that is the right to go to University in Dutch (which concerned only a very small share of the population in the time), and the right for a number of public servants to write their internal memos in Dutch instead of French, what was there:
    - The bombing and destruction of magnificent old cities, such as Louvain, Antwerp or Ypres...
    - Bloody massacres of civilians, like in Aerschot or Louvain
    - Mass starvation (in this respect, WWI was much more worse than WWII for the Belgian population)
    - Skyrocketing unemployment following the looting of Belgian industry
    - Forced deportation of tens of thousands of workers towards Germany
    - None of basic rights fully enjoyed in what was one of the more advanced democracies in Europe pre-war, such as free speech, free press, freedom of association, petition, reunion, etc.

    So, where do you believe the trade-off laid with the Flemish population? Do you realize how distorted, if not insulting, it may come across to state that Flemings enjoyed so many more rights under German occupation?

    In fact, the German occupation delayed the process of further putting the two languages on an equal footing, since the fact that certain measures had been granted by the German occupiers was seized by the people who opposed Flemish emancipation to brand them as unpatriotic. For instance, the University of Ghent was finally made into a Dutch-language university only 1932, whereas the discussions were well-advanced already in 1914. The war was really a setback in that respect. This, in turn, fed bitter feelings with many Flemings, who felt that they were poorly rewarded for their loyalty to the Belgian state and all the sacrifices they had made during the war. And in retrospect, this did nourish a number of myths I've already mentioned. But that is the correct order in which things happened. In 1918, the Flemish population rejoiced the departure of the Germans and demanded exemplary punishment of those who had collaborated with them.
     
  12. David T Well-Known Member

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    Arthur Link's *Woodrow Wilson and the Progressive Era* discuses (p. 259) Germany's peace terms as of 1916:

    "On December 12, therefore, the Chancellor announced to an excited Reichstag that the Imperial government was ready to join with its enemies to end the war. 18 He said nothing about the German terms, which, if they had been disclosed, would have shocked the world. They included, in the East, establishment of the Kingdom of Poland and German annexation of the Baltic provinces of Courland and Lithuania; in the West, "guarantees in Belgium" or the annexation of Liege and "corresponding areas," annexation of Luxemburg and the French territories of Briey and Longwy, which contained great iron deposits, strategic boundary adjustments in Alsace-Lorraine, and indemnities; overseas, the return of German colonies, except Kiaochow, the Carolines, and the Marianas, and acquisition of all or part of the Belgian Congo.... These were the terms agreed upon by the Emperor, Hindenburg, and Bethmann-Hollweg. See Official German Documents, II, 1059-1062, 1064. For an excellent discussion see Hans W. Gatzke, Germany's Drive to the West (Baltimore, 1950), pp. 139-144." https://archive.org/stream/woodrowwilsonand007665mbp#page/n301/mode/2up/

    So at the very least, Liege, Luxembourg, Briey, and Longway seem likely to be annexed; Belgium (with border "adjustments" in Liege and perhaps elsewhere) would not be "annexed" but would in effect become a German protectorate. Note that Count Monts, former ambassador to Rome, a regular contributor to the *Berliner Tageblatt* and a relative moderate who believed that Germany must eventually make peace with Britain (since both nations had more to fear from the Russian "colossus" than from each other) "suggested that Britain might be persuaded to accept German annexation of the Belgian border town of Liege. Other demands might include the French railways in Turkish Anatolia, a war indemnity, and the iron fields of Briey in exchange for Thann. At the very least, Monts believed, Germany would need to annex Liege and Luxembourg in order to guarantee the future security of the Rhineland industrial area..." https://books.google.com/books?id=iCGEPwGvqVUC&pg=PA122
     
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  13. Michel Van Well-Known Member

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    To be honest, some of those books i read even were from 1950s, were only ones in local library i could find.
    Looking for your book suggestion will be difficult were i live, seems have to drive to nearest Flemish book store and order them, thanks for tip Benben

    Back to topic
    One of the open questions was size of Luxemburg and area of Province of Liege the Germans wanted
    The Duchy of Luxemburg had to become part of German Empire, but there vage suggestions (Bavarian?) to restore Luxemburg to former size before 1830
    (During Belgium Revolution they try to conquering Luxemburg but got Half of Duchy, today the Province of Luxemburg)
    Since the Germans wanted to use river of Maas as Border, a expansion of Luxemburg would make sense also incorporation of Briey and Longwy into restore grand duchy
    It would pleased the Bavarian royal house since crown prince Rupprecht of Bavaria was married to Princess Antonia of Luxembourg.
    But that is way to far into speculation

    Another issue were Belgians Cities of Namur, Huy and Liege
    Under Orginal plan of Germans with Border on river Maas those cities would be cut in two: a belgium on West Bank and German on east bank of the river.
    For Liege it would quite a nightmare situation that after 1918 the Town is called Liege in west and East Lüttich
    And inhabitants have to cross a border to visit work, shops or visit the family graveyard.
    West Liege would had to reorganized, for work it‘s also problem most of steel mill were in east now Lüttlich and now under Krupps control.
    While Cockerill-Sambre either reorganized in West Liege or move to Charleroi and build new Steel mill

    Another issue is Outhermeuse the river island in center of Liege/Lüttich, under Germans known plans, it would be a no man land, either Belgium or German territory
    What Germans had in mind we probably never know because, the Prussian archives were destroyed during WW2
     
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  14. Riain Well-Known Member

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    I'm thinking about what constitutes a 'wank' in the WW1 German perspective.

    Certainly setting up MittelEuropa in the east is a key part of a wank, it provides Germany with a bit more land for itself and control over much more with which to provide food security in wartime and a buffer against attack from the east. It was also what was interesting to the majority of the German populace.

    In the west I'm not sure that gaining more territory constitutes a wank because it doesn't meet similar criteria. Annexing Belgium and chunks of France won't create a buffer, it will alienate france and Britain, making them frontline states that will require the construction of large scale fortification and the maintenance of extensive and expensive garrisons. Nor are the economic benefits in the territories a massive boon for Germany, sure there are some nice coalfields but Germany was already a huge producer of coal and steel so these won't be as important to Germany as they were to France and will likely cause these countries to erect trade barriers to Germany postwar as part of a Cold War.

    What Germany does lack as a world power is a global strategic presence like Britain, France and even the US, Netherlands and Belgium. Germany came late to the colonial game, not surprising given she only fully unified in 1871 and as a result missed out on their strategic (as opposed to the much focused on economic) benefits of a large empire. When the option comes up to either annex bits of western Europe or swap this occupied territory for colonial possessions Germany will choose the latter in order to have political control of more marklets, strategic military bases around the world for power projection and the ability to move any Cold War rivalry away from Rhineland to Africa and elsewhere, a faux buffer if you will.
     
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  15. Michel Van Well-Known Member

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    On Riain remark on MittelEuropa and MittelAfrika

    On east it make sense, not only create Buffer states, but also nation were German Empire could Trade with under Zollverein.
    On west how ever things look quite different, next annexation of Luxemburg to German Empire and Expansion of Zollverein on Belgium and Netherlands
    Was main goal of Germans to weaken France considerly
    I thing that Germans would have took control of Coal and steel production in France

    I my TL “Kaiserreich a TL” will make German Empire drastic changes on Belgium Border in order to weaken France Economy hard.

    MittelAfrika ist also one ideas of Greater German colonial Empire in Afrika by taking a enormous chunk from Afrika
    Were the center block is Belgium Congo connecting the Germans colonies with surrendered colonies of France and Britain and Portugal
    But the idea was just too...Big, the Ministry of Colonies had not man power to operate such gigantic MittleAfrika

    In “Kaiserreich A TL” there found solution on man power issue on scale down version of Mittleafrika,
     
  16. UrbanNight Well-Known Member

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    I suggest that you also post this in the Proposals and War Aims That Didn't Happen Map Thread, as we over there find this sort of thing interesting to discuss.
     
  17. MichaelWest Well-Known Member

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    And when I looked at these demands I saw the German position as relatively modest given the cost and brutality of the war, with German victory there still might be yet more demands but in a negotiated peace these are far less than the grandiose maps I have seen proposed. And what would France concede? Nothing, but they have the ;east bargaining power potentially, same with Belgium. I think it depends upon Britain who s likely shouldering the costs and maintaining the blockade that is forcing the Germans to the table. So what might Britain concede on this list?

    My arguments would be more about preserving the security in the Channel, thus Britain does more to restore Belgium as independent, getting the Germans to retreat from France proper and concede to her naval superiority. That leaves much on this list palatable if not desired. To me the British likely view the East as too far and least important, especially if concession there gets more in the West. So I think Kingdom Poland is born and Germany founds some Baltic state, annexed or not. Giving up Congo pays Germany with something other than more of French holdings, some measure of will be paid to get less to none of France ceded. Britain can offer back the Pacific holdings, and I will add SWA, despite the ruin it may do to relations with Japan and SA, but that is better than Germany in Antwerp. Overall I find the peace terms far less outrageous than I think is often argued, they were both practical and doable depending on how much fight Germany sees the Entente has and Germany in fact possesses. My biggest stumbling block is getting the war to that balance, I fear by 1917 or 1918 things are too desperate and it became winner take all.
     
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  18. MichaelWest Well-Known Member

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    For me the issue of the West is all about pride, the humiliation of France was too important to ignore despite it being a near worthless war aim. Before 1914 broke into war I would argue that any offensive versus France has no dividends, the future lay to the East and the threat was there, but relations with Russia could be bettered and those with France likely would without the war. I think by 1916 the thinking must include how to weaken France, the eternal foe, so some denial of her industry or mines should be in the cards. Ironically what Germany needed was a neutral Belgium who could deter any aggressor, post-war she needs that again, but has lost all trust to craft a neutral buffer state. The war puts Germany in the box, she has made deep enemies and will forever face them, the border opposite the Rhine is now a hot one, thus drawing Germany to seize and secure unless bribed handsomely.

    Thus I get an ersatz-cold war in the West, I think we see a long frosty border with tense eyeballing, e should see no true rest here for however long France feels it can afford to be that thorn in the side of a bigger and badder Germany. So I agree in theory, more overseas holdings should be sought it might occur as the conceit versus more territory in Europe, it pays Europe's dues with African or Asian skin, the game is to balance Europe and even with more holdings Germany is the third up in the Empire game. By accident I think we see more of your notion, the peace intended will get the peace compromised and the colonies can more easily be tossed in front of the bus. At least that is my rationale for little or no border changes and more shifts in Africa. I am still weighing if Asia sees any tribute to the Germans or if Africa is enough to sate the Kaiser.
     
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  19. The Eternal Aussie Member

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    Cheers mate. I'll post it now.

    You guys have been pretty convincing making the case that it was better for Germany in the short and long term to only annex small chunks of Western Europe. However I haven't seen anyone whip out the ASB word. I guess that it wasn't entirely out of the realm of possibility. Perhaps all it would have taken was an insane enough Kaiser (wink wink) to do something as drastic as what the Alldeutscher Verband was demanding.
     
  20. Michel Van Well-Known Member

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    Found interesting info about Bavarian claims on Belgium in WW1

    Bavaria King Ludwig III and His Government, made several demands at begin of War.
    to claim entire Alsace, part of Belgium around town Antwerpen and connecting part of Netherland Rhine estuary
    Antwerpen has to serve as sea Harbor for Bavaria who had to be connected with a channel to Rhine river (today theRhine–Main–Danube Canal)

    Why ?
    one reason was that Ludwig III wanted counterbalance the Prussian future claims after WW1
    the other was "New Burgundy" idea of the Wittelsbach ruler Maximilian Emanuel II. and Charles Theodore, who wanted to reinstall the Duchy under Wittelsbach
    interesting is that Maximilian Emanuel II. was appointed governor of the Spanish Netherlands (today Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg).

    But the plans were partly abandon in early 1916, do political pressure from Berlin

    Now how could play for that Bavaria plans in scenario were the CP won WW1 ?
    Since crown prince Rupprecht of Bavaria and his brother Leopold of Bavaria served successful as General Marshals in this War,
    It's certain that the Emperor would make some concession toward Bavaria wishes for expansion.
    Here comes handy that Rupprecht of Bavaria marry Princess Antonia of Luxembourg in august 1918.
    Luxemburg could become part of Kingdom of Bavaria and the Wittelsbach get's also access on House of Nassau-Weilburg.
    I guess that Bavaria will be ruled by children of Rupprechts first marriage with Marie Gabriele (1878-1912) while children of Rupprechts second marriage rule over Luxemburg