Funeral Games

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Gemellus, Nov 24, 2012.

  1. Gemellus Member

    Nov 23, 2005
    September 1, 1939 – Moscow, Office of Josef Stalin

    His leg ached and was so stiff he could hardly move it below the knee. That coupled with the hangover from the drinking the night before made Stalin even more irritable than usual. It was his custom to arrive for work late and work late, but give what the German were up to in Poland he had his aid roust him out of bed early, well 10:30 which was early by his standards. He had snapped viciously at Kalinin when he came in with some inane party business. The idiot had babbled his apologies profusely before retreating from his office. No doubt the ‘Chairman’ had warned others of his foul mood and that meant there would be few disturbances this morning.

    As Stalin reached to relight his pipe the large clot that had been throwing off pieces all week suffered a major break. The coagulated blood struggled through the veins and made it way quickly to his heart. There it lodged in Stalin’s right lung from receiving almost any air. The pain of the pulmonary embolism racked his body. He began to sweat and a tight pain gripped his chest. Oddly he also began to cry as he collapsed back into his chair. The room grew steadily darker and he sank down. He wasn’t found until later that afternoon.

    September 4, 1939 – London, Office of the Foreign Secretary

    Lord Halifax paced the room slowly as Sir Cadogan summarized the ambassador’s report. “In any event my lord, it appears that Stalin is quite definitely dead. The fact that no one is in a position to exploit this by removing their opposition would support the ambassador’s belief that the death was accidental and sudden.”

    “Yes, I can agree with that Alexander.” Replied Halifax “The question now arises what will the Russian bear do? It would be very much to the benefit of this government if the Russians could be convinced to renounce their recent pact with the Nazi’s and enter into an agreement with the French and us. I know Neville would be relieved to have the Russians pressing in on the Germans.”

    Cadogan nodded. “Yes it would improve our position, but I don’t thinks will settle down over there for some time. I imagine the infighting might get pretty vicious until someone can consolidate power.”

    September 5, 1939 – Report German Ambassador to USSR, Friedrich Schulenburg

    ….Currently a high degree of chaos reigns in the Soviet capital. Stalin’s sudden death has created a near complete power vacuum. The Party, the Police, the Army and the bureaucracy are all struggling for supremacy. The only direct news I can report is that Foreign minister Molotov has contacted the embassy to confirm that our treaties with the USSR remain in place, however Molotov himself appears to be in some danger. Should he be removed it is possible that our position here would be compromised. I cannot stress the necessity to move quickly in concluding our operations in Poland and the need to honor our treaty commits there with the USSR.

    September 15, 1939 – Moscow, Kremlin

    General Timoshenko sipped the hot tea that had been set out on the conference table. Adjusting his tunic he pulled it taunt and sat down. As the last man to get his drink he had some time to look over the assembled party. Beria sat at the end of the table, as befitting a policeman he faced the door and kept a careful eye on everyone’s movement. Molotov was close at Beria side a little to right. He had removed his small glasses and was absently polishing them with his handkerchief. The party block sat to the left, Lazar Kaganovich seemed to be in nominal charge, but the new man Khrushchev seemed to be the most animated, he would have to keep an eye on him.

    “If the comrade General is prepared we had best discuss what to do given the tragic loss of Comrade Stalin.” Begin Kalinin. Timoshenko nodded and looked over at his men, each stoically returned his star. “Of course it will be some time before we can permanently address someone to take up the heavy burdens Comrade Stalin carried, but given the war on our border some decisions must be made. I think comrade General Kulakov can best report on the situation?”

    Timoshenko’s man rose up and unveiled a map of Poland. “The German advances are quite startling in their speed and depth. We had hoped that the Germans would bloody themselves against the Poles, but as you can see by this map the Polish forces are rapidly collapsing. The main Polish army is trapped in these two pockets.” He pointed to the center of the map. “One is centered on Warsaw and the other to the West. The only free Polish forces are further South, their Krakow and Carpathian armies, neither of which is capable of relieving the trapped central forces.”

    “How long will the Poles hold out?” asked Kaganovich

    “The Western pocket will be gone in a day or two, Warsaw perhaps two weeks? The Poles are trying to reorganize farther East, but their support system is in a shambles. Perhaps if the allies attack in the West…”

    “Impossible” interrupted Molotov “the English and French imperialist will do nothing to save the Poles. Their ‘guarantee’ was just so much paper.”

    “So the question becomes do we enter the war? Comrade Molotov assures me that the Japanese are close to agreeing to a ceasefire in Siberia.” Said Kalinin

    “Well it was delayed due to our tragedy. But I can expect a formal ceasefire to be signed with Togo next week or certainly by the end of the month.* That should remove the threat of a wider war with Japan.”

    “Which opens the question should we move into Poland at all.” Interjected Kaganvich. “The whole thing could drag us into a war with the West. Do we really want to be allied with Germany?” Timoshenko looked at Molotov, this was a clear criticism of the foreign minister. Time to test the NKVD – Molotov alliance. “Yes, good question” offered the Marshal “while I am prepared to carry out the will of the Soviet people do we really want to risk a war with the west and identify so closely with the fascists?”

    Almost involuntarily eyes shifted to Beria. The policeman stared back. He could see the emerging alliance between the party and the army. He looked over at Kalinin, “Yes perhaps Comrade Molotov had better explain why this alliance is so vital when it appears to me to violate many of the fundamental principles of the revolution.”

    September 22, 1939 – Times of London

    (lead) Foreign Minister Molotov removed from office. Sources in the Soviet capital reported today the Foreign minister Molotov has been removed from office and his predecessor, Maxim Litvinov has been reinstated. This is seen as a favorable sign towards his majesty’s government as Minister Litvinov is widely seen as pro-Western in his approach. Litvinov has promised to pursue an immediate end to the on-going border dispute between Japan and the USSR. Once this issue is settled it would appear the Soviets can focus more of their attention and energy on the Polish issue

    *About a week or two later than in our TL.
  2. abc123 Banned

    Apr 14, 2010
    Very intresting. Subscribed.

    One major nitpick: I would think that meeting of the most important people in USSR after the death of Stalin would be somewhere 1 or 2 days after his death, not 15 days later...
  3. Gemellus Member

    Nov 23, 2005
    Well normally I would agree, but Stalin's death here was completely unexpected. Its not like the July 44 Hitler conspiracy where there was a plan.

    The big three factions - Party, NKVD and Army have to make sure their base is secure (don't want to be swept up by another faction). Each needs to jockey for support of the weakest but most important group - the actual government.

    Anyway thanks for subscribing I will hopefully be posting an update today.

    JC (Gemellus)
  4. merlin Well-Known Member

    Feb 17, 2007
    If this means, that the Soviet Army doesn't advance into eastern Poland to the agreed (in the 'Pact') line, then the Germans can continue going east. While, this may cause them problems in the short term e.g. in terms of recovering from the campaign, it means there start-line for
    Barborossa is that much further east.
  5. MerryPrankster Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2004
    Hopefully whoever succeeds Stalin won't be so pig-headed and paranoid in the face of evidence the Germans are going to attack them and will make adequate preparations.

    If the Soviets don't join the dismemberment of Poland, they'll still have the "Stalin Line" that in OTL was mostly dismantled.

    That might help.
  6. Gemellus Member

    Nov 23, 2005
    September 24, 1939 Berlin, OKH

    The cigarette smoke drifted lazily up towards the high ceiling. The mood in the room was positive with the various officers gesturing and laughing quietly as they waited for General Brauchitsch. The news from Poland was uniformly positive and the professionals who planned the campaign relaxed for the moment. The large oak doors at the end of the room opened and General Brauchitich entered. A tall formal man he walked forcefully into the now silent room. All the officers were standing at attention as his aid removed his coat. “Sit down gentlemen” he said “Obviously as our beloved leader is not here you may continue to smoke.” A few dry laughs and arched eyebrows answered. The tone was enough to warn the officers that the general was not in the best of moods.

    “I have just come from a meeting with the politicals. The ‘golden pheasants’* are all quite pleased with the job we have done. However I have some quite disturbing news.” At this the room grew still and attentive. “I was informed by our champagne salesman** that the diplomatic situation is changing rapidly. It appears that the security of our Eastern borders is in doubt.” There were some low murmurs now in the room. The General held up his hand. “Case Yellow*** is postponed. We need to revise our plans gentlemen.”

    September 25, 1939 – Moscow, Kremlin

    Timoshenko completed his briefing and remained standing against the large map. The men in the room had changed slightly since the last meeting. The General sensed that many in the room were finally beginning to appreciate that the man of steel was gone. It was time now for new plans, new allies and new paths to the future. Litvinov was a major change, the returning foreign minister was an unknown quantity. Still the General had put him in the chair he had now, he could expect some degree of loyalty or at least an open mind to his next proposal.

    Clearing his throat the General spoke. “The Germans have completed their conquest of except for a few pockets of resistance. I also need emphasize that the Germans have crossed over the pre-arranged borders we had agreed too and are already in contact with the Union’s borders****. Soon the last few pockets of Poles will surrender, and then the whole of the country will be under German occupation. The question is comrades do we claim our rights under the Molotov treaty, do nothing or take bolder action?”

    “Bolder, comrade General?” asked Kalinin

    “Specifically” continued Timoshenko “do we join the war against the fascist and if so when. Given time we can build up a significant force along the frontier and come the spring coordinate a strike against Germany with the French and British in the West.”

    “But Comrade General,” interrupted Beria “wouldn’t a more immediate strike catch the fascist off guard. Or perhaps an attack in the winter?” Timoshenko scowled at the policeman. He began to answer, but Beria continued. “General Voroshilov for one assures me that a more immediate action would be better.” Again Timoshenko started to answer, but Beria turned to Kaganovich and Zhdanov and asked “Perhaps the party should offer guidance here?” Timoshenko was stunned, obviously there was some sort of agreement here, some sort of deal.

    Zhdanov smiled slyly back at Beria and answered “I think that an excess of caution here is a great danger. The elimination of those class enemies in Poland makes our lost province ripe for introduction of the Revolution. An immediate attack would forestall any fascist consolidation of power. I would think that the an incorporation of Poland as an associated Soviet State would provide a significant boost to the revolution.”

    “After those lingering counter-revolutionary factions are dealt with” added Beria, in a tone that sent a shiver down many of the men’s spine and not a few silent prayers thankful that they themselves were not Poles.

    Timoshenko could see now that he was outflanked. The Party and the NKVD were allied now and with Zhadanov and Kaganovich most of the government apparatus were gathered up in their arms. It also was obvious that Voroshilov was whoring himself out. Damn he thought, the army might be ready in the spring but now, it was too disorganized to unsure after the purges. We might, might, win a defensive campaign, but an open attack into Poland? Madness. Still perhaps Litvinov could forestall this, he turned to the new foreign minister. “Perhaps comrade minister Litvinov could gain the cooperation of the French and British for so bold a move?”

    Litvinov looked at the general and shifted in his chair. “I think the General makes a fair point. Surely a more coordinated approach would be better? I think now that they are at war the French and English would be more willing to coordinate and cooperate with the Union. In fact they might well recognize the incorporation of the Poles into the Union. However I will warn you that any move into Poland or the Baltic, under the conditions of the Molotov treaty would forestall any action. At best they would treat us as a co-belligerent. The middle course is to break ties with the Germans immediately and let the army decide when best to strike.”

    September 30, 1939 – New York Times

    RUSSIA BREAKS RELATIONS WITH GERMANY, Moscow. The USSR formally withdrew its ambassador from Germany today and simultaneously introduced a resolution in Geneva condemning the ‘unprovoked and uncivilized’ actions of Germany against Poland. Russia also announced it would send a special military delegation to London in the near future to discuss matters of international security.

    *A common term for Nazi Party members, not overtly derogatory, but critical and in wide use among the army and the population of Berlin
    **Von Ribbentrop, the Foreign minister had formally sold spirits
    ***The initial plan for invading France, in our TL Hitler pressed for an attack in late 39, Halder’s initial effort was a limited offenses, not at all like the May 40 attack in our TL
  7. Gemellus Member

    Nov 23, 2005
    October 7, 1939 – (dated) Soviet Planning Document – Operation Mercury – General Voroshilov

    ….of course the primary goal of the operation is the destruction of German forces in central Poland. It is expected that primary concentration of forces will be complete no later than seven days prior to commencement of operations (A - 7). The 10th and 4th Armies to the North and 4th and 7th Armies to the South are primarily tasks to encircling the German forces. The 11th Army in will engage in vigorous probing of the central German line in order to tie down the German forces. Additionally the 3rd Army will demonstrate against the extreme Northern end of the German line with a concentrated attack towards the German positions in Lithuania and East Prussia.

    ….as expected then the Northern and Southern armies will envelope the bulk of the German forces by meeting some 100 miles to the West of Warsaw. This operational boundary may be adjusted depending on the degree to which the Germans yield ground.

    October 10, 1939 – London, Operational Meeting Soviet Military Mission and Imperial General Staff

    “... if the Union were to commence operations before the onset of winter we would expect the Western armies to immediately begin a vigorous offensive themselves” offered General Grigorenko. For a moment the room was silent, the Soviet general stared at his counterparts.

    “While we appreciate that necessity that you feel for a combined offensive” began General Pownall* “you should be aware that currently we have only some 150,000 troops deployed in the BEF. While this number will rise significantly in the near future, his majesty’s government at present cannot foresee a general offensive, unless it is primarily carried out by the French. Of course we are in a position to add considerable air and naval power to the struggle and should the French agree we can offer both logistical and tactical support to their operation.”

    Grigorenko rocked on his heels, he had expected such an answer, but his orders were quite clear. If the British failed to commit to a fall offensive he was to express outrage and walk out of the talks. He drew his breath for his performance.

    October 11, 1939 – Paris, private residence General Gamelin

    “What you fail to appreciate is that at this very moment troops withdrawn from Poland are pushing against the gains we made in the Saar.” Stated Gamelin. General Meandrov looked over at Khrushchev. The political officer was busy eating, but Meandrov had no doubt he had heard the Frenchman. Khrushchev signaled with a short chopping motion to let Gamelin go on.

    “We had hoped to commit up to 40 divisions to a general advance, but the Germans were well prepared. In fact with these new reinforcements we are likely to be compelled to return to our original lines. Of course we inflicted a significant defeat on the Bosch. I dare say we crippled any ability they had to advance into France.”

    Khrushchev put down his fork and addressed the Frenchman. “While I am sure that your attack did cripple the Germans, the fact remains that if you want direct cooperation with Soviet Army you must renew your attack into the Saar. Specifically, no later than two weeks from today, we need a firm commitment that you will indeed commit your 40 divisions not the 12 you sent into the Saar to help the Poles.”

    Gamelin smiled. “While we would welcome cooperation with the Soviet Army, you must understand that my primary duty is to the security of France. I certainly would favor a broad advance into the Saar with 40 divisions, but such a decision is also a political one. Of course once the Soviet advance begins and the Germans are compelled to weaken their forces facing us, many things become possible.”

    Report to Central Committee – Western Talks Analysis (Khrushchev author)

    The attitude of the capitalist both in London and Paris are quite clear. The British are completely unwilling to commit ground troops in support of any Soviet advances in the East. Empty platitudes and assurances flow easily from the Imperialist lips, but no direct promises. If possible the French are worse. Their so called ‘Saar Offensive’ was laughable. Against extremely light opposition they cautiously advanced a few kilometers, which they are at this minute withdrawing from. I cannot emphasize enough that any Soviet attack will likely receive only minimal support from the Western powers.

    October 15, 1939 - Moscow, Pravda

    It was announced today that Comrade General Timoshenko and several other officers of the new reconstituted Stavka will depart Moscow for a tour of the Eastern Military districts. In light of the recent aggression of the Japanese Imperialist such a mission is deemed an absolute necessity by the party.

    October 21, 1939 – German Occupied Warsaw, General Government, 10th Army Headquarters

    - Report from 4th Panzer Division
    Finally the replacement of vehicles lost in the recent campaign proceeds at a steady if slow pace. Some 30-40% of lost units have been salvaged from the battlefield with a further 10% replaced. However I cannot emphasize strongly enough that the division will operate well below our standard table of organization for the foreseeable future. Absent a significant increased pace in new vehicle shipment it will be early spring before the Division will approach its’ strength before the campaign

    *Pownall was chief of staff to Gort, who presumably in this TL would be in France
  8. Gemellus Member

    Nov 23, 2005
    - From “Between the Twisted Cross and the Red Bear, Poland in the 20th Century”

    The Soviet attack in 1939 was as much motivated by internal political considerations as by external facts. Despite the public pronouncements of the Soviet government the Soviet Polish campaign was the result of a struggle between the pro-West and the pro-German factions inside the committee that rules Russia after Stalin’s death. The pro-West faction had gained an early advantage with the permanent removal of Molotov and the temporary posting of Timoshenko to the Far East. However, Iron Lazar could not rest easy on his laurels. While the pro-German faction was scattered it was not discredited. Only a quick victory against Germany could solidify Lazars’ power. Lazar did not need Germany to be defeated and occupied but he desperately needed her humbled. A quick victory in Poland would solidify his control inside the party and cement his alliance with Beria. The army itself would fall more completely under his control and opponents like Timoshenko could be more permanently removed.

    The Winter War of 39’ – Douglas Weiss, New Hanover Press, 1979

    The Soviet offensive began auspiciously enough. The Northern and Southern Pincers had amassed large artillery trains, not only division fire support but also larger guns removed from the Stalin Line. In a massive display of firepower they raked the supposed German lines. Soviet armor and infantry were soon driving into German occupied Poland against minimal opposition. German forces retreated slowly, destroying bridges and support systems as they fell back. The Soviet armor forces would occasionally break the German lines, but quickly spent themselves in wild ‘cowboy’ raids and attacks, leaving the infantry lagging behind and allowing the Germans to continue their retreat unmolested.

    By the second week the strain on the Soviet logistical support system was beginning to tell. As the Germans fell back towards their supplies, the Russians advanced into territory denuded of roads, rails and easy transport. Russian machines, particularly their light tanks began to fail in alarming number and the advance slowed. Voroshilov soon realized that a grand encirclement to the west of Warsaw was unlikely, thus Soviet arms were direct to close 100 miles to the east of the Polish capital. Even this unlikely goal was soon shattered as the Germans launched their counter attack. With carefully husband armor and near complete air superiority the Germans shattered Voroshilov’s Northern wing, however they lack sufficient armor and air arms to also defeat the Southern advance. Thus by the fourth week of the campaign the Soviets could claim some significant gains, but were nowhere near Warsaw or capable of destroying the German army. A cruel stalemate emerged.

    Dance of the Dictators, Fascist and Soviet diplomacy in the Modern Age – Danny Danhauser, Random House, 1984

    …but both sides had more immediate reasons to end the Winter War of 1939. While the French and British had not launched any grand attack against Germany, Hitler could not sure that they would remain so passive. He was compelled to eliminate either the French or the Russian threat. When Litvinov’s note was sent he eagerly grasp the chance. Ironically in many ways the Ribbentrop – Litvinov negotiations mirrored those conducted early between Ribbentrop and Molotov. Germany was willing to accept Soviet occupation of Poland along the original divisions as well as accepting additional Polish claims in the South of Poland nearly reaching the city of Krakow. Thus Lazar could claim that the brief war had indeed benefited the Soviet nation. Hitler too could take some satisfaction in that any territorial concessions were made at the expense of Polish and not German lands.

    Perhaps the most significant addition to the treaty was the exchange of populations agreed to by the Soviets and Germans. In return for the free and immediate immigration of some 350,000* Germans from the USSR, the Russians agreed to accept almost 3 million Jewish immigrants from the areas of German occupied Poland. Their long journey first to the Crimea and then to Asia is outside of the scope of this book, but at least it removed from German’s hand the most significant Jewish population inside Eastern Europe, with the exception of Russia’s herself.

    Report from Adolf Eichmann to Reinhard Heydrich, Reich Central Office of Jewish, Dated December 3, 1939

    The immediate impact of this forced immigration outside of the German Sphere of control will no doubt be positive for both the Reich and Europe. That Hebrew Litvinov will soon find that his brethren are a poor bargain for our people. I can expect to move between 100,000 and 150,000 per month thru the summer as the relative distance to the new German/Russian border is relatively close to the concentration of Jews. We can easily compel them to walk in some instances in order to save on rolling stock. I include with this report a breakdown on those areas that can most quickly an efficiently be made Jewish free. I think for the purpose of coordinating settlement of returning Germans however, that it is best to allocate sufficient transportation resources to clear those areas permanently incorporated into the Reich first.
  9. Gemellus Member

    Nov 23, 2005
    March 16, 1940 – Berlin, Office of the Chancellery

    Admiral Raeder concluded his briefing and stood against the large map of Norway and Denmark. Hitler had been strangely quiet during the presentation. Raeder was unsure as how to take this. Now the silence dragged on and he wondered if one of the others would open discussion of the operation. His eyes went first to Goering who sat in his ridiculously robin egg blue uniform, rubbing his fountain pen between his two fat fingers. To his right Himmler sat, quiet as usual, there would be no help there; at least not until Hitler committed himself. He looked at Canaris, a naval officer at least; perhaps there was some help there? He arched his eyes at the Admiral, as cocked his head sideway looking for some guidance. The chief of the Abwehr took the hint and cleared his throat. “I think you have given us quite a lot to think about Grand Admiral. The danger from the British getting bases to our North or intercepting our ore…”

    “Fools” interrupted Hitler “I am holding Germany together by my will alone. I have crushed Poland, stopped the French in the Saar and now battered the Russians down and my Navy wants to open another front?” For the briefest of moments Raeder imagined asking just how Hitler could claim personal responsibilities for such ‘victories’ when he himself had created each enemy and it were others bleeding now for his dreams. Hitler continued in a tone only slightly less abrasive, “While it is true that the British might well want to cut our supplies from Sweden, the Norwegians will not tolerate British intervention, nor welcome us. There may come a time when your plan, Grand Admiral is possible, but not now. I have to put all our resources into dealing with the threat from France. You have no idea how much the problems in Poland this winter have forced my hand!” Hitler stood and started to pace. “The Army wanted to replay the First World War!” here he glared over at General Halder. “I had to intervene personally. But resources have limits Admiral! I wanted to have Kuchler in the West by now but it was impossible, so changes had to be made. Air Marshal Goering didn’t get all he wanted in our upcoming Campaign.** This subject this closed for now. The Navy will confine itself to dealing with more immediate threats, if you like to exercise your imaginations you should consider a direct operation against Chamberlin when we finish the French.”

    March 20, 1940 – Tokyo, Office of the Navy Minister

    The Prime Minister sat opposite his Naval Minister. The atmosphere in the room was quite relaxed. Each man was a Admiral or ex-Admiral and shared a love for American whiskey, a bottle of which was open before them. Out of deference Yoshida accepted a subordinate role and poured another full glass for Prime Minister Yonai. “The second war has been beneficial to our own position.*** Now I hear that you have been meeting with Herr Stahmer?”

    Yonai smiled and took a sip. He let the liquid slid over his tongue and savored it as it passed down his throat. “Yes, the special envoy was quite upset with our neutrality against the Russians. He conveyed the message from Berlin that the failure to take any direct or indirect action against Moscow was a violation of our previous agreements. In fact he was quiet vocal, as was his staff. One aid even made an open remark concerning the Emperor’s wisdom in pursuing such a course.” Yoshida sucked in a breath and gave a predatory smile, “How unfortunate. I believe I read such in a Tokyo Oshimbun. How very sad for the army. They must have lost great face. I must tell General Tojo when next I see him that he has my since condolences. I expect that such an insult might well cost him an expected job, eh? Yonai smiled back and took another sip. “Yes quite sad. The Razor**** has expressed a desire to return to China. I think that such a course may well be wise for him and perhaps even Itagaki. Their expertise will be appreciated there. In fact I think I shall insist that a place be made for them.”

    *as in our TL the commander of the 18th Army, but here not deployed against the West, but in Poland

    **Goering was a major influence in modification of the First October 39 plan for the French campaign, he insisted on the inclusion of the Netherlands, here the Winter War with Russia meant less emphasis on the Dutch

    ***The ‘Naval Faction’ opposed the ‘Junior Army Faction’, the Navy was pro-West and anti-German, the Army was more anti-West and favored a closer alliance with German, although this is a bit of a simplification

    ****Tojo’s nickname, in early 1940 he was moving from Itagaki’s shadow into a more formidable position, by July of 40 in our TL he emerged as Army minister and then Prime Minister
  10. Gemellus Member

    Nov 23, 2005
    May 21, 1940 – New York Times (Headline)


    – (Paris) The rapid advance of German forces continued today with a dramatic development. Pushing past Abbeville the German armor columns reached the English Channel. This effectively cuts the Allied positions in two. The bulk of the British Expeditionary Force seems to be trapped North of the German post-Abbeville gain. Now the world wonders can the BEF re-establish contact with the French 10th Army to the South, can it be supported by itself in Belgium, or must the British conduct a withdraw from the continent.

    May 22, 1940 – The Hague, Office of the Foreign Minister – Eelco van Kleffen

    The Special British guest shifted uncomfortably in his chair. Lord Halifax, the British Foreign Secretary waited on the Dutchman. He had flown over just that morning, and casually disliked flying, this coupled with his supplicant position created a foul mood. Rising he walked to the far wall and examined a small framed painting there. He couldn’t place the artist, but it was done with some skill. He could date it to the late Renaissance, but the style eluded him. It wasn’t a great master but perhaps it was from a studio? He bent in to examine it closer when the door to the office opened and van Kleffen hurried in.

    “My sincere apologies for keeping you waiting, Lord Halifax. As you can well imagine we are quite on edge here and I have to be in contact with both the Army and the government. It is a… confusing time. Can I offer you a cigar or perhaps a drink? I have some excellent Port. It is Cima Cargo, an excellent drink. I got some from the Portuguese charge d’affaires when he was credentials last month.” Halifax smiled and nodded in the affirmative. Kleffen walked over to a small table by the desk and poured two small grasses. Gracefully he passed one over to the Englishman. He then walked behind his desk and held out his hand to indicate that Halifax should sit if he like. Sitting down himself Kleffen spoke, “I appreciate of course that you too must be quite busy. The news from Belgium and France is a great shock to her majesty’s government.”

    Halifax sat heavily in the chair. He sipped his port contemplating his reply. “Yes the developments here on the continent have not gone as my government had hoped.” For a moment Kleffen thought he would laugh, leave it to the English to offer the greatest of understatements. Instead Kleffen nodded. Halifax continued, “Her magesty’s government is quiet concerned about the concentration of her armies in Belgium. Lord Gort has informed me that he does not believe he can readily effect a re-establishment of contact with the Southern French forces. Further the Imperial staff believed the German capture of Calais is a strong likelihood. While we certainly would like to evacuate the Army in an orderly manner and re-deploy it again, Her Majesty’s government needs to consider other alternatives.” He paused her, Kleffen remained silent. Halifax plunged on, “Lord Gort has been shifting troops towards your own frontier. It is a possibility that some units of our army might have to retreat into Dutch territory.”

    There it was Kleffen thought. They wanted to save their army and they needed a priest-hole. He sat back for a second and thought. De Geer would have a stroke if the thought it would alienate the Germans. Thank God the queen was made of sterner stuff. Maybe De Geer would fall over this? There had to be some way to help the British here, but of course there would have to be a price involved, the risk was fearful. If the Germans swept the British off the continent the French would crumble. That would leave just us against the Germans. We needed time to rearm, but even then if he was honest with himself, the Dutch alone couldn’t stop the Germans if they invaded. “Of course I can only speak now tentatively Lord Halifax. I will have to consult with the Prime Minister, but my own feelings are that for my government to take such a risk would require some guarantees. Guarantees both for our position her on the continent and also in the Pacific? It would be most desirable if this guarantees came not only from your majesties government but perhaps also the Americans?”

    May 26, 1940 – Meeting of the Dutch Cabinet

    The new Prime Minster listened carefully to the military briefing. As Colonel Van Rees wound down Gerbrandy asked a pointed question, “So in your opinion the opening of our border to the British has accelerated the collapse of the Belgium pocket?” Van Reese did not hesitate “Yes Prime Minister. The Germans accelerated their own Southern advance after announcement on the 24th, the British and French units also begin to re-orient themselves towards our borders. The numbers flowing in are increasing exponentially each day. We expect perhaps 15,000 crossed over today and that number should easily double tomorrow. I expect with the fall of Dunkirk, tomorrow or shortly thereafter, that the British will be lucky to get 50,000, perhaps 75,000 out by sea. That means we can expect as many as 300,000 British and French troops, plus refugees.” The cabinet was stunned into silence. The speed of the Allied collapse was unprecedented. Van Rees continued. “Of course as I stated the accord agreed to by Minister Kleffen also is a windfall for our own army. We can expect several thousand transport trucks, and support vehicles to be interned and turn over. The artillery alone will more than re-equip our own regular army and all reserve forces. Frankly we expect to lack more manpower than material by the time the internment of material is complete.”

    “Well at least someone is happy how things are turning out.” Mused the foreign minister. “Also Prime Minister might I add that the British have convinced their American friends to guarantee our colonies in the East Indies, we can expect a public statement from their President Roosevelt in the near future.” The tabled nodded, glad for at least some good news. “We also will have to make a decision soon about non-combatant refugees.” Gerbrandy looked quizzically at his minster. “We have an immediate influx of both Belgium nationals, but also large number of Jewish refugees. Many of them are German, but of course the current Reich government is unlikely to accept them back with open arms.” “How many Belgians and how many Jews are we talking about?” asked the Prime Minister. Kleffan consulted some papers for a moment. “Perhaps 100,000 Belgians, some political refugees, some simply frightened. As for the Jews, maybe another 25,000? It depends how soon the route from Antwerp is cut. The Germans don’t seem to be interfering with any Jew moving towards our border, but that could stop once they establish firmer control. I was wondering if perhaps we might make use of some of the Belgian political and the Jews? Certainly some of them are of military age. If we bring them into our own forces, rather the French do?”

    June 14, 1940 – New York Times (headline)

    – having been declared an open city a scant two days ago the French capital was occupied today by German forces. The French government had already relocated to the south of France, but the loss of Paris is a serious blow towards any hopes of the French remaining in the war. Many expect that French Prime Minister Reynaud will be compelled to seek an armistice.
  11. MerryPrankster Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2004
    Good job Commies, for saving the Polish Jews and likely preventing the Holocaust, at least at OTL's level.

    Hopefully the attack on the Germans in Poland will help "work the bugs out" for the second round with the Nazis that's probably going to happen.

    Quick question--has the occupation of the Baltic States and the Winter War with Finland happened yet?
  12. DrakonFin Operator

    Oct 25, 2007
    The Finnish Military-Historical Complex
    Very interesting, Gemellus, and some very nice writing. Subscribed.

    It seems TTL's "Winter War" is with Germany in the same timeframe as the OTL Winter War in the north. I doubt the Soviets would have had the time and interest for such trivial matters as conquering Finland while making war against Germany. The POD has likely even butterflied the OTL Finno-Soviet negotiations about border changes in October-November 1939.

    The first round of Soviet demands to the Baltic states for bases, etc. was made in September-October. There is no mention of that either, so far, so it remains unclear whether the Soviets have put the OTL squeeze to the Baltics at all.

    Of course aggressive policies in the Baltic area and especially a Finnish campaign at this point would work against the rapprochement the USSR is seeking with the West.

    It is definitely interesting how the war turns out for the Baltics and Finland ITTL.
  13. Geordie NAME OF OWNER

    Feb 12, 2008
    Jarrow-on-Tyne, or Farnborough, Hampshire
    I second that.

    If everybody dropped everything to reposition after Stalin's death, it's quite likely that these negotiations never happened.

    Especially when this is considered. If the various elements of the Soviet system were trying to work out which way they were heading, they could well avoid this course of action. The lack of a Winter War will also lead to slightly less attention on Norway and Sweden in both London and Berlin. True, the Swedish ore is still a consideration, but it does remove any of Churchill's wilder ideas about advancing from Narvik across Northern Sweden to come to the aid of the Finns.
  14. Gemellus Member

    Nov 23, 2005
    Actually no. According the original terms of the Soviet-Nazi agreement Lithuania was in the German sphere, and it remained a German client in this TL. Estonia and Latvia have dodged the bullet so far. Finland is neutral as Stalin seems to be the driving force behind the war and the current Soviet collective leadership has other fish to fry.
  15. Gemellus Member

    Nov 23, 2005

    Correct. My opinion is that a rapid Russian attack in the late fall early winter of 39 would embarrass both the Germans and the Russians. The Germans had burnt out units from the Polish campaign, under gunned an under armored tanks and were still learning the more modern C-n-C. The Russians were bad in all those areas (a la the Winter War in our TL), but had enough advantages in arms and men to push the Germans back, even if they suffered higher casualties.

    The Soviet leadership (more to come on that) is still split between a West and German faction, but of course neither is seen as a true ally, just more of 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend'. Absent a coherent Soviet leadership (and none has emerged yet), their foreign policy will be more erratic as different factions seek domestic advantage by exploiting foreign events.

    JC (Gemellus)

    PS thanks for the complements on writing
  16. Gemellus Member

    Nov 23, 2005
    Thanks for the complements, see the posts above about Finland and the Baltic, plus the disarray of Soviet foreign policy. More today on this TL if I can find the time.

    Jc (Gemellus)
  17. Dave Howery laughs at your pain

    Jun 21, 2004
    Cheyenne WY
    wow, how did I miss this the first time? This is good stuff!
  18. Life In Black Down the rabbit hole....

    Sep 16, 2010
    Subscribed. Keep it up, this is awesome!
  19. Living in Exile Well-Known Member

    May 19, 2012
    This is an excellent timeline and I eagerly await the next update. What's Mussolini make of all this?
  20. SAVORYapple Resident Taiwanese Guy

    Sep 2, 2011
    With no Winter War, the Soviet Army is going to be much worse. I assume that political commissars will remain powerful, and reforms that OTL resulted in improved winter gear won't happen. Which will benefit Germany.

    I’m also not sure that the Meschelen incident might take place ITTL. And if it does not, there is a greater likelihood that Manstein might not push for an offensive into the Ardennes. There is also the fact that manstein’s discussions with Guderian over Manstein’s original plan might be butterflied somewhat. Regardless, a good TL. Will follow this.