Germany follows the Goering stratgy in 1940 and 1941

All these threads come back to the same thing, people buy into the myth of the Wehrmacht as an unstoppable, invincible fighting machine. So on the occasions it was stopped this must have been either bad luck or a misjudgement on their part. I mean what their enemies might do is all but irrelevant. So because the Axis had a little more success in the Middle East than it did with Barbarossa clearly the mistake was not committing full to the Med. Sure Spain had little or nothing to gain from joining the war and the Nazi's could barely sustain the logistics of the Afrika Corps as it existed OTL and Germany can't get the resources it needs from the Middle East but there must be some way the Nazi's can win the war, it can't be that a bunch of lunatics plunged their country into a war with no clear plan how to win it and without the resources to fight it and just got incredibly luck for the first year or so?
So long as the logistics held out, the Wehrmacht was doing pretty well, until the latter part of 1942 when the Australian 9th division beat anything German in their vicinity at second El Alamein meaning no-more-stuff-looted-from-the-British-to-supplement-North-African-Campaign-German-logistics (and over on the eastern front problems at Stalingrad started to spiral way out of German control.)
Regarding the British the problem was that after the British did decide to fight on after Vichy signed the Bordeaux Armistice, to get a quick victory the Germans needed either to force the British into a position of economic collapse or gain supremacy in the Atlantic for long enough to starve the British - which smashing and grabbing stuff around North Africa didn't get them, and being at war with the United States, post Pearl Harbour, got them even further away from.
 
So long as the logistics held out, the Wehrmacht was doing pretty well, until the latter part of 1942 when the Australian 9th division beat anything German in their vicinity at second El Alamein meaning no-more-stuff-looted-from-the-British-to-supplement-North-African-Campaign-German-logistics (and over on the eastern front problems at Stalingrad started to spiral way out of German control.)[/QUOTE}

But that was pretty much the point, the Germans kept staggering on as long as there was someone to loot, whether it was captured British petrol or the entire food production of the Ukraine. Their logistics didn't collapse in France because of the short distances and excellent road network.

Regarding the British the problem was that after the British did decide to fight on after Vichy signed the Bordeaux Armistice, to get a quick victory the Germans needed either to force the British into a position of economic collapse or gain supremacy in the Atlantic for long enough to starve the British - which smashing and grabbing stuff around North Africa didn't get them, and being at war with the United States, post Pearl Harbour, got them even further away from.
They basically entered the war with no plan for how to beat the British and their plan for France was an uninspired rerun of WWI. They came up with a plan for France that was a massive gamble that came off. At no point did they have the means to bring Britain to its knees. Even if they had built the fleet of U-Boats some advocate Doenitz estimated it would take 18 months to cut Britain off from its overseas supply lines and then maybe another year to starve it into submission, there simply was no quick way to defeat Britain, absent the means to carry out the Unmentionable Seamammal.
 
Trying to look at this big picture and I think if there is a possible (not necessarily probable) window of opportunity to get Franco to fall off the Stupid Tree and hit every branch on the way down, it's in the summer of 1940 when the Nazi Sun is at its zenith, the Battle of Britain has not been lost, and Hitler can still pretend the OP PINNIPED has a chance. So, here is my construct:
  • Instead of sending Canaris to meet with Franco in late July 1940, Hitler himself makes it a personal priority to convince Franco to get on board and meets him at Hendaye in late July 1940.
  • Hitler assures Franco that Germany is gearing up to start a bombing offensive against Britain that will make Guernica look like a family picnic.
  • Hitler assures Franco that once the bombing campaign has done its thing, the OP PINNIPED will be launched, no later than late September.
  • Hitler, promises Franco that he can have Gibraltar and whatever British colonies in West Africa that he wants.
  • Hitler further promises Franco that he will sponsor good faith negotiations between Spain and Vichy France for territorial concessions in French Morocco and southern France, promising that he will buy the French off with territorial concessions in Palestine and East Africa.
  • Hitler promises Franco that Germany will make up lost food imports in the short term but in reality he need not worry because eventually the decadent money grubbing Americans will get back to selling food to Spain because they can't afford to screw over their poor desperate farmers. He knows this because he saw the movie Grapes of Wrath several times (true OTL).
  • Franco agrees and on Eagle Day (13 August) Spain declares war on Great Britain and Hitler orders Jodl to go forward with OP FELIX once the forces are assembled and the necessary logistical arrangements with Spain are made.
I don't know if the above is enough to get Franco to declare war on Great Britain but IMO the summer of 1940 is the best time for Hitler to press the issue because it allows him to make wild @$$ promises at a time when Franco is probably most likely to believe them.

Disclaimer - I am still skeptical that Franco bites but if I were writing a TL on this, I would probably structure as above (at least initially).
 
Trying to look at this big picture and I think if there is a possible (not necessarily probable) window of opportunity to get Franco to fall off the Stupid Tree and hit every branch on the way down, it's in the summer of 1940 when the Nazi Sun is at its zenith, the Battle of Britain has not been lost, and Hitler can still pretend the OP PINNIPED has a chance. So, here is my construct:
  • Instead of sending Canaris to meet with Franco in late July 1940, Hitler himself makes it a personal priority to convince Franco to get on board and meets him at Hendaye in late July 1940.
  • Hitler assures Franco that Germany is gearing up to start a bombing offensive against Britain that will make Guernica look like a family picnic.
  • Hitler assures Franco that once the bombing campaign has done its thing, the OP PINNIPED will be launched, no later than late September.
  • Hitler, promises Franco that he can have Gibraltar and whatever British colonies in West Africa that he wants.
  • Hitler further promises Franco that he will sponsor good faith negotiations between Spain and Vichy France for territorial concessions in French Morocco and southern France, promising that he will buy the French off with territorial concessions in Palestine and East Africa.
  • Hitler promises Franco that Germany will make up lost food imports in the short term but in reality he need not worry because eventually the decadent money grubbing Americans will get back to selling food to Spain because they can't afford to screw over their poor desperate farmers. He knows this because he saw the movie Grapes of Wrath several times (true OTL).
  • Franco agrees and on Eagle Day (13 August) Spain declares war on Great Britain and Hitler orders Jodl to go forward with OP FELIX once the forces are assembled and the necessary logistical arrangements with Spain are made.
I don't know if the above is enough to get Franco to declare war on Great Britain but IMO the summer of 1940 is the best time for Hitler to press the issue because it allows him to make wild @$$ promises at a time when Franco is probably most likely to believe them.

Disclaimer - I am still skeptical that Franco bites but if I were writing a TL on this, I would probably structure as above (at least initially).
ROTFLMAO. How tall is that stupid tree?
 
One important thing to keep in mind for the scenario I outlined above - it likely has massive butterflies in the United States. Spain had (still has) a lot of influence in Latin America and Spain joining the Axis alliance as an active member in 1940 will set off alarm bells in Washington. FDR will play it up for all it is worth and the British will no doubt do all they can to pour kerosene on that campfire - https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2673298/Hitlers-amazing-map-turned-America-against-Nazis-A-leading-novelists-brilliant-account-British-spies-US-staged-coup-helped-drag-Roosevelt-war.html

Most isolationists were committed to hemispheric defense and the increased possibility (either perception or reality) of Axis shenanigans in the Western Hemisphere will play into FDR's hands. Exactly how is impossible to predict but it has to be considered.
 
One important thing to keep in mind for the scenario I outlined above - it likely has massive butterflies in the United States. Spain had (still has) a lot of influence in Latin America and Spain joining the Axis alliance as an active member in 1940 will set off alarm bells in Washington. FDR will play it up for all it is worth and the British will no doubt do all they can to pour kerosene on that campfire - https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2673298/Hitlers-amazing-map-turned-America-against-Nazis-A-leading-novelists-brilliant-account-British-spies-US-staged-coup-helped-drag-Roosevelt-war.html

Most isolationists were committed to hemispheric defense and the increased possibility (either perception or reality) of Axis shenanigans in the Western Hemisphere will play into FDR's hands. Exactly how is impossible to predict but it has to be considered.
But who had copied it and why was such a secret, inflammatory document being carried in a despatch case by a humble embassy courier? The South American map was, I’m convinced, an elaborate fake, concocted by BSC’s expert department of forgery (known as Station M and based in Canada). It hoodwinked CIA chief J. Edgar Hoover and Roosevelt and, having seen a reproduction of it, I can testify to its authenticity – the scribbled marginalia of some anonymous German official, asking precise questions about fuel supplies and Mexican participation, being the masterstroke.
"CIA chief J. Edgar Hoover"? Seriously, I cannot take William Boyd seriously.

And after all it is the "Daily Mail".😆😆😆
 
The easiest scenario is for the Spanish civil war to continue. The longer war brings in Portugal against Franco when it's clear Hitler bit off too much (probably around the attack on Poland)

Then France falls, Germany's roll up the republicans and rescue Franco.

Spain gets Portugal. France gets Catalonia. Italy gets Balerics. Germany gets naval rights at Gibraltar etc at Spanish Atlantic possessions (occupied by free Portugal and free Spain).

The big thing here is that every nation is now culpable, they all occupy territory. add some colonial redrawing which is purely theoretical outside Northern Africa
 
When considering Spain and it's ability to take part in any extended war, it might be a good look to think about mobilisation:
Review by Andrea Davis, Arkansas State University
Spain at War: Society, Culture and Mobilization, 1936–44
Ed. James Matthews
New York: Bloomsbury, 2019. Pp. xii, 263. ISBN 978–1–350–03012–1.
Descriptors:Volume 2020, 20th Century, Spanish Civil War, World War IIPrint Version

Taken together, the twelve essays[1] in this well-conceived volume form a coherent narrative of social and cultural mobilization in Spain during the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War. The work of both senior and early-career scholars, they are intended to "advance recent groundbreaking research on the topic … [and] make available a cross-section of leading Spanish-language historiography" (2) to an Anglophone audience.



In contrast to traditional military and political histories of the war, which "pit the fragmented Republic against the better-coordinated Francoist militarized state," the book takes a comparative approach to the two camps and situates the Spanish conflict within its broader European context (141). The result is a nuanced interpretation highlighting unequal conditions, similar social dynamics, and shared modernizing frameworks.

The volume begins in July 1936 with the failed military coup. Although conditions differed for the insurgents and loyalists at its outbreak, the conflict created similar needs initially met by popular initiatives. These included the formation of a politically diverse militia on the Left, examined by Michael Alpert and James Matthews (chap. 2); the use of Carlist and Falangist militias on the Right, discussed by Mercedes Peñalba-Sotorrío (chap. 3); the emergence of amateur espionage services drawn primarily from civilian ranks, explored by Hernán Rodríguez Velasco (chap. 7); and the establishment of local social aid, considered by Ángel Cenarro (chap. 5). Within a few months, each side had built the state mechanisms needed to regulate or replace these popular initiatives.
On the loyalist side, a more conventional Republican Popular Army emerged as the government drew on the experience of the militia to establish its mobilizing myth of a "nation in arms." So, too, when the Republic wrested control of social aid from local workers' associations, it placed the Ministry of Health and Social Policy under anarchist leadership to assuage its revolutionary bases.

Centralization was more straightforward on the insurgent side. As the Falange had played a dominant role on the battlefield and in the rearguard early in the war, it gained control over key military and welfare institutions, and ultimately secured a prominent position within the FET y de las JONS party established by Gen. Francisco Franco in April 1937.

After the militia phase of the war had rallied the politicized to arms, the Nationalist and Republican armies struggled to mobilize soldiers, as demonstrated in James Matthews's discussion of conscription (chap. 4) and Pedro Corral's of desertion and shirking (chap. 5). Neither side, however, limited mobilization to the frontlines. Within the modernizing context that repudiated Liberalism in favor of an interventionist state, both sides mobilized women as caretakers, a subject explored in Ángel Cenarro's account of social aid measures and Suzanne Dunai's of home-front cooking (chaps. 9 and 11). Verónica Sierra Blas covers the topic of children as prime targets and subjects of partisan messages (chap. 10).

Amid these competing mobilization campaigns, the Nationalists maintained a stabler currency than their Republican adversaries, allowing them to "gain and retain support from European and Spanish capitalists …, offer incentives to their peasants, workers, and soldiers" (123), and better provision their soldiers and civilians. Michael Seidman argues (chap. 8) that these advantages helped the Nationalists win the war.

For both victors and vanquished, demobilization was constrained by the conditions of World War II, as James Matthews maintains (chap. 1) in order to justify the volume's extended chronology: "General Francisco Franco's regime asserted itself through continued mobilization against its Republican enemies in peacetime and remained on a continued war footing because of the raging global conflict" (3). Ángel Alcalde adds (chap. 12) that, while veterans on the Francoist side became a "privilege group" after the war as they helped Franco consolidate power at the local level, many Republican veterans suffered imprisonment or exile, particularly to France, where some remobilized for the Second World War.

Besides Republican exiles, many other Spaniards participated in the war as well. Though Spain was not an official belligerent, some 47,000 fascists, radical Catholics, and Francoist veterans took part in the Russia campaign as part of the Wehrmacht's "Blue Division." Xosé M. Núñez Seixas demonstrates (chap. 13) that the motives of these Spanish volunteers were more moderate than those of their German counterparts, owing to weaker racial indoctrination and less radicalizing combat conditions.

Núñez Seixas and Ali Al Tuma (chap. 6), on encounters between Moroccan and Republican combatants, make it clear that racial conceptions shaped the behaviors and global perspective of Spaniards at both ends of the ideological spectrum. It remains less clear, however, whether the attitudes of Blue Division volunteers towards Slavs and Jews in the East and of Republicans toward Moroccans at home reflected similar or competing cultural biases.

Editor James Matthews deserves much credit for so expertly balancing breadth of research with narrative coherence in this welcome addition to the English-language historiography of the Spanish Civil War. Readers from advanced undergraduates to specialists in interwar social and cultural mobilizations will benefit from a careful consideration of the papers gathered in Spain at War.

[1] Distributed in four parts: "Initial Mobilizations," "Mobilizing for Total War," "Rearguard Areas and Actors," and "Legacies of the Spanish Civil War, 1939–1944."
[Source]
 
Franco’s not going to agree to losing Catalonia
Then he should have won without Germany's army, if Franco doesn't agree someone who does will be found

The Basque might go too. At least Portugal is about the same population and gdp. Still this is not a reward
 
Last edited:

Stenz

Monthly Donor
Then he should have won without Germany's army, if Franco doesn't agree someone who does will be found
So now as well as invading and conquering/annexing/co-opting Spain, the Germans are going to be carrying out a regime change and supporting said quisling ruler?

I thought this “Spanish option” was meant to be a resource gain rather than a drain?
 
There has been a lot of thought provoking comments posted in the past 11 pages, but to get back to the OP's question one comment caused me to pause 'What's in it for Franco'?
That is really the crux of the question and how it gets answered. As I think of all the decisions (post Poland) that Germany made, they all seem ad-hoc or 'responses to the crisis of the hour'. There does not seem to be any comprehensive strategy as to Where-Why-How-Next move thought process to the entire war after Poland. Prior to that each move 'seemed' to have a semi-strategic bent as they all built on each other in bringing back lost territory or reuniting German nationals. After that all the moves seemed to be 'look around and decide what you want to do next'.

I think Hitler couldn't sell Franco because Hitler couldn't explain a global Strategic plan to Franco that had any substance or reality. As stated on other posts Franco was a cold realist and I'm sure couldn't see where joining the Axis was going to benefit Spain at all! What was missing was Hitler and Mussolini having a detailed step-by-step plan of the moves they would make and how they would achieve the desired results. Had they had that and shared with Franco they may have been able to get him to join.

However considering all the time Hitler and Mussolini spent together it doesn't seem like they had any idea of how they were going to share their conquests. What was the after war plan on how to control and administer their new territory? In fact what was the 'End' game? I don't think they had one. I'm guessing that Franco picked up on that and said to himself 'I can't align with these guys. They don't have any idea of what success is.' So irregardless of the logistics and resources and all the other stuff I can't see Spain ever going along with the Axis.
 
However considering all the time Hitler and Mussolini spent together it doesn't seem like they had any idea of how they were going to share their conquests. What was the after war plan on how to control and administer their new territory? In fact what was the 'End' game? I don't think they had one. I'm guessing that Franco picked up on that and said to himself 'I can't align with these guys. They don't have any idea of what success is.' So irregardless of the logistics and resources and all the other stuff I can't see Spain ever going along with the Axis.
(^^^) This.
 
There has been a lot of thought provoking comments posted in the past 11 pages, but to get back to the OP's question one comment caused me to pause 'What's in it for Franco'?

That is really the crux of the question and how it gets answered. As I think of all the decisions (post Poland) that Germany made, they all seem ad-hoc or 'responses to the crisis of the hour'. There does not seem to be any comprehensive strategy as to Where-Why-How-Next move thought process to the entire war after Poland. Prior to that each move 'seemed' to have a semi-strategic bent as they all built on each other in bringing back lost territory or reuniting German nationals. After that all the moves seemed to be 'look around and decide what you want to do next'.

In fact what was the 'End' game?
think they had a crystal clear endgame and strategy, conquer and/or enslave the East ... everything else is a stepping stone or distraction.

that is just not a strategy that rallies the "stepping stones" to your side?
 

Stenz

Monthly Donor
Germany’s strategic goals are weakened by their strategic limitations.

An American President could call a prospective ally’s ambassador to the White House and lay out a plan for world domination.
“We will expand into Asia and Europe through a combination of Alliances, annexations and puppetisation of our enemies.” the President could declare.
“But where are your aircraft carriers to conquer the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to secure your routes to Asia and Europe?” The sceptical ambassador might ask.
“We do not have them now, that much is clear.” The President could reply “But we will build them in short order, I assure you.”
A doubting Ambassador could then be shown the dockyards and factories to make the President’s will a reality.

Now compare this to, say, an ambassador from Vichy France or Francoist Spain asking Hitler the same question.
“Well, we will knock Britain out of the war through unspecified means at an unspecified time. After that we will conquer the Soviet Union through equally unspecified means with doubtful logistical support. This will secure the resources we need to build the as yet unbuilt navy we require to defeat the vastly more experienced American Navy...” (Hitler pauses for breath) “Wait, Ambassador, where are you going?”
 
Germany’s strategic goals are weakened by their strategic limitations.
Now compare this to, say, an ambassador from Vichy France or Francoist Spain asking Hitler the same question.
“Well, we will knock Britain out of the war through unspecified means at an unspecified time. After that we will conquer the Soviet Union through equally unspecified means with doubtful logistical support. This will secure the resources we need to build the as yet unbuilt navy we require to defeat the vastly more experienced American Navy...” (Hitler pauses for breath) “Wait, Ambassador, where are you going?”
I agree with your points but that wasn't exactly the point I was trying to make.

Hitler wasn't prepared for France and GB to declare war on him over Poland. He 'reacted' to their actions. When he defeated France in 6 weeks he wasn't 'prepared' for the next step, he reacted.

What I was trying to explain was that there was a real lack of strategic step-by-step process on Germany's moves when events happened. They really never had the initiative after France (maybe Poland) because every move they made was THEIR reaction to what the Allies did (or didn't do). Now they were successful up to a point which made it appear that they had the initiative, but maybe that was the illusion all along.

Hitler didn't think France would fall as quickly as they did and after they did he expected GB to quit (because he didn't really want to disrupt their empire) so he could concentrate on the East. Didn't happen and he wasn't prepared to deal with a continued war with GB. He came up with a plan on the fly. Something that typically is NOT successful in military situations when you talk strategic planning.

The planning for what to do with GB should have happened Jan 1st 1940. Germany could have decided then would they directly attack GB (invasion) or attack them from the periphery and threaten their empire. This is where the Med strategy should have been planned and resources gathered for how Germany and Italy would close the Med to GB. As thin as the defenses were the only struggle would have been in Egypt where GB had decent forces. If in mid to late 1940 the Axis kicked GB out of the Med (or it looked like that would happen) my guess is the Balkan problems would have gone away. Greece would have sided with Germany and Yugoslavia probably would have as well. Hitler would have had to convince Mussolini to wait on his territorial demands in the Balkans until after the war. That eliminates that resource drain/side show and further alienates GB from the Med.

Does kicking GB out of the Med force them to quit; don't know. But I do know it shortens the defense lines for Italy and protects their infrastructure from being bombed. The two points they now have to defend in Gibraltar/Morocco and pushing down to the horn of Africa at the entrance to the Red Sea. The Med becomes a peaceful place of commerce and infrastructure improvement. It also gives the Axis another potential starting point (depending what Turkey does) in the eventual fight with the USSR.

Anyways that's how I was thinking...🤔
 
Hitler wasn't prepared for France and GB to declare war on him over Poland. He 'reacted' to their actions. When he defeated France in 6 weeks he wasn't 'prepared' for the next step, he reacted.
'Wages of Destruction' makes a very good argument that Hitler did expect them to fight by 1939, Hitler simply concluded, probably correctly, that there was nothing to be gained from waiting. Germany had reached the peak of its military power relative to Britain and France, after 1939 the advantages the Wehrmacht had would rapidly diminish as Britain and France's rearmament kicked into high gear.

The planning for what to do with GB should have happened Jan 1st 1940.
That's about a decade too late I'm afraid. bear in mind that through much of the 1930's Nazi Germany was hoping to avoid war with Britain . If they had decided that war was inevitable they run back into the issue of resources, if Germany diverts resources to the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe to create the means to bring Britain to its knees and/or invade that is going to come at the expense of the Heer and they were running on very thin margins OTL when they attacked France, indeed without the booty of AFV's and other materiel seized from the Czech's its questionable whether 'Sickle Cut' could have been carried out at all. Cut their slice of the pie and the Germany may not acquire the bases on the French coast to begin with
 
'Wages of Destruction' makes a very good argument that Hitler did expect them to fight by 1939, Hitler simply concluded, probably correctly, that there was nothing to be gained from waiting. Germany had reached the peak of its military power relative to Britain and France, after 1939 the advantages the Wehrmacht had would rapidly diminish as Britain and France's rearmament kicked into high gear.



That's about a decade too late I'm afraid. bear in mind that through much of the 1930's Nazi Germany was hoping to avoid war with Britain . If they had decided that war was inevitable they run back into the issue of resources, if Germany diverts resources to the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe to create the means to bring Britain to its knees and/or invade that is going to come at the expense of the Heer and they were running on very thin margins OTL when they attacked France, indeed without the booty of AFV's and other materiel seized from the Czech's its questionable whether 'Sickle Cut' could have been carried out at all. Cut their slice of the pie and the Germany may not acquire the bases on the French coast to begin with
Germany needed the war to happen in 1939/1940 or the surge in their armaments (especially in the size/experience/tactics advantage of their air force) would have completely evaporated because France and Britain where now re-arming faster than they where; Germany was still 2.5 war years from building a viable war system that could frontally defeat the maginot line, so the advantage was all going one direction
 
Wages of Destruction' makes a very good argument that Hitler did expect them to fight by 1939, Hitler simply concluded, probably correctly, that there was nothing to be gained from waiting.
Hitler Receives an Ultimatum

Halifax cabled Ambassador Nevile Henderson in Berlin and told him to deliver an ultimatum to Ribbentrop at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 3. Ribbentrop scornfully let it be known that he would not be “available” but that Henderson could deliver his message to the departmental interpreter, Paul Schmidt. As it happened, Schmidt overslept that morning, arrived by taxi to see Henderson already climbing the steps of the Foreign Ministry, and slipped in a side door just in time to receive him at 9. Henderson stood and read aloud his message, declaring that unless Britain were assured of an end to the Polish invasion within two hours, “a state of war will exist between the two countries.”

Schmidt dutifully took the British ultimatum to Hitler’s Chancellery, where he found the Fuhrer at his desk and the “unavailable” Ribbentrop standing at a nearby window. Schmidt translated the ultimatum aloud. “When I finished, there was complete silence,” he recalled. “Hitler sat immobile, gazing before him.
After an interval which seemed an age, he turned to Ribbentrop, who had remained standing by the window. 'What now?' asked Hitler with a savage look, as though implying that his Foreign Minister had misled him about England's probable reaction. Ribbentrop answered quietly: 'I assume that the French will hand in a similar ultimatum within the hour.'

As my duty was now performed, I withdrew. To those in the anteroom pressing round me I said: 'The English have just handed us an ultimatum. In two hours a state of war will exist between England and Germany.' In the anteroom, too, this news was followed by complete silence.

Goering turned to me and said: 'If we lose this war, then God have mercy on us!' Goebbels stood in a corner, downcast and self-absorbed. Everywhere in the room I saw looks of grave concern, even amongst the lesser Party people."
 
Last edited:
Top