How late could Nazi Germany have turned the tide of war?

CalBear

Moderator
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June 15, 1941 without earlier POD. After that the Reich required a defeat of the USSR simply to survive. That is, while not impossible, extremely unlikey, and requires a couple additional POD related to the Med. If the Reich leave Mussolini to his own devices, maybe, at most, providing enough stiffening to keep the Greeks from stomping his ass, that might provide enough additional combat mass to allow the capture of Moscow before the first serious snows. That, in turn might cause a series of strategic errors by Stavka as Stalin stops listening to anyone but the voices in his hear.

Of course even the above noted POD is insufficient if Hitler declares war on the U.S. Once the U.S. in all in and on track it's over.

IMO, the best chance the Reich had was to flat stop after they reached the Channel and North Sea in June of 1940. No BoB, no Sealion discussion, nada. Purely defensive activity by the Luftwaffe, no air attacks on the UK at all. Very public offer of a cease fire in place, including exchange of any prisoners wishing to return home, with the British, end of the U-Boat campaign and demilitarization, if not outright scuttling of all French warships overseen by the U.S. and the Swiss

Churchill will, of course, smell a rat, but as Bomber Command and merchant marine losses mount with zero Nazi aggression eventually the voters will get sick of fighting alone when the Reich has clearly decided it has achieved its goals and either turn Churchill out or the Government will have to accept the cease fire. This, of course, requires Hitler to actually have a lick of sense, so the odds are REALLY long, but it would give the Reich a good year to refit, train, stockpile, and prep for taking on the Bolsheviks (there is zero chance Hitler allow the "Jewish dominated" USSR to survive).
 
Even if Churchil stays, Hitler could've contacted the japanese and proposed a joint plan to attack the USSR. The nazis didn't even gave japan a warning about the whole Operation Barbarossa, really short-sighted.

"oh but excuse me, even with the japanese and the germans attacking together the soviets would still keep fighting" Yeah...they could still fight til the end, but there's no guarantee that they will.
The Soviets have absolutely no incentive to ever surrender to the Nazis. They knew full well that the Germans were out to kill them all.
Also, the Soviets completely wiped the floor with the Japanese every time they fought IOTL.
 
It is hard to overstate how bad the German economy was. The Nazi economy was running on glorified IOU's like the MEFO Bills prewar, only the gold and currency seized from Austria and Czechoslovakia prevented the collapse of Germany's overseas trade. The Reichsbahn was teetering on the brink of collapse before the Germans looted rolling stock from France. The only change they can make to stave off collapse is to slash military spending and that isn't happening in Nazi Germany.
I have trouble with economic arguments. Industrial arguments, yes — if your enemy can build five times as many tanks, you lose. But if you build tanks with borrowed money, with glorified IOUs, whatever, you’ve still got tanks, and you can ask your creditors if they really want to go to war over so many scraps of paper. Of course, Germany needed gold and hard currency to buy rubber, oil, chromium, etc., but the Reichsmark was relatively hard, possibly even more so after the Anschluss, and after war broke out they could just get those resources by strong arm robbery. Maybe I’m missing something, but, as I see it, when you’re willing to go to war, finances only matter in so far as they affect military strength.

(Added) Is there a historical example of a country calling in its debts (as in “pay now or else)?
 
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The Soviets have absolutely no incentive to ever surrender to the Nazis. They knew full well that the Germans were out to kill them all.
Also, the Soviets completely wiped the floor with the Japanese every time they fought IOTL.
They could collapse. If the germans take Moscow the soviets would be in a very complicated position, and I'm not even talking bout railway logistic problems. Would Stalin even leave Moscow? If he leaves this could lead to mass desertion along all the front. If he stays, well...

And the japanese dont need to really defeat the soviets in Siberia, they just need to make Moscow commit there even a little bit. If Tokyo successfully delays the embargo they could put a hell of a fight in Manchuria.
 
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Even if Churchill had never been born, Sealion still requires the use of ASB and, without a PoD involving America going wildly pro-Axis, the United States will still be sending the British enough to prop them up and avoid starvation. The most Hitler can hope to do is get a peace whereby the UK decides to leave well enough alone on the continent. Even then, it may just be nothing more than a WWII version of Amiens in 1802, with the Brits landing in France the moment Hitler invades the USSR
 
The Soviets have absolutely no incentive to ever surrender to the Nazis. They knew full well that the Germans were out to kill them all.
Also, the Soviets completely wiped the floor with the Japanese every time they fought IOTL.
I see you haven't heard of Lake Khasan:

Or that the Soviets took heavier losses than the Japanese at Nomonhan despite grossly outgunning and outnumbering them.

Supposedly Stalin was quite desperate to cut a deal with Hitler in 1941 and the Germans rebuffed them.
 
When Churchill was elected, the Nazis lost. A weaker British PM might have sought an earlier, brokered western peace, and the Nazis could have put full focus on the East.
This right here and the Operation Barbarossa are the nail and hammer that sealed Germany's fate in WWII.
 
but the Reichsmark was relatively hard, possibly even more so after the Anschluss, and after war broke out they could just get those resources by strong arm robbery. Maybe I’m missing something, but, as I see it, when you’re willing to go to war, finances only matter in so far as they affect military strength.
(Added) Is there a historical example of a country calling in its debts (as in “pay now or else)?
What you are missing is that the Reichsmark was pegged to the gold standard and was anything but hard in the 1930's. Nazi economic policy had pretty much ruined the value of the Reichsmark and after the USA and Great Britain went off the gold standard exchange rates were alarmingly high. This was very bad news for German exporters who couldn't compete on international markets and bad news for the Wehrmacht because it meant foreign exchange was in short supply and limited the import of strategic materials, many of which couldn't be obtained by 'strong arm robbery'. Balance of payments issues were a constant problem for German rearmament, repeatedly causing armaments production to be throttled back. Finances were a critical part of the whys and wherefores of the German war machine. it sounds easy to do things like cut back on infrastructure spending, but then your railway systems starts falling apart, coal doesn't get delivered, which means steel doesn't get made and suddenly you can't build all the tanks and guns you want and oh yeah productivity in those coal mines is declining because you can't produce enough food because you can't import fertilizer and the Ammonia you need to make synthetic fertilizer is going to make explosives instead. The notion that the Nazi regime could just snap its fingers and coerce everyone into making whatever they need and steal all the resources they needed is just wrong. Looting of occupied countries simply allowed Nazi Germany to stagger on with an ever more creaky system held together with an ever more elaborate system of bureaucratic regulation.
 
What you are missing is that the Reichsmark was pegged to the gold standard and was anything but hard in the 1930's. Nazi economic policy had pretty much ruined the value of the Reichsmark and after the USA and Great Britain went off the gold standard exchange rates were alarmingly high. This was very bad news for German exporters who couldn't compete on international markets and bad news for the Wehrmacht because it meant foreign exchange was in short supply and limited the import of strategic materials, many of which couldn't be obtained by 'strong arm robbery'. Balance of payments issues were a constant problem for German rearmament, repeatedly causing armaments production to be throttled back. Finances were a critical part of the whys and wherefores of the German war machine. it sounds easy to do things like cut back on infrastructure spending, but then your railway systems starts falling apart, coal doesn't get delivered, which means steel doesn't get made and suddenly you can't build all the tanks and guns you want and oh yeah productivity in those coal mines is declining because you can't produce enough food because you can't import fertilizer and the Ammonia you need to make synthetic fertilizer is going to make explosives instead. The notion that the Nazi regime could just snap its fingers and coerce everyone into making whatever they need and steal all the resources they needed is just wrong. Looting of occupied countries simply allowed Nazi Germany to stagger on with an ever more creaky system held together with an ever more elaborate system of bureaucratic regulation.
The Great Depression killed the value of the Mark, not the Nazis. That and the ToV preventing the Germans from free floating their currency, which was only repudiated by Hitler after he revealed rearmament. At that point Schacht tried to get him to free float the currency and focus on international trade to build the economy back up while dropping rearmament as a useless expense (not knowing Hitler planned on starting a war) that was killing the foreign exchange balance. Hitler wanted the gold standard to remain so that Germany could retain control over the value of the currency rather than having it be evaluated and it's value determined by the international markets.

Actually Hitler did effectively maintain the cuts to the Reichsbahn and it did cause serious problems, but he wanted his Autobahn and make work project. During the war they were forced to invest to fix the problems belatedly, but then bombing is what did the economy in much more than Nazi economic management (not that that management prior to Speer was rational or efficient...and that isn't buying in to the Speer myth, clearly it wasn't him so much as wider trends and the centralization of economic management under one office that was the important thing).

In fact Adam Tooze demonstrated they were in for a serious production boom as of 1943 before the Battle of the Ruhr blunted any expansion for 6 months. It was only the shift to Berlin by RAF BC that saved the German economy from the beginning of collapse. Before the bombing got particularly serious in 1943 Speer's ministry had used it's new found centralized authority over the economy to fix arguably most of the problems of Nazi bureaucracy (Hitler's demands excepted) including over the occupied economies, but the seriousness of the bombing and it's shift to Germany created insurmountable problems that were muddled through until bombing hit key industries/sectors in 1944 and initiated the economic collapse.
 
IMO, the best chance the Reich had was to flat stop after they reached the Channel and North Sea in June of 1940. No BoB, no Sealion discussion, nada. Purely defensive activity by the Luftwaffe, no air attacks on the UK at all. ... as Bomber Command and merchant marine losses mount with zero Nazi aggression eventually the voters will get sick of fighting alone when the Reich has clearly decided it has achieved its goals and either turn Churchill out or the Government will have to accept the cease fire.
if they followed your scenario and also struck an agreement with Vichy regime (withdrawing from most of the country), do you think the UK would have continued to fight to restore the other occupied countries?

there is a very cynical deal that could have been made over the Dutch and Belgian empires, historically the Nazi regime was paid with Belgian and Polish gold by the French.
 

CalBear

Moderator
Donor
if they followed your scenario and also struck an agreement with Vichy regime (withdrawing from most of the country), do you think the UK would have continued to fight to restore the other occupied countries?

there is a very cynical deal that could have been made over the Dutch and Belgian empires, historically the Nazi regime was paid with Belgian and Polish gold by the French.
It's really hard to say, Churchill would have wanted to, but the rest of the Country? There is a lot to say about not having to worry if a bomb is going to punch a hole in the ceiling, and not having to worry about your son dying on some foreign shore, especially if it isn't to, apparently, protect England.
 
Personally, I think any remnants of the Nazi regime surviving after Barbarossa is impossible. Assuming the war still happens like IOTL, the Reich would have to be salvaged before Barbarossa happens, because Barbarossa would have been the end of Germany.

Once I read an alternate history series when someone (accidentally) gets sent back in time to an alternate universe where Hitler dies in a plane crash in 1941. This said person was a historian from 1982 who had grown up in divided Berlin, and his alternate equivalent (gosh it is so hard to explain) had become Parteileiter (this alternate equivalent had disappeared, and the impostor has no memories from the other self). Anyways, since this guy came from the future, he (without giving away any spoilers) tried his very very best to dismantle Barbarossa and end the war with Britain, while still hanging onto conquered territories. (The British do not want to end the war, by the way.) A lot of my future reasoning might come from the series.

Considering Hitler’s ideology (and his personal physician’s... remedies) I doubt if any timeline involving him in control of Germany long enough to launch Barbarossa would have succeeded. If something had happened to the Führer before then, if the new ruler isn’t insane he might try to end the war. The British would resist, citing their pledge to liberate their allies (the conquered territories of the Reich) but if the new German ruler figures out how to play the British, he might be able to make the British citizens uninterested in the war and get Churchill replaced with someone who wants to make peace.
 
Just doing some uni coursework when the question came to me. Would some kind of victory as late as 1944 be possible? Defining victory as a stalemate or an armistice-something that allows Nazi Germany to survive instead of falling completey-but not a victory on the "Nazi domination of Europe" scale.
Ok, here is one not so far mentioned.

Late fall, 1940
Stalin pulls a {Churchill - FDR} move on, you guessed it, Churchill, and says to him if the UK keeps blockading Germany, Germany stays on a war footing, and if Germany stays on a war footing, and cannot use it's army against the UK, then they are going to start looking for someone else to use their army on, namely the Soviets. Before that can happen, the USSR will join the Axis, rather that fight them in a two front war! If the UK wants to fight the Germans with Soviet help, then the UK has to first make peace with Germany, immediately DoW Japan, and then Help the Soviets crush Japan as rapidly as possible, before Germany can prepare a full scale invasion of the USSR on his own. Only then, with Japan broken and demilitarized, and the USSR the uncontested master of Eastern Asia, will the Soviets be willing to help the UK fight the Germans.

Does Churchill make peace? Or leave the USSR to contemplate which is worse for them, a two front war against Japan and Germany, or an alliance with them, against the UK, should the UK be unwilling to make peace with Germany?

To get to a place where the Nazi's remain post war, but didn't conquer or be conquered, that's my best guess.

Do the Germans collapse postwar due to Nazi incompetence/mismanagement? Or do they last long enough to start a new war over something else, like Barbarossa?
 
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Had the Wehrmacht taken Moscow in 1941 or Fall Blau in 1942, yes, victory was possible as it would've allowed for the collapse of the USSR and the reorientation of the German economy towards fighting the Anglo-Americans to a stalemate. Had the Germans switched to the defensive in 1943 and the March 1943 assassination attempt on Hitler been successful, it is possible that the Germans could've pulled off an armistice along 1940 lines, as Stalin had peace feelers out and the end of the Eastern Front could've still allowed, with a much narrower margin, for the Germans to exhaust the Anglo-American political capital to a stalemate.

No conventional means existed, however, of winning the war in 1944. PoDs going back a few years could've allowed for a victory in 1944 via the development of nuclear weapons, though:
The Soviets would have continued on, esp given the Nazis were doing a war of extermination against them. Taking Moscow just buys them more time. The Peace feelers Stalin put out, the Soviets would have done a round 2 as soon as they could.
 
The Soviets would have continued on, esp given the Nazis were doing a war of extermination against them. Taking Moscow just buys them more time. The Peace feelers Stalin put out, the Soviets would have done a round 2 as soon as they could.
If the Germans had taken Leningrad and Moscow in 1941, the Soviet system would've collapsed.
 
It's really hard to say, Churchill would have wanted to, but the rest of the Country? There is a lot to say about not having to worry if a bomb is going to punch a hole in the ceiling, and not having to worry about your son dying on some foreign shore, especially if it isn't to, apparently, protect England.
I agree, people fall into the trap of the post-war Churchill myth. He wasn't omnipotent, he wasn't even that popular with large swathes of the population and fellow MPs.
 
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