How long could Nazi Germany delay its defeat?

Hitler ordered guerilla warfare to be used, I would see this war taking in up to early 1950s in best case scenario
I don’t really think that a devastated Germany by 1945 has any capacity to launch any sort of Nazi guerrilla movement - there’s hardly anyone left to fight it that either is committed enough to fight it and hasn’t already been killed or captured. There’s hardly a social base for it either, the Nazis had run out their goodwill among the German people at this point and I can’t see this being successful by any margin.

At best, this movement ends up like a smaller version of the Spanish Republican Maquis that descended from the hills and mountains of rural Spain to fire some shots at local police and civil guard or to rob a few banks and burn a few buildings here and there. Certainly not a going to be a movement so successful that it is long lasting and takes any sort of toll on the occupying Allies. The only thing this guerrilla movement could do is revere a wiped out leadership, watch their former idols publicly try and deflect blame for their actions, and actively make Germany’s new position in the post-war world worse.
 
Post WW2, the Western Allies were more than happy enough to work with some leading Nazi figures, such as rocket scientists, and to let others such as Albert Speer rehabilitate themselves. (Although Speer did have to serve some time in prison first.)

The reason the US and UK allowed this to happen is by 1949 it was clear that the Soviet Union were now a major threat, and leaving Germany disarmed and not using their technical knowhow was a waste.

In 1943, this consideration would be completely irrelevant. Stalin was 'Uncle Joe' at this point, and if some Nazis turn around and shot the leadership before saying, "PEACE! PEACE! You can TRUST us Nazis. We're not like Hitler and the guys we've just shot in the head without mercy." I don't think they're going to find any favour with the West or the Soviet Union.

I suspect there will be no meeting of the minds anyway to get a peace deal. I mean, lets see. Alt-Nazi Germany says, "What'll it take?"
Well, the following:
UK insists on Poland - 1938 borders in the 'West' at least, in fact probably more when the Soviet Union wants it's 1941 borders back. So Poland and ceded East Prussia as a minimum.
UK also insists on 1937 Czechoslovakia having ripped up the Munich agreement.
France insists on Alsace Lorraine and the 1940 treaty is ripped up.
Belgium, Netherlands all restored. Norway restored. Denmark too probably.
Complete withdrawal from the Balkans and all governments restored.
Austria and Luxemburg MIGHT be negotiatable. Maybe.... maybe not.
Reperations. Disarmament.
And don't say it too loud, but this Poland, and Romania will need to NOT be Nazi puppet states. In fact, there will be a requirement for them to be... ahem... friendly to the Soviet Union..... friendly as in allowing the Red Army to station their entire army in both nations if required. And votes (if any) will be personally counted by Uncle Joe.

And the Nazis will take one look at the map, see that France is still occupied, along with Soviet territory as far as Kharkov and say, "They want us to give up HOW MUCH?"
So no agreement will be able to be reached anyway.
 
But if Hitler ordered guerilla warfare to be used, I would see this war taking in up to early 1950s in best case scenario and be the most devastated country on ww2
No chance in hell. A successful guerrilla depends on the target population's goodwill, and by late 1945 nobody in Germany anymore was committed enough to want to bring back a regime that had allowed their country to be trashed to rubble and humiliated in the world stage.
 
No chance in hell. A successful guerrilla depends on the target population's goodwill, and by late 1945 nobody in Germany anymore was committed enough to want to bring back a regime that had allowed their country to be trashed to rubble and humiliated in the world stage.
What I mean is the last fanatical SS units will be the last to surrender
 
...In 1943, this consideration would be completely irrelevant. Stalin was 'Uncle Joe' at this point...
Information about the Katyn massacre started to leak (from the Nazis, of all people) in the spring of 1943.

Although I'm unclear how the way in which the Western Allied leaders viewed Stalin would affect their willingness to accept a Nazi surrender in 1943 (saving yet more fighting and deaths in Europe for their own troops, plus Stalin's), nor to permit some figures who happened to be Nazis but who had been (in this timeline) Nazis who removed Hitler and company and blamed them for everything to remain in charge of the day to day business of running an occupied Germany. (1943, I think is too late to avert an occupation.) Some of the leading Italian figures managed to hang on in Italy, as I noted, in the original timeline when Italy managed to partially successfully switch sides in 1943, and the Allies chose to accept the excuses and protestations of various Imperial Japanese government figures and left the Emperor in place in Imperial Japan after the Imperial Japanese surrender in 1945.
 
Post WW2, the Western Allies were more than happy enough to work with some leading Nazi figures, such as rocket scientists, and to let others such as Albert Speer rehabilitate themselves. (Although Speer did have to serve some time in prison first.)
If some of the Nazis depose Hitler and company, as soon as permitted by the opening post, in 1943, there might be space for them to put the blame on the deposed leaders, and hold onto some kind of positions, not least since in 1943 a surrender brings with it a complete liberation of Poland and some other Eastern European countries (as opposed to Stalin's version of liberation - i.e. Communist governments installed, answerable to Moscow) and Imperial Japan is still demanding attention. (I also note that in Italy after the Italian Armistice in 1943, some of the leading figures there managed to hang on for a while.)

A Nazi government isn't going to hang on for long past the original date by fighting to the last, I agree, but it seems to me at the moment possible that some of them might last considerably longer in power (albeit under occupation) by some nifty removal of their peers and rolling over and throwing themselves on the Western Allies' mercy.
Problem is that requires your new leaders to be three things:

1). in a position of authority in the Nazi regime to take power in this way and keep it

2). Be able to recognise in 1943 Germany's going to lose in 1945 so completely

3). be capable/willing to give up everything they gained since 1938/1939 (and remain in power while ordering it)

They're basically a Notzi unicorn. The Nazi/German government and power structures had by this point spent a decade creating a situation where any of the above would be weeded out or side-lined as individuals let alone as a group.
 
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Post WW2, the Western Allies were more than happy enough to work with some leading Nazi figures, such as rocket scientists, and to let others such as Albert Speer rehabilitate themselves. (Although Speer did have to serve some time in prison first.)
If some of the Nazis depose Hitler and company, as soon as permitted by the opening post, in 1943, there might be space for them to put the blame on the deposed leaders, and hold onto some kind of positions, not least since in 1943 a surrender brings with it a complete liberation of Poland and some other Eastern European countries (as opposed to Stalin's version of liberation - i.e. Communist governments installed, answerable to Moscow) and Imperial Japan is still demanding attention. (I also note that in Italy after the Italian Armistice in 1943, some of the leading figures there managed to hang on for a while.)

A Nazi government isn't going to hang on for long past the original date by fighting to the last, I agree, but it seems to me at the moment possible that some of them might last considerably longer in power (albeit under occupation) by some nifty removal of their peers and rolling over and throwing themselves on the Western Allies' mercy.
I think by 1943, the Nazi regime was pretty much over.

I've seen, what I'll best describe as 'optimistic', timelines on here with 1943 PODs which have Hitler replaced by Goering and then the Allies guzzle lead-paint and start a shooting war with themselves. I don't consider this sort of...... story..... plausible at all.

A Prussian Junta of sorts, *might* be able to pull something out the hat if they immediately coup the Nazis in 1943, and replace the whole regime with a stated aim of cleaning house and making peace. But the chances of this are pretty much nil and doing so defeats the original requirement of a Nazi German state surviving.

In all honesty, a Nazi Germany can survive to the Autumn of 1945, say early September. Either one of two scenarios:
1. They do a lot better militarily from 1943 onwards. Kursk doesn't happen (or is a bluff) and they are able to significantly stall the Soviets in the East and Western Allies in Italy and France. By August 1945, Germany is holding on still, probably on the Rhine (or West Wall, even better) in the West, and maybe somewhere between Berlin and Warsaw in the East. Autumn and the colder weather is coming and the Germans are digging in for the long fight, and Allied casualty estimates are still horrific with an estimated end to the war by conventional means no sooner than May 1946.
Truman reads the above, thinks sod it, and nuclear fire erupts over at least two German cities, with the threat of more (whether real or not, it seems real). Germany spends just long enough shooting any Nazis who managed to escape the nuking of Berlin before surrendering on 15th September 1945.

2. Germany does better, but not that much better. By August 1945, the situation is pretty much OTL March 1945. Truman therefore doesn't bother nuking, but Germany collapses one month later with the Soviets taking Berlin on 15th September 1945.

Any scenario where a junta takes over the Reich and makes peace with the Allies is ASB. The thing to remember is that the whole “Nazi vs German” difference is something that was invented in the postwar. People during the actual conflict didn’t view it that way, they were hell-bent on ending Germany as an aggressive foreign power forever, and they thought of Prussian militarism as being as big of a threat as the Nazi Party.

And as if the actual Nazis weren’t bad enough, remember that this is the SECOND time in less than a generation that the Allied powers had to spend kind-numbing amounts of blood and gold defeating Germany. They were determined to do it right this time; unconditional surrender wasn’t something that was going to be compromised on.
 
By the summer of 1943 the situation is pretty dire for the Axis. Probably the best POD for Germany is preventing the coup against Mussolini. The fall of Mussolini's regime and Italy's move to switch sides forced the Germans to divert dozens of divisions to hold Italy and to take over the Italian occupation zones in the Balkan countries and France. If the coup is averted and Mussolini's first regime remains in power then the Germans will still have to send some help to Italy, but far less then OTL. The Germans will save dozens of divisions for the defense of Germany itself while the Allies will have to expend more resources on the invasion of Italy. This could probably extend the war by a few months

We've just done this:

OK. That has the POD in september 1942, but with a POD in summer 1943 it really is just rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic.

@TDM posted a table with german forces compared to the soviet forces. They're so badly outnumbered that it spells total defeat in summer 1945 at the latest.
Comparative-Strengths1.jpg

If Mussolini’s government could somehow survive that would definitely be a huge help. The single biggest other thing that they could do would be to recognize that they could not hold out east of the Dneiper and to start fortifying its west bank earlier. IOTL, they were able to inflict horrifying casualties on the Soviets when they crossed it, equal to about half the attacking force (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Dnieper), and that was with only a few weeks of effort put into fortifying their positions. If they cancel Kursk/Operation Citadel, and start fortifying it in June as soon as summer starts (per OP’s parameters), it’s not impossible that they could defeat the first Soviet push across and force a long delay.

The west is harder. Even with Mussolini still in the war, the extra German divisions won’t really amount to much spread all throughout northern France. Their best bet once D-Day happens is to be flexible enough to prevent so many forces from getting trapped in the Atlantic pockets and to focus on fortifying the Siegfried Line from the get-go, with a backup of fortifying the east bank of the Rhine. In addition, they need to focus on holding part of the Scheldt for as long as they possibly can so that Port of Antwerp isn’t usable to the WAllies. That will greatly hamper logistics. Turn Walcheren and Noord-Beveland into fortresses, it’s more than worth it even if they get cut off and turned into the western Courland Pocket.

If they do all of that, I’m going to be optimistic and say they can hold out into late fall/early winter of 1945. By that time they will have been repeatedly nuked, although it’s hard to see that actually doing much more damage than Operation Gomorrah and such IOTL.
 
Basically what it says on the tin, with a POD in the summer of 1943, how long could Nazi Germany survive?
IF Kursk is avoided, there were a number of steps the Germans could've taken to improve their chances:

1. Withdraw behind the Dneiper, and appoint Manstein supreme commander of the eastern front. His mission would be to lure big Soviet forces into a trap, or at least repel attacking Russians with high losses. At the same time send out peace feelers to Stalin.

2. If Manstein inflicts a massive defeat on the Soviets, the USSR might agree to a separate peace. By this time the Germans would have to give back the bulk of Soviet territory they still have, but splitting the allies would have countervailing propaganda benefits to say nothing of military ones. As part of a peace deal, the Germans should try to get the Soviets to allow import of strategic materials from Japan, thereby providing more rubber, tungsten etc for the German war effort (By '43 most blockade runners could no longer get through).

3. Halt all u-boat construction, forget the type XXI and others.

4. Likewise, forgot V-rockets.

5. Send existing/remaining type VII and IX u-boats to lightly guarded peripheral areas while maintaining absolute radio silence, in order to inflict the maximum losses possible and force the allies to commit the most resources possible to ASW, as they now wouldn't know where u-boats may show up next--Caribbean? Brazilian waters? Indian Ocean? Cape of good hope?

6. Use the steel, labor etc saved from u-boat, v rocket construction mainly to increase weapons for the infantry, notably antitank guns.

7. Don't try to stop D-Day landings as allied airpower would still be overwhelming. Base the defense on the siegried line, roughly, and try to bleed the Americans to the point where the US public sees the war as too costly and futile hence dumps FDR in the November elections; the Wallies then negotiate peace by early '45. To some this may sound ASB but with more careful and realistic strategy and without a Russian front allied losses are bound to be much greater. Even if victory may seem theoretically certain, public reaction to losses, i.e. democracy, can still be an Achilles heel.
 
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The probem is, in 43 Hitler still thinks he is going to win .... so the 'sensible' things (preparing fortifications, re-allocating resources to defence, fighting retreats etc) are impossible ... by '43 I believe the Britihs have canned more than one plan to assassinate Hitler on the grounds that his intereferrence in military matters is lossing Germany the war, so his continued survival will shorten the war.
To last more than a few extra months the POD has to be much further back == ideally before Sept 1939 ... i.e. avoid war with Britain & France (or prepare much better).

Avoid a declaration of war on USA (1941) may delay D Day by a year (on another thread this is being discussed, consensuus seems to be that the Battle of the Atlantic will sooner or later result in a shooting war with USA between U-boats the the US Navy ... ) BUT that matters little, the vast majority of the Nazi forces were already engaged in the eastern front .... so the Red Army is camped outside Berlain whilst the Wallies are still slogging through France ...

IMHO Hitler's 'best' chance of hanging onto some gains is to declare a 'cease fire' against Britain after Battle of France (1940) == i.e. don't loose half the Luftwaffe on a failed Battle of Britain ... and DON'T invade the Soviet Union (w/o the Soviet 'trade' resources, the British blackade is going to bite) ..
But then that's with Notler (not Hitler) in charge ... Hitler is never going to convince the British to sign a Peace Treaty, almost everyone realised that any Treaty signed by Hitler was a worthless piece of paper, although some sort of 'cold war' might be possible ...

Let's POD an assassination attempt that succeeds after France falls in June 1940 ... say, 1,000lb bomb in a French sewer explodes under Hitler's car as he drives up the Champs-Élysées ....
In the ensuing chaos, Hitlers cronies squabble over who takes over and there is a military coup ...
BUT that means an early end to the Nazi's, not a longer survival date :)
 
A Prussian Junta of sorts, *might* be able to pull something out the hat if they immediately coup the Nazis in 1943, and replace the whole regime with a stated aim of cleaning house and making peace. But the chances of this are pretty much nil and doing so defeats the original requirement of a Nazi German state surviving.
As you yourself note by even entertaining the "Prussian solution" to "who is a nazi?" we may feel free to invoke Klaus Theweleit and delcare Prussian soldierliness to be inherently nazi in that it worked towards the fuhrer even prior to there being a fuhrer.

Bibliography
Klaus Theweleit _Male Fantasies_
On rereading Male Fantasies https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/38935813.pdf
 
Any scenario where a junta takes over the Reich and makes peace with the Allies is ASB. The thing to remember is that the whole “Nazi vs German” difference is something that was invented in the postwar. People during the actual conflict didn’t view it that way, they were hell-bent on ending Germany as an aggressive foreign power forever, and they thought of Prussian militarism as being as big of a threat as the Nazi Party.

And as if the actual Nazis weren’t bad enough, remember that this is the SECOND time in less than a generation that the Allied powers had to spend kind-numbing amounts of blood and gold defeating Germany. They were determined to do it right this time; unconditional surrender wasn’t something that was going to be compromised on.

The "stab in the back" by itself made unconditional surrender , or something close to it, inevitable not talking about everything else. When you go around saying "you didn't really lose last time" and start a war partly because of it your opponent is going to want to make it clear to you that you really lost. Considering the interwar period the Allies couldn't stop until they got to Berlin if they didn't want to risk round 3 (4 for the French).
 
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IF Kursk is avoided, there were a number of steps the Germans could've taken to improve their chances:

1. Withdraw behind the Dneiper, and appoint Manstein supreme commander of the eastern front. His mission would be to lure big Soviet forces into a trap, or at least repel attacking Russians with high losses. At the same time send out peace feelers to Stalin.

2. If Manstein inflicts a massive defeat on the Soviets, the USSR might agree to a separate peace. By this time the Germans would have to give back the bulk of Soviet territory they still have, but splitting the allies would have countervailing propaganda benefits to say nothing of military ones. As part of a peace deal, the Germans should try to get the Soviets to allow import of strategic materials from Japan, thereby providing more rubber, tungsten etc for the German war effort (By '43 most blockade runners could no longer get through).
It was too late to get the USSR after Stalingrad, if it was possible at all. Any agreement would be highly unpopular as all those deaths would be for nothing and everyone knew any treaty with Hitler wasn't worth the paper it was written on. There is no way in hell the Soviets would agree to restart trade, they would figure that the Germans would be trying to rearm for round 2.
 
IF Kursk is avoided, there were a number of steps the Germans could've taken to improve their chances:

1. Withdraw behind the Dneiper, and appoint Manstein supreme commander of the eastern front. His mission would be to lure big Soviet forces into a trap, or at least repel attacking Russians with high losses. At the same time send out peace feelers to Stalin.

2. If Manstein inflicts a massive defeat on the Soviets, the USSR might agree to a separate peace. By this time the Germans would have to give back the bulk of Soviet territory they still have, but splitting the allies would have countervailing propaganda benefits to say nothing of military ones. As part of a peace deal, the Germans should try to get the Soviets to allow import of strategic materials from Japan, thereby providing more rubber, tungsten etc for the German war effort (By '43 most blockade runners could no longer get through).

only by that point the Germans had made it very, very clear what they were all about on the eastern front. So they will remain an existential threat to the USSR.

Basically once you take your hand off the chess piece you can't undo the move here, even if you later realise it's a bad move
3. Halt all u-boat construction, forget the type XXI and others.

4. Likewise, forgot V-rockets.

5. Send existing/remaining type VII and IX u-boats to lightly guarded peripheral areas while maintaining absolute radio silence, in order to inflict the maximum losses possible and force the allies to commit the most resources possible to ASW, as they now wouldn't know where u-boats may show up next--Caribbean? Brazilian waters? Indian Ocean? Cape of good hope?

German subs were already operating in these places?

6. Use the steel, labor etc saved from u-boat, v rocket construction mainly to increase weapons for the infantry, notably antitank guns.

7. Don't try to stop D-Day landings as allied airpower would still be overwhelming. Base the defense on the siegried line, roughly, and try to bleed the Americans to the point where the US public sees the war as too costly and futile hence dumps FDR in the November elections; the Wallies then negotiate peace by early '45. To some this may sound ASB but with more careful and realistic strategy and without a Russian front allied losses are bound to be much greater.
If they're fighting on the Siegfried line they've lost, plus as you say there will be overwhelming allied air power, you can't fight under that for long

But you know what if they do hold there for more than a few months and numbers become an issue for the wallies, I'm wiling to bet a fair few Frenchmen (and Dutch etc) will be wiling to bolster allied numbers.

and even if by some miracle they managed to get an armistice in the east, at this point Stalin will most certainly attack since he loved a weakened and distracted opponent

Even if victory may seem theoretically certain, public reaction to losses, i.e. democracy, can still be an Achilles heel.

ah yes the usual democracy can't handle true war argument
 
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ah yes the usual democracy can't handle true war argument
something the Japanese were rather counting on, I gather .... upshot of a concern for casulties would result in "to save a million American lives we are going to nuke you until you call it quits" ..... so it's a bit moot ...
Any consideration for their men's lives is not going to stop either Hitler or Stalin (where the main fighting is taking place) ...
Post '43, I would contend, there is very little time left for the Nazi's and very little they can do to change that ....
 
ah yes the usual democracy can't handle true war argument
Ignoring the fact that most of this would have to take place after the election what is more likely
1) Dewey saying the war is lost and it needs to be ended or
2) Dewey saying Roosevelt dropped the ball on the war and with him in charge the US military will redouble its effort to bring the war to a successful conclusion?

Personally I am voting for 2.
 
1. Withdraw behind the Dneiper, and appoint Manstein supreme commander of the eastern front. His mission would be to lure big Soviet forces into a trap, or at least repel attacking Russians with high losses. At the same time send out peace feelers to Stalin.

2. If Manstein inflicts a massive defeat on the Soviets, the USSR might agree to a separate peace. By this time the Germans would have to give back the bulk of Soviet territory they still have, but splitting the allies would have countervailing propaganda benefits to say nothing of military ones. As part of a peace deal, the Germans should try to get the Soviets to allow import of strategic materials from Japan, thereby providing more rubber, tungsten etc for the German war effort (By '43 most blockade runners could no longer get through).
If Hitler thinks he's going to be able to peace out with the Soviets in '43, he's got another thing coming. At this point, Stalin is out for blood and he isn't going to stop until Berlin is a smoking ruin. The Nazis forfeited any chance they had at an accord with Stalin when they launched Barbarossa.
 
something the Japanese were rather counting on, I gather .... upshot of a concern for casulties would result in "to save a million American lives we are going to nuke you until you call it quits" ..... so it's a bit moot ...
Any consideration for their men's lives is not going to stop either Hitler or Stalin (where the main fighting is taking place) ...
Post '43, I would contend, there is very little time left for the Nazi's and very little they can do to change that ....
quite and at the end of the day the wallies at least were able to fight in way that saw far less likelihood of casualties.

CountryBranch of serviceNumber servedKilled/missingWoundedPrisoners of war CapturedPercent killed
GermanyArmy[275]13,600,0004,202,00030.9
GermanyAir Force (including infantry units)[275]2,500,000433,00017.3
GermanyNavy[275]1,200,000138,00011.5
GermanyWaffen SS[275]900,000314,00034.9
GermanyVolkssturm and other Paramilitary Forces[275]231,000
GermanyTotal (incl. conscripted foreigners)18,200,0005,318,0006,035,00011,100,00029.2
Japan[276][277]Army (1937–1945)6,300,0001,326,07685,60030,00024.2
JapanNavy (1941–1945)2,100,000414,8798,90010,00019.8
JapanPOW dead after surrender[278][279][280]381,000
JapanImperial Japan Total8,400,0002,121,95594,50040,00025.3
ItalyArmy3,040,000246,4328.1
ItalyNavy259,082[281]31,34712.0
ItalyAir Force130,000[282]13,21010.2
ItalyPartisan forces80,000[283] to 250,000[284][285]35,82814 to 44
ItalyRSI forces520,000[286]13,021 to 35,0002.5 to 6.7
ItalyTotal Italian Forces3,430,000[287][288]319,207[289] to 341,000320,0001,300,000[290]9.3 to 9.9
Soviet Union (1939–40)All branches of service[291]136,945205,924
Soviet Union (1941–45)All branches of service[292]34,476,7008,668,40014,685,5934,050,00025.1
Soviet UnionConscripted Reservists not yet in active service (see note below)[293]500,000
Soviet UnionCivilians in POW camps (see note below)[294]1,000,0001,750,000
Soviet UnionParamilitary and Soviet partisan units[295]400,000
Soviet UnionTotal Soviet Forces34,476,70010,725,34514,915,5175,750,00031.1
British Empire and Commonwealth[62][296][297]All branches of service17,843,000580,497475,000318,0003.3
United States[298]Army[299]11,260,000318,274565,861124,079[299][300]2.8
United StatesAir Force (included with Army)[299](3,400,000)(88,119)(17,360)2.5
United StatesNavy4,183,44662,61437,7783,848[301]1.5
United StatesMaritime Service215,0009,40012,000663[302]4.5
United StatesMarine Corps669,10024,51168,2072,274[303][301]3.7
United StatesCoast Guard[304]241,0931,9170.8
United StatesPublic Health Service Commissioned Corps[305]2,6008[306]0.3
United StatesCoast and Geodetic Survey Corps[307]3
United StatesTotal U.S. Armed Forces16,353,639407,316671,846130,201[308][309]2.5
 
One thing that always amazes me is that British+Empire actually fielded more troops (17.8m) than USA (16.3m, of which around 4.2m were Navy so I assume fighting Japan) ...
... and that Germany (18.2m) somehow thought they could win against the Soviets (34.5m) and Brits (17.8m) and USA (12m), odds of more than 3:1 against
 
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