How much of our modern consensus of the inevitability of Allied victory in WWII is due to information after the fact?

Garrison

Donor
It becomes inevitable if you assume:
1) The Americans finance the British Empire- which was very controversial and that the Americans would sacrifice to the point if gas rationing in a foreign war

2) That the Soviets survive 1941 which is no means assured. They aren't really safe until 1943

3) The US declares war which no one thought inevitable until Pearl

You simply ignore the role unforeseeable events play in the conflict as well as the problems facing Britain's economy.

Lend lease is passed because Britain is broke and can no longer sustain cash and carry.

Of course the German economy cant sustain itself. No war economy can. In war, countries devote everything to immediate victory. Britain fighting the Nazis alone simply wont work

Even Britain and the Soviets arent going to win. America wins it just like she wins WWI
Your argument was that Germany was in a stronger economic position than Britain, which is false. Other variables might influence the outcome of the war of course but the economic might of Germany isn't one of them and trying to base a scenario on that idea is doomed to fail.
 
Germany's idea of economic integration left a lot to be desired.
Mobilising the economic output of the empire wasn't easy but provided Britain could maintain control of the sea it was still going to triumph over an opponent who had a smaller economic base to start with and who thought that mass murder and slave labour was good policy.
Help from the US (which was largely - and very welcome - self-interest) more or less ensured nazi defeat. It may not have been essential but it would have been much harder and slower without it.
 
yeah sure. And what do you think happens when the Americans demand cash. See, that is the first thing you miss.

In June 1940, Britain has no clue that the Americans are going to lift the cash and carry rules let alone finance the war for them.
I mean...credit is...like... A pretty common thing that had been done for awhile. And grain is not horribly expensive either so what's your point here?

Also American business are not stupid nor evil and would happily sell food and other supplies at increased rates to feed the British. You also seem to be ignoring that during the war domestic British food production increased significantly.
And no, Germany doesnt need to invade Russia for food. Stalin is happily selling it.
And to turn the tables, what happens when Stalin demands cash? Or better yet what happens when the whole rotten Ponzi scheme that is the German economy collapses in 41/42 without any fresh conquests to paint over the gaping holes in said economy?
So until the German invasion of Russia, you simply have no argument nor can you lay out how this "inevitable" victory is going to happen.
I mean it's been done in other comments.
Given the rapid collapse of the Soviets, there's no reason to say that a Anglo-Soviet victory is probable let alone "inevitable".
So Soviet collapse is inevitable, British defeat is inevitable and somehow you seem to be saying a German victory is likely?
Once America enters, Germany will lose. The Soviets can still collapse and Britain will emerge an impotent shell, but America will be standing firm
 
(2.5 million Indian troops served in WWII).

Not in Europe, they didn't. One thing for Indian troops being used in Burma, Iran, and other places that the Indian subcontinent could see as being within India's interests. Quite another to send them as cannon fodder in Europe for a purely British contest.
 
Not in Europe, they didn't. One thing for Indian troops being used in Burma, Iran, and other places that the Indian subcontinent could see as being within India's interests. Quite another to send them as cannon fodder in Europe for a purely British contest.
North Africa, the Middle East.

What's this purely British contest in Europe?
 
There was discussion in the government that Britain should surrender after the fall of France. Not certain how serious it was though.
I think you might be confusing "make peace" and "surrender", which are two very different things. Had Britain 'made peace' in 1940, then one assumes Hitler turns east while the US and Britain forge towards a formal alliance.

I would be interested to see a plausible scenario where Germany manages to win against Britain on a one on one. Britain held the economic, industrial, financial, population, institutional, naval, and geographic advantage..

There were 4 general paths to Britain being forced to make peace within the scenario of US neutrality. First was an alliance with the Soviet Union in which the Axis Powers partition the British Empire. Second was a Sealion successful enough to establish a front in England in which the British would be confronted with their worst nightmare - and endless retelling of the Somme. Third was a coordinated strategic campaign to diminish Britain's import capacity beyond what the population was willing to accept. 4th was to simply outlast them past 1945 and cause the financial collapse of the government after Churchill loses the election.

It's unlikely that the British would invade Germany on their own. But they would also have zero problem fighting a Napoleonic rehash where they keep the Pressure on the Germans while forming a coalition in the background to hit the Germans on land
Seems like a cryptic reference to Britain's hopes being on Stalin, otherwise I have no idea which continental army after the defeat of France could possibily serve for a Napoleonic strategy. But, I don't think Stalin was much of a fan of imperialism or the British, or their Empire. If Germany does not invade the Soviet Union I'd rate the chances of Stalin's appetite turning to India and China as communist projects as higher than playing satrap to a British war against Germany.

The Germans are really their own worst enemy when it comes to fighting the USSR and with the leadership they had I really doubt Germany could take on the Soviets and win in the cast majority of scenarios.
Indeed, but if the British require the Soviets to help them win the war, then this means hat Britain cannot win the war on its own and needs the war to expand to include a coalition that allows it to win.
 
Indeed, but if the British require the Soviets to help them win the war, then this means hat Britain cannot win the war on its own and needs the war to expand to include a coalition that allows it to win.
Britain (and by Britain I mean 'the' Empire) has not fought any real wars on its own since it found itself in the unfortunate position of fighting 'everyone' (well Spain and France) in the Bourbon War in the late 18C.

Concluding that it was a silly idea it has not done it since and has gone to great lengths to make sure that it is part of a larger group when going to war in order to ensure its on the winning side.

So the idea that Britain 'required' Russian and or US help was simply its default way of going about things

Known today as coalition warfare

Doesn't make Britain weak, just very very sensible
 
There are absolutely combat wings of butterflies that come out of the idea, but it seems to be low probability, but not entirely outlandish option.
I agree that it is very low probability especially considering the Nazi approach to things.
There is also the issue of Italy. If Germany reverts to a sitzkrieg, does Italy enter the war and invade Egypt and Greece and then does Germany enter these conflicts.
Assuming Germany pursues sitzkrieg, it does present the UK with a series of dilemmas. Do they go after the French fleet? Do they attack Italian East Africa if Italy enters the war? Do they try to take Norway? Do they bomb Axis held areas?
I think that one big issue is the impact on public opinion in the UK and US. Does it tilt the balance toward the isolationists in the US?
What about Japan? With the UK less tied down in Europe, are the Japanese more cautious?
Does this situation make Stalin more flexible in negotiations with the German on various Eastern European issues given the realization that they are not expending much effort in the West?
Do the Germans stop making subs?
Lots of butterflies.
Still it may be one of the only barely possible paths to victory or at least stalemate for the Axis.
Assuming it works, it means that the Germans can devote greater resources to the Eastern front. With no active war against the UK, it is possible that the Finns are willing to be more aggressive. It may be possible that Turkey enters the war against the USSR. It is possible that there is no - or a very reduced - Lend Lease.
It is reasonably plausible that the US stays out.
 
Cartoon_Fougasse-on-World-War-Two-via-Matthew-Buck-Hack-Cartoons.jpg
 

CalBear

Moderator
Donor
Monthly Donor
I agree that it is very low probability especially considering the Nazi approach to things.
There is also the issue of Italy. If Germany reverts to a sitzkrieg, does Italy enter the war and invade Egypt and Greece and then does Germany enter these conflicts.
Assuming Germany pursues sitzkrieg, it does present the UK with a series of dilemmas. Do they go after the French fleet? Do they attack Italian East Africa if Italy enters the war? Do they try to take Norway? Do they bomb Axis held areas?
I think that one big issue is the impact on public opinion in the UK and US. Does it tilt the balance toward the isolationists in the US?
What about Japan? With the UK less tied down in Europe, are the Japanese more cautious?
Does this situation make Stalin more flexible in negotiations with the German on various Eastern European issues given the realization that they are not expending much effort in the West?
Do the Germans stop making subs?
Lots of butterflies.
Still it may be one of the only barely possible paths to victory or at least stalemate for the Axis.
Assuming it works, it means that the Germans can devote greater resources to the Eastern front. With no active war against the UK, it is possible that the Finns are willing to be more aggressive. It may be possible that Turkey enters the war against the USSR. It is possible that there is no - or a very reduced - Lend Lease.
It is reasonably plausible that the US stays out.
Some of this is already settled.

The Reich held Norway before the Invasion of France, so that is a done thing. Italy doesn't enter the war until about 12.5 seconds before the French capitulate, so that is also a non factor. until that point

The Reich in the scenario I posit bails Italy out only to the ponit of pushing the Greeks back across the Greece/Albania border, Then they make clear that Italy is on their own if the want to attack before the true enemy of Fascism, the USSR, is defeated, Then the Reich will support the Italians in the reestablishment of the the Roman Empire as Mussolini envisioned it. Mussolini might decide to go on his own, if so he gets his ass handed to him again.

The British will almost certainly still attack Mers-le-Kèbir, since that event happens too early for the German ceasefire to have even been properly announced. Any British bombing of civilians areas might be met with Luftwaffe counter strikes on military targets (like Bomber Command bases) but the strategy would be far better served by giving Movietome News crews free access to the bombed civilian areas. Bomber Command raids in 1940 were, overall, quite ineffective and suffered severe losses from Luftwaffe defenses, but they would serve as strong propaganda point with Australian, North American , South African (and possibly British, deepening on the degree of censorship) audiences who saw Movietone newreels when they attended the cinema.

If this strategy worked, there wouldn't be much, if any, Lend-Lease to the USSR, not from the U.S. for sure, very possibly not from the British either. The Soviets would, in a very real sense be all alone. If anything, as the the baked in Anticommunism in American/British/Commonwealth governments came to the fore and watched what was happening there would likely be "a Pox on both your Houses" attitude.

Japan would, simply put, be in one Hell of a fix. They would still have the exact same issues as IOTL, since U.S. actions toward Japan were not dependent on what the Reich was doing. The Japanese decision to invade China, the savage brutality displayed in Nanking and elsewhere, all the way through to the invasion/occupation of French Indochina (i.e. Vietnam) was not done in any sort of cooperation with the Reich (if anything it was the opposite, the Nazis would very much have liked the Japanese to engage the USSR in the Far East, the better to divide Moscow's attention). That means the various trade sanctions and embargoes will still happen. That still leaves the Japanese Army with less than six months of oil reserves and the Navy with less than a year. The Two Oceans Navy act has already been approved and ships are arriving (all four South Dakota Class were commissioned between March and August of 1942, with Essex commissioned in December) leaving the Japanese with virtually no time to waste.

If the scenario works as envisioned that means the Americans will be able to throw far more at the Japanese and do so sooner, The British, for their part will have access to many of the ships and men that were engaged/lost in the Med & North Africa.
 
North Africa, the Middle East.

What's this purely British contest in Europe?

To defeat the Nazis, the Soviet Union mobilized 34 million men. Assuming the British have to do it on their own, they're going to have to replace those missing Russians and mobilize at least 20 million men from their Empire, move them to Europe, arm them, train them, and supply them in combat. The Indian forces actually deployed to Europe were well trained and well equipped, but only a tiny fraction of the numbers required to actually defeat Germany and Italy in a war without allies.
 
To defeat the Nazis, the Soviet Union mobilized 34 million men. Assuming the British have to do it on their own, they're going to have to replace those missing Russians and mobilize at least 20 million men from their Empire, move them to Europe, arm them, train them, and supply them in combat. The Indian forces actually deployed to Europe were well trained and well equipped, but only a tiny fraction of the numbers required to actually defeat Germany and Italy in a war without allies.
Why would the Brits have to defend the Soviet Union if the Soviet Union isnt fighting? Or are you suggesting that Germany will invade Britain?
 
Why would the Brits have to defend the Soviet Union if the Soviet Union isnt fighting? Or are you suggesting that Germany will invade Britain?
I think Glenn is saying the Axis powers only lost because Britain cheated and did not play fair. We have had this same argument many times mostly on Sealion subjects. He is always interesting.
 
I mean Japan knew they couldn't beat the US in a protracted conflict, their goal was to cripple the US fleet at Pearl Harbor, seize US possessions like Guam, and force the US to the bargaining table
 
Why would the Brits have to defend the Soviet Union if the Soviet Union isnt fighting? Or are you suggesting that Germany will invade Britain?
he's pointing out that to defeat Germany, Britain will have to:

invade the continent with enough men to defeat the Nazi armies.

This will take a huge, mega effort that Britain has no means of doing without America footing the bill. It is probably impossible even with American financing

Germany doesn't need to invade Britain. By the time something like Sealion becomes possible, it has long since become unnecessary: Britain will collapse from the lack of imports
 
he's pointing out that to defeat Germany, Britain will have to:

invade the continent with enough men to defeat the Nazi armies.
OR develop Atomic weapons
This will take a huge, mega effort that Britain has no means of doing without America footing the bill. It is probably impossible even with American financing

Germany doesn't need to invade Britain. By the time something like Sealion becomes possible, it has long since become unnecessary: Britain will collapse from the lack of imports
Germany couldn't win the Battle of the Atlantic in WW2. Especially with US Lend-Lease and naval operations in the western Atlantic.
 
OR develop Atomic weapons

Germany couldn't win the Battle of the Atlantic in WW2. Especially with US Lend-Lease and naval operations in the western Atlantic.
Perhaps bot Britain's atomic program wasn't really advanced

Germany would have won the Battle of the Atlantic if she wasn't mired in the Soviet Union and America wasn't footing the bills. Just the aircraft lost in Russia would have been enough to cripple British imports

Britain adopts the only strategy possible after France falls: try and holdiut untill someone else joins the fight.

It works because of America and the Soviets but Britain isnt winning on her own
 
he's pointing out that to defeat Germany, Britain will have to:

invade the continent with enough men to defeat the Nazi armies.
The British really dont have to invade Germany to win. Assuming that nothing else happens and no one else gets involved so the conflict is a purely Anglo-German war, all the UK has to do is blockade the continent and wait for the Nazi ponzi economy to come crashing down. Britain has an actually functioning economy and while they may have to go into massive debt to afford the war, they can outlast and outbuild Germany in pretty much any category.
This will take a huge, mega effort that Britain has no means of doing without America footing the bill. It is probably impossible even with American financing
The same logic applies for Germany successfully invading the UK except more so. A British government invading the continent against the Germans only has to worry about the airborne and land based defenses. But a Germany trying to invade the UK not only has to contend with the Royal army and RAF as they cross the channel, but also a little something called the Royal Navy.
Germany doesn't need to invade Britain. By the time something like Sealion becomes possible, it has long since become unnecessary: Britain will collapse from the lack of imports
Yeah, the U-boat threat in WWII is massively overstated, it was a threat to be sure, but if you look at the numbers British merchant losses never approached the dire state tyhey did in WWI. Even if Germany has no other threats to worry about (highly unlikely) and had an actually functional economy (not gonna happen) and access to the resources to properly man and fuel their U-boats (again very unlikely) the British still have a larger industrial and resource base to draw on and can just churn out escorts and coastal patrol aircraft.

This is assuming a one-v-one battle between the two powers. But even if we allow other states to get involved then its far more likely that the British wind up with allies than Germany. The Italians didnt want to get into a big war and only joined historically because they thought the fighting was nearly finished and all they had to do was roll in and claim the spoils of victory. Japan is unlikely to get involved for a few years, and the USSR may want parts of the British empire, but historically were planning a war with the Germans before that.

And this ignored the USA, which is basically an auto-win for the British if they join on side. And even having access to American trade gives the British a major boost.
 
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