What about an Alliance with Lithuania instead?
You mean a Franco-Lithuanian Alliance? There is literally nothing Lithuania contributes to this alliance in, it'll be the recipient of a defense treaty, needing the protection of a sugar daddy. That's it. Plus, France would have to defend Lithuania against either Germany or the USSR, and if literally anything happens, France is too far away to do jack shit but give angry protests. If the USSR invades it, France would need German permission to go through its territory, and if Germany invades it, all France can do is a diversionary attack on Germany's western border. And given how absolutely tiny Lithuania's population and military is, Germany wouldn't need more than a pittance to run it over while deploying most of its army against the French. So the French gain nothing out of this.

And if you're talking a Polish-Lithuanian alliance... yeah, not happening. See, the Poles stole quite a bit of territory from Lithuania, and they don't trust them one bit in return. Also, again, Lithuania has a very small population, little industry, and can contribute nothing to an alliance on its own.
 
You mean a Franco-Lithuanian Alliance? There is literally nothing Lithuania contributes to this alliance in, it'll be the recipient of a defense treaty, needing the protection of a sugar daddy. That's it. Plus, France would have to defend Lithuania against either Germany or the USSR, and if literally anything happens, France is too far away to do jack shit but give angry protests. If the USSR invades it, France would need German permission to go through its territory, and if Germany invades it, all France can do is a diversionary attack on Germany's western border. And given how absolutely tiny Lithuania's population and military is, Germany wouldn't need more than a pittance to run it over while deploying most of its army against the French. So the French gain nothing out of this.

And if you're talking a Polish-Lithuanian alliance... yeah, not happening. See, the Poles stole quite a bit of territory from Lithuania, and they don't trust them one bit in return. Also, again, Lithuania has a very small population, little industry, and can contribute nothing to an alliance on its own.
This so much. As an ally, Lithuania is nice to have on side, just like the other Baltic States, but only as an extra, never as a core ally because the countries just don't matter that much. Their presence will never fundamentally switch the balance of power when faced with great powers.
 
You mean a Franco-Lithuanian Alliance? There is literally nothing Lithuania contributes to this alliance in, it'll be the recipient of a defense treaty, needing the protection of a sugar daddy. That's it. Plus, France would have to defend Lithuania against either Germany or the USSR, and if literally anything happens, France is too far away to do jack shit but give angry protests. If the USSR invades it, France would need German permission to go through its territory, and if Germany invades it, all France can do is a diversionary attack on Germany's western border. And given how absolutely tiny Lithuania's population and military is, Germany wouldn't need more than a pittance to run it over while deploying most of its army against the French. So the French gain nothing out of this.

And if you're talking a Polish-Lithuanian alliance... yeah, not happening. See, the Poles stole quite a bit of territory from Lithuania, and they don't trust them one bit in return. Also, again, Lithuania has a very small population, little industry, and can contribute nothing to an alliance on its own.
This so much. As an ally, Lithuania is nice to have on side, just like the other Baltic States, but only as an extra, never as a core ally because the countries just don't matter that much. Their presence will never fundamentally switch the balance of power when faced with great powers.
I meant for the axis powers
 
I meant for the axis powers
Still not going to benefit them much. Lithuania has nothing to offer Hitler, and throwing it against the Soviets is like tossing a Cabbage Patch Kid at a bullet train. Lithuania's population in 1939 (following the loss of Vilnius and other territory to the Poles) was 3.9 millions. Their industry wasn't anything to phone home about either, and if the Poles can knock them on their ass and steal their territory, I doubt they can do much against the Soviets.
 
Still not going to benefit them much. Lithuania has nothing to offer Hitler, and throwing it against the Soviets is like tossing a Cabbage Patch Kid at a bullet train. Lithuania's population in 1939 (following the loss of Vilnius and other territory to the Poles) was 3.9 millions. Their industry wasn't anything to phone home about either, and if the Poles can knock them on their ass and steal their territory, I doubt they can do much against the Soviets.
Granted for the Axis powers Lithuania itself wouldn't provide much in terms of manpower but like Axis Slovakia (the Slovak Republic), which had around 2.6 million people, it would provide a strategic location if pushing towards Latvia, Estonia and Leningrad or just providing yet more territory from which to invade Poland....
 
Granted for the Axis powers Lithuania itself wouldn't provide much in terms of manpower but like Axis Slovakia (the Slovak Republic), which had around 2.6 million people, it would provide a strategic location if pushing towards Latvia, Estonia and Leningrad or just providing yet more territory from which to invade Poland....
Which would require you transfer troops to Lithuania. Poland's going to start asking questions about why the Germans are moving troops to a foreign country, and why would Lithuania allow German troops in for an assault on Poland again?

Germany managed to invade Poland from one side decently enough. Yes, the Poles were holding out until the Soviets forced a second front, but bear in mind, that also included the massive numbers of the Red Army. The Poles got double-teamed by superior numbers on both sides on large fronts, while Lithuania not only doesn't have the numbers, it's also a pretty small front to invade from.

Slovakia was about as useful as a chocolate teapot; it provided miniscule numbers of troops, didn't really have much in terms of industry, and was pretty much a German puppet state for its short existence.
 
Which would require you transfer troops to Lithuania.
No more difficult than transferring troops to neighbouring East Prussia. In fact troops would like take up stations in Lithuania coming from East Prussia.

Re: Slovakia, it was actually very useful. As a staging point for the German invasion of Poland. Prior to 1938/1939 Polish defence plans for an invasion from Germany took no account of Slovakia since it was (not unreasonably) assumed that Czechoslovakia would remain neutral. Germany's take over of Czechoslovakia through the establishment of Bohemia-Moravia and a Slovak puppet state actually exposed the southern flank of Poland and meant Polish planners now had to have their forces consider defences along even longer stretches of border (in OTL an entire German Army (14th) would end up being based in Silesia, Moravia and Slovakia and using those areas to attack into Poland). The same would apply for a German puppet regime in Lithuania in that Polish defences were organized along the border with East Prussia. Having Germany being able to station troops in Lithuania effectively doubles the area of border in the northeast that Poland would really have to worry about (unlike OTL's defence plans which assumed that the Lithuanians acting on their own might try to seize Wilno/Vilnius during a German invasion and projected that a small Polish detachment would be needed to defend the area). In OTL Germany had an entire Army Group (Army Group North) based in Pomerania and East Prussia, consisting of two Armies (3rd and 4th), with one Army in East Prussia (the 3rd) and one in Pomerania (the 4th). If Germany were able to pull a couple of divisions (or maybe even 3 or 4) from the three (admittedly very understrength and lightly provided for) Armies they placed in the west as a holding force against France (checking the order of battle for that time, it appears they had a little over 40 divisions as reserve forces arrayed to defend western Germany) and place them in Lithuania this would have forced Polish planners to move a larger detachment of forces to screen the Lithuanian border (or otherwise risk Grodno and Wilno being taken and the possibility of allowing German forces to get into the rear of the Polish forces defending against the expected attack from East Prussia south towards Warsaw), which in turn means weaken the defences elsewhere (usually along the border with Germany itself) in the places Poland was originally trying to defend more heavily. So even if the German troops placed in Lithuania never actually cross into Poland, there mere presence there would force a Polish response in planning which would further have weakened Poland's defences against the actual attack.

Poland's going to start asking questions about why the Germans are moving troops to a foreign country, and why would Lithuania allow German troops in for an assault on Poland again?

You mean like when Poland started asking questions about German troops being moved into Slovakia in OTL? As for why would Lithuania allow German troops in for an assault on Poland, I'm not sure why you would be asking that since this current discussion stems from a question being asked about a Lithuania that had joined the Axis. I mean, why wouldn't Lithuania in that scenario not allow German troops to assault Poland from a Lithuania that was in alliance with Germany? You did see that question before right?
 
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France itself is pretty torn up politically at this point. We had the Left, who were suspected of being a bit too chummy with Socialism.
??? The French Left were Socialists -loud and proud.

We had the Right, who infamously declared "better Hitler than Blum" (Léon Blum being the French PM who was a Communist and a Jew)...
Blum was not a Communist, he was a Second International Socialist. (The Communist International was the "Third International".)
 
I'm thinking about setting aside what I'm currently writing to amend the last chapter, and either add a section on French diplomacy at this time or release it on its own as a mini update.

Well most of that could be achieved though without having German troops participate in war games in Poland (besides which it would be quite likely that many in the Polish military would have massive misgivings about a German corp being able to drive through Poland, scope out the terrain and basically getting a test run of how things might go when they want to roll into Poland).
Would down-scaling the German involvement to a division be enough to make it believable? The war games themselves ended up being pretty critical to the other developments in the last update so I'd like to preserve as much of them as possible.
 
I'm thinking about setting aside what I'm currently writing to amend the last chapter, and either add a section on French diplomacy at this time or release it on its own as a mini update.


Would down-scaling the German involvement to a division be enough to make it believable? The war games themselves ended up being pretty critical to the other developments in the last update so I'd like to preserve as much of them as possible.

Well for that I would say get the advice of any Polish members on the board who would have better access to resoures about the political environment at the time, but I would strongly suspect that any Polish government allowing any German military unit to partake in exercises in Poland will be in for a lot of heat domestically.

@Polish Eagle or @Jan Olbracht might be able to give better advice on whether it might indeed be possible to get Poland willingly to essentially ally with Germany in this scenario and to have a German unit in wargames in Lwow.
 
Would down-scaling the German involvement to a division be enough to make it believable? The war games themselves ended up being pretty critical to the other developments in the last update so I'd like to preserve as much of them as possible.

Why not have the war games take place somewhere else instead? Like in Hungary, for example? Maybe in the part of eastern Slovakia that they annexed after the dismantling of Czechoslovakia; that would be right next to Poland, not far from the Lwow region.
 
18.5. News of the French World
The Coffin Catches The Bone: France’s Diplomatic Headache

French diplomats had spent much of 1939 pulling their hair out in frustration. In a matter of months both of their central european policies had fallen apart. First the partition of Czechoslovakia made the Little Entente a dead letter. Worse, Poland was increasingly willing to break bread with Germany, and was seemingly pulling Romania along with it.

Nonetheless, France had accepted Poland’s invitation to observe the Lwow Wargames. The French, having some prior knowledge of Polish defence planning noted that practicing an elastic defense and mobile counter attack in Southeastern Poland was only a little different from their earlier plans to maintain that region as a national redoubt in event of an invasion. Their naval attaches were also keen to observe that much of what the Poles practiced at sea could be applied against the Kriegsmarine[1] just as easily as against the Soviet Baltic Fleet. Further, Poland’s efforts to get Romania and Hungary to work together strongly indicated that Poland’s recent erratic diplomacy was just the most recent iteration of the Intermarium Scheme.[2] Accordingly France was left with the troubling conclusion that Poland wasn’t necessarily abandoning them in favour of Germany, but that Poland was still no longer considering France’s interests in its diplomatic maneuvering.

Elsewhere, French diplomats fared little better. Efforts to secure Italian non-aggression continued to meander along in no discernable direction. France initially accepted Siam’s name change, then tried to reverse the matter when Britain and China rejected it, but found that undoing something is much harder than not doing it in the first place.

The one apparent success was the extent to which ambassador Petain impressed Spain’s new government.

In early July the French diplomatic corps was finally thrown a bone; the Soviets had finally gotten past their post-Munich hissyfit. On the 12th of July ambassador Paul-Émile Naggiar was summoned to the Kremlin. There he met with minister Molotov, Chief of Staff Boris Shaposhnikov, and the mustached Marxist himself, Stalin. That evening he cabled Paris to report that the Soviets sought to regain their alliance with France. However, they seemed intent that France needed to come to them with an offer, as they were evidently too proud to be the ones to admit that breaking ties over Munich had been a mistake.

The next day minister Georges-Étienne Bonnet summoned Ambassador Surits to confirm. Surits for his part had a well memorized presentation of Kremlin-coached talking points. The failure of appeasement, the absence of the UK from Europe, and Polish perfidy were once more rubbed in the exhausted foriegn minister’s wounds. Having confirmed that the Soviets were expecting an offer of alliance, Bonnet dismissed Surits without voicing any opinion on the matter.

While this was the sort of diplomatic breakthrough he’d been hoping for, it was also a complex matter that would no doubt ignite old divisions within the ministry and wider government. Not to mention that as the public face of France’s policy at Munich, he was disappointed to find himself strong-armed into walking it back.

In addition to the usual division between the pro-Soviet and anti-Soviet camps there was another aspect. France had previously had no issues maintaining separate alliances with the UK and USSR. Yet allying with a state provisioning Japan with war materials, while the UK was at war with Japan would be harder to swing.

There was also the suspicious matter of how quickly the French Communist Party changed its tune and began trying to reestablish the popular front government. Evidently some members of the PCF also found this unusually sudden; that month’s issue of Esprit contained an exposé by a PCF defector confirming that the snap change was the result of direct orders from Moscow. An understandable amount of press hysteria about Soviet meddling in France’s domestic politics followed, firmly tying the hands of the Foriegn Ministry for the time.

---

[1] In fact, Germany’s Scharnhorst-class ships were assigned to the Green Force and served as stand ins for two Gangut class battleships.

[2] A diplomatic project to create a Polish-led power block in Eastern Europe stretching from the Baltic to the Black. It’s usual stumbling block, Czechoslovakia, no longer existed.

A/N:
Why is it that every time I mention battleships I end up having to do major revisions? Maybe I should hasten the rise of carriers so as to minimize this curse…

In any case, the Third Republic's political dysfunction is on full display, and I’ve revised the section on the Lwow Wargames in the least disruptive way I could. Familiarize yourself as you see fit.
 
Well, this is a fine mess France finds itself in. Can't jump in bed with the Soviets, can't count on Britain's help, can't trust Hitler, and the Yankees are just sitting on their side of the pond, content to do nothing.
 
Well we'll see what the full extent of American isolationism turns out to be ITTL. If Japan is getting its necessary oil and already at war with Great Britain, I don't see any sort of "smoking gun" incidents forcing America to fight in the pacific.
 
well we yanks have only been around for 245 years unlike europeans who have been killing each other since 1200BC (oldest known battle in europe) one of our founding principles was to stay out of foreign entanglements, didn't work out that way and here we are
I know that, it's just I was showing how utterly few options France had to un-f**k its situation. The Americans had tried helping Europe in WW1, but that turned out to be a bust (German atrocities were vastly exaggerated to the American public, and the Entente promptly wasted its hard-earned victory) so they decided to go back to isolationism - except you can't hide from the world forever, especially if you're a Great Power dependent on trade.
 
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