No Operation Barbarossa is a negotiated peace with the Western allies possible

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Noscoper, Oct 7, 2018.

  1. The Red A virulent, ignorant bigot

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    Whilst I agree that there are certain variables in history that can't be quantified in the same way that the natural sciences might aim to do so, I don't think that makes empiricism any less valid. We might not be able to measure every factor on the basis of its importance, but we can use them to construct an idea of what might have been going on and we do have quantifiable data, such as industrial stats to help with this. If you accept that you're trying to determine the possibility of a certain event then it's important use what you can to reach a conclusion without resigning yourself to the fact that there's no way to formulate an equation and as such there's no point in trying to determine possibility in the first place. If empiricism is inappropriate in AH when the whole question of "What If" has to be dismissed as bunk and although there are some historians who've come to that conclusion we're on a site dedicated to "What If" so we have to work on the basis that it's a question worth answering.
     
  2. Anchises Well-Known Member

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    I am not saying that it is not a question worth answering. I just don't think that counterfactuals are something that we should tackle with the same mindset that we would employ when talking about hypothetical scenarios in physics.

    I don't feel comfortable with the level of certainty you express in your assessment of alternate WW2s because I have less trust in the available data and in our conclusions. We construct an idea based on loose assumptions and some "hard" (relatively) facts, its not bunk but it is no scientific paper either.

    I think we just diverge in our assessment of how accurate the scenarios we construct here are. I am certainly not trying to say that our ideas are bunk. I just think that we overlook a lot of stuff we don't know or forget.

    I too think that the USA would likely enter WW2 in the scenario laid out here but there are certainly a lot of ATLs where this wouldn't happen, for some reason we would percieve as freakishly ASB. Just like there are probably ATLs where Germany handily won an Nazi-Anglo Cold War. Assuming that one belives into parallel universes.
     
  3. XLII Oh joy...

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    I like you. Although I agree with you, I'd like to note that excluding some OTL events from the "pool" of events is something required for alternate history. In case of this thread, the likelyhood of Barbarossa is set to 0%.
    Mathematically, determinism describes a relation between two entities A and B, implying that if A is true, so must be B. The classical example is "It rains, the uncovered street is wet". Do note that the inverse is not true, B being true does not determine A. Usually, you use => to depict it. So, in short.
    You posit that the following must always be true: Perl Harbour => War of USA against Nazi Germany => US Victory.
    Therefore, your assertion that this is not determinism is false. q.e.d.
    Determinism in alternate history is precisely what you describe. You know the old saying about the "want of a nail". According to you a metric ton of nails could be lost, but no battles would be lost ever.
     
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  4. Anti-GrammarNazi Well-Known Member

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    All that was required for Churchill to make peace was for Germany to issue a public formal peace offer that didnt put restrictions on the UK's re-armament

    Churchill again implied that he was prepared to give Germany back its colonies taken after the First World War and "to make certain concessions in the Mediterranean" to "get out of our present difficulties". He then added that he believed "no such option was open to us. For example, the terms offered would certainly prevent us from completing our re-armament".

    "Signor Mussolini, if he came in as a mediator, would take his whack out of us. It was impossible to imagine that Herr Hitler would be so foolish as to let us continue our re-armament. In effect, his terms would put us completely at his mercy. We should get no worse terms if we went on fighting, even if we were beaten, than were open to us now. If, however, we continued the war and Germany attacked us, no doubt we should suffer some damage, but they also would suffer severe losses. Their oil supplies might be reduced. A time might come when we felt that we had to put an end to the struggle, but the terms would then be no more mortal than those offered to us now."

    "The issue which the War Cabinet was called upon to settle was difficult enough without getting involved in the discussion of an issue which was quite unreal and was unlikely to arise. If Hitler was prepared to make peace on the terms of restoration of German colonies and the overlordship of Central Europe, that was one thing. But it was quite unlikely that he would make any such offer."
     
  5. The Red A virulent, ignorant bigot

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    It's really important to keep an open mind and accept that contrary opinions might be valid but I do think that the available data is key when it comes to drawing a conclusion. Naturally that conclusion should be open to change as new evidence comes to light but I'd argue that's more a lesson in not being inflexible rather than in not being empirical.

    I guess I'm more sceptical about events that are considered "freakishly ASB" in history. I know that it's a popular idea on this site but isn't it better to get to the bottom of why occurred the way it did rather than just resigning yourself to strange things being innately strange?
     
  6. The Red A virulent, ignorant bigot

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    It's not so much that Pearl Harbour directly led the United States to war with Nazi Germany. It certainly helped, but the fact they were already shooting at each other in the Atlantic would point to the conflict becoming official eventually and this is of course why Hitler did declare war IOTL. The WAllies winning the resulting conflict is a certainly a more useful example of A inevitably leading to B.

    Isn't that more to do with causality? I mean, it's not like a horseshoe nail has ever actually caused a battle to be lost.
     
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  7. DaveBC Well-Known Member

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    I think the point about the nails is more that while the lack of a single nail -- or a metric ton of them -- could well cause a battle to be lost, it's difficult to tell in advance which battle, or which nail.
     
  8. DaveBC Well-Known Member

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    Indeed, if Germany declares the war over, it's hard to see how Britain continues unilaterally fighting it for very long. The illusion of German momentum caused by the victories on the continent, plus the apparent need to fight in alternative theaters like north Africa, kind of obscures the fact that by any sensible analysis, by the fall of 1940 it was clear that neither power really had the ability to carry the fight to the other. Presumably some sort of cold war-like or at least phoney war-like scenario is at least conceivable.
     
  9. The Red A virulent, ignorant bigot

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    This goes back to Churchill trying to emphasise that such an offer wouldn't be possible, hence why he also said that "in no circumstances whatsoever would the British Government participate in any negotiations for armistice or peace". When the Germans did propose peace through both their American and Swiss embassies it was rejected without consideration.

    It's always easier to win a war when you're fighting it unilaterally, Germany will still be under blockade, the RAF will still be bombing mainland Europe, amphibious raids will be able to continue, resistance movements will still be supported, and once the Italians are kicked out of North Africa it won't be long before Sicily is exposed. It's important to remember that the Germans did try to claim that Britain was essentially an irrelevance IOTL but it just led to humiliating instances such as Molotov visiting Berlin and being forced to meet with Ribbentrop in a bomb shelter.
     
  10. DaveBC Well-Known Member

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    The RAF is bombing Germany while the Luftwaffe is bombing Britain. How long do you suppose Churchill can maintain support if Germany declares the war is over and Churchill is left carrying on a futile terrorist campaign against the continent?

    Look, I'm not suggesting this was a guaranteed path out that Germany in its blindness simply overlooked. But these Sea Lion-ish questions about British surrender are invariably premised on some variant of "How can we make Germany defeat Britain?" and it seems to me that, warts and all, an awkward diplomatic and political strategy of declaring peace and waiting for Britain to accept the fait accompli of Nazi Europe is a far more realistic scenario than sending half of the country's barges into range of the Royal Navy, which was the other option on the table in 1940.

    Edited to add: Having said all that, I realize I've got my head squarely in a mid-1940 scenario there with that last paragraph. Obviously the more Germany commits to fighting Britain, the less likely either side is to simply call it a day.
     
  11. DougM Well-Known Member

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    So what are we saying. That after Dunkirk Germany offers a peace treaty (formal or not) that basically is. You stop shooting at us and we stop shooting at you and we stay here and keep what we have and you stay there and keep your stuff and we are both free to do whatever we want. Basically it is a ceasefire.
    If the was offered to England I think they would have to take it. And they would definitely be idiots if they didn’t take it as it has pretty much no downside from there point of view.
    What I don’t see is why Germany would offer this. What does it do for Germany? England was not doing that much damage to Germany at that point and this allows England to built up its military as fast as possible without any interference. So what does Germany get from this? Remember at the time Germany could make this offer and have good odds that England would agree was at the time that Germany had the upper hand. Buy the time it would have been (obviously) beneficial to Germany it was past the point that England would say yes. That is the problem with a peace treaty that is not the result of one side losing. There is usually a very small window (if there is any point at all) where both sides see an advantage of a treaty that is “neutral” and does not punish one side or the other.

    Frankly I think that if Germany offered terms at that point they would expect to get something. Probably a huge limitation on England’s building weapons and such. And England was not going to agree to that. If we wait a bit until Germany would be will to let England do what it wants as long as it stops fighting Germany and you are at a point that England will want something. Most likely a withdrawal from France.

    As for the war with Japan. That is not going to change things in Europe. No matter how bad it is going for England As most folks in England thing that Asia is a side show and unimportant compared to Europe. Now if this was reversed say Japan attacked in 38 or 39 I could see England agree to reasonable terms about the time of Dunkirk so that they can concentrate on Germany. But even then they would have to get to keep there territory.

    So these ceasefire type of things are hard to pull off as it is difficult to find that short period of time that a ceasefire is good for both sides and even harder to find a time when both sides THINK that it is in there best interest to stop fighting. Because only a fool stops fighting if they think they are winning. Even in WW1 it is hard to find a time that you could get both sides to stop fighting. And the stalemate and bloodbath was pretty obvious in that war.
     
  12. The Red A virulent, ignorant bigot

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    Probably longer than the Germans can bleeding Europe dry, particularly presuming that in this scenario the Germans have called off the wolf packs. Terror campaigns do tend to work better when the power suffering for it is deeply unpopular amongst the peoples being occupied and I doubt it will be too long before the Germans could be forced to react in a more direct way to a British incursion. In the long term there's always Tube Alloys.

    With hindsight it certainly would be the more practical scenario now that we know what a waste the Battle of the Atlantic and the Battle of Britain was for the Germans. As you say it's not as directly relevant to this thread but it would be an interesting scenario to see played out.
     
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  13. The Red A virulent, ignorant bigot

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    The German offer through the Acting President of the Red Cross in Bern did seem to match these terms, with it being described as a "White Peace like Sadowa" and "Working Arrangement". Churchill and the Cabinet agreed that no reply should be made. It had previously been minuted in response to an attempt by the Holy See that "I hope it will be made clear to the Nuncio that we do not desire to make any inquiries as to terms of peace with Hitler, and that all our agents are strictly forbidden to entertain any such suggestions."
     
  14. DaveBC Well-Known Member

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    What it does for Germany is that it offers the only practical exit out of its war with Britain.

    Of course this would require the German leadership to be guided by some more objective intelligence analysis, or by hindsight, which is obviously off the table, and be willing to take a high-stakes gamble on a political option rather than a military option, which would be sort of counter to character.

    That said I posed this without thinking through the implications of this thread being about the situation in 1941 rather than in mid-1940. I think by the time the Battle of Britain has clearly been tried and failed, although Germany could still try this tactic, it would look too much like a humiliating concession to defeat on the part of Hitler. What was implausible in mid-1940 therefore becomes completely unworkable a year later. So unless anyone else sees any merit, I will humbly withdraw my earlier contribution to this scenario. I never did put much faith in a negotiated solution being possible, and while I still do think a unilateral declaration of peace was a realistic option in 1940, I do think it would be definitely politically impossible in real-life terms by 1941.
     
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  15. XLII Oh joy...

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    You are moving goalposts and contradicting yourself. I accept your surrender on this matter, since originally you claimed that:
    Your problem isn't that something is more-or-less probable. Your problem is that you deal in absolutes.
    Where is the difference between determinism and causality? And I am quite certain you don't mean the mathematical sense, since that allows to make claims about A by the state of B.
    Also, the nails have a Wikipedia article. That you post on an alternatehistory board and don't know that essential saying is a cause for *arhem* Shame! Shame! Shame! *dingding* Shame! Shame! Shame!
     
  16. Anti-GrammarNazi Well-Known Member

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    Yes, it wouldn't be possible because Churchill thought Hitler (and possibly he was right) would never offer it, that or he said it to have a way out of his situation with Halifax.

    What is he going to do in a scenario where Hitler and the Reichstag issues a public formal and legal peace offer asking for a white peace? Churchill's position of "such an offer wouldn't be possible" would become impossible to hold. At which point Halifax would demand him to take the offer.
     
  17. The Red A virulent, ignorant bigot

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    There's no contradiction there, only a differing level of overstatement/understatement.

    In the simplest terms, determinism shows a clear link between Event A and Event B in a way that is bi-directional, e.g, "America and Britain being at war against Germany will cause the Germans to lose the war and the Germans lost the war because America and Britain were at war with them". Causality isn't necessarily bi-directional, you can have "Paul Tibbets wasn't able to drop Little Boy on Berlin because he stepped on a horseshoe nail" or other chaotic factors getting in the way of A and B.

    Oh I know the poem, but I don't put much stake in it being accurate in the same way that I'm sceptical about the realism in some of Aesop's fables.
     
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  18. The Red A virulent, ignorant bigot

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    It was the latter. Churchill was aware that Hitler could theoretically offer such a peace but as this was coming from the man who had gone back on his word so many times in the past there was no way of guaranteeing that he would honour any agreement made. He was aware that there were some in the Cabinet, particularly in his own party, who would have bene more amenable to such a deal and that's why he felt the need to pay lip service to it at that point but very quickly discarded any illusions of making a deal once the appeasers had been sufficiently sidelined. That said,

    If it came down to this scenario where paying lip service to a white peace was no longer an option, he would have dropped the act. It would have been bad for Cabinet cohesion but the "War" faction was fundamentally in charge for all of Churchill's ministry, even during the Cabinet crisis, and as such the German offer would have been dismissed even if it ended up with Halifax and Butler resigning and Churchill having to rely on the Labour party in the Commons.
     
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  19. Deckhand Pull hard, she comes easy.

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    But that is the way the Germans have always done logistics.